By Mariah Salloum

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community may have difficulty hearing, but they had no trouble displaying pure joy at the 6th annual Deaf Access Program Benefit on Friday, October 14th.

The Deaf Access Program (DAP) is a Catholic Ministry in Cleveland, Ohio whose mission is to help improve access to healthcare for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. The DAP provides services such as: interpreters, health education workshops, access to Video Remote Interpreting, and Deaf Culture training to caregivers of people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The DAP advocates for equal access to healthcare and promotes community collaboration and partnerships to benefit this deserving community.

Jean Mendis, Deaf Access Program Coordinator, commented on what people have been saying about how her position with DAP impacts their lives:

“People are glad that I am deaf, because they can communicate with me better. They feel empowered to understand their healthcare better through me as their navigator for health care.”

Jean also shared what people have said about the Annual Benefit over the years:

“Of course, people tell me the food is good” she said with a laugh. “People tell me, ‘I’m glad you have this event. If you did not have this, people would be unaware of The Deaf Access Program’. She commented further, “Then those deaf people would be forgotten and excluded from the community”.

Funds were raised through the raffle, dinner ticket sales, and donations. The raffle baskets were donated by DAP’s sponsors. This year, the DAP event raised over $10,000, all of which went to support DAP and its mission.

About the Author

Mariah Salloum is a Marketing Intern at Catholic Community Connection. She attended the benefit and has been with CCC since October, 2016. Mariah is a senior at John Carroll University where she is double majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications and Spanish. She enjoys cooking, photography, and nature. CCC is happy to have Mariah be a part of our team!