For the deaf and hard of hearing, COVID-19 adds extra challenges for communicating in public.
We’ve all been told to avoid touching our face to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But for Thinaja Nadarajah, this public health advice is complicated. Nadarajah is deaf and American Sign Language is her first language.
“There’s a lot of touching of the face when signing,” she says. “We often communicate by touch, like tapping on the shoulder to get someone’s attention.”
Every year Silent Voice hosts its Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have applied to Corporations Canada to postpone our meeting. Our application was approved. At this time we have not set a new date; however, we will let you know.
In its place, we will be posting our Annual Report. The Annual Report will reflect our fiscal year 2019. It seems strange to focus at this time on 2019 as so much has happened in 2020: COVID-19, staying at home, working from home, services provided remotely; it has had a global impact.
The Annual Report will include: the message from the Board Chair, message from me the Executive Director, our audited and approved financial statements, and more.
Our AGM will be postponed and we will announce the new date. And very shortly we will post our Annual Report in both English and ASL.
Silent Voice’s Sports Program has been encouraging members of our community to lead a healthier and active lifestyle by providing accessible physical activities. As part of our Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund from the Government of Ontario, between April 1st, 2018 and March 31st, 2020 we have provided accessible physical activity opportunities for a total of 545 members of our community. Above is a video highlighting our sports program in the last few years.
Silent Voice is committed to continue taking the lead to provide children, youth and adults accessible sports and physical activities in our community. We are seeking funding to continue running this important program for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. If you are interested in supporting our program, please contact Ken Koffman at email@example.com.
Some of you might be familiar with the PAH! program, others might not be. PAH! is a children’s mental health program supporting Deaf and hard of hearing children, youth, and families as well as hearing children with Deaf parents/caregivers. We work with children from 0-18 years of age. Our services typically cover Halton and Central region.
We are opening up virtual services to other regions in Ontario during this difficult time to support Deaf and hard of hearing children and youth who might not have access to other mental health supports.
As you all know, the Premier of Ontario has announced that we will be focusing on first stage of the gradual opening of businesses and services throughout the province, as long as they could meet public health and safety requirements.
As part of stage 1, Silent Voice Canada is proud to be part of several network with partners in the social services, health and community sectors who are dedicated to supporting our clients. Together, we are exploring different avenues to ensure that resuming in-person services will meet public health and safety requirements of our staff and clients. We are looking at our city, provincial and federal governments’ public health authorities to ensure that we are meeting their recommended guidelines. This includes considerations related to our physical space, cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE). At this time, the government is encouraging us to continue virtual and alternative service models, where appropriate.
We are still OPEN online! If you have any questions about services and support, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to answer your questions or direct you to appropriate community resources.
Again, we would like to remind you all to stay home and practice social distancing!
Thank you for your support and patience as we navigate through this pandemic together.
In order to best protect the health and safety of the Silent Voice community – the clients and families we serve, our stakeholders, staff and volunteers – and the community at large, Silent Voice is taking the following precautionary measures:
A new website now available to keep you up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 information!
The information shared on this site is from trusted sources. Some information is collected by Silent Voice and put into ASL. There are also videos and links that we feel are important resources to share with our community.