The work that the people of ADWAS do is an incredible contribution to both the deaf and hearing communities. The staff is well trained in assisting deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing women (and men) through times of crisis and in finding hope. The services provided there benefit people around the country and internationally. ADWAS is also a model for other domestic violence/sexual assault advocacy agencies and shelters as they strive to meet the needs of such an underserved population. Keep it up, ADWAS!
I have learned of ADWAS in 1996 when the Executive Director came to NAD Youth Leadership Camp to present about their services, and I was impressed by how much they've done with limited funds and resources. After I moved to Seattle in 2003, I had gotten myself involved as a board member (briefly) as well as a donor and as an associate board member. What continues to amaze me is the PASSION by the board, staff and most especially the community. It was the community that truly believed in ADWAS mission, integrity and trust that they invested their energy in raising funds for a new building / home of its own. And ADWAS is often looked upon as a role model across the nation as with replicating its programs and services. ADWAS and its sister organizations are unique in its own regard for the specialized service that is often absent in the deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind communities, including breaking through barriers and building relationships.
These folks are doing really great work. The staff are wonderful, and easy to get help from. There services are in great need, and I wish they could afford to expand and do even more good.
As a woman in the Deaf community, I'd always heard wonderful things of ADWAS - one of the very few high quality Deaf agencies run by and for the Deaf, with an outstanding staff and board, and a reputation for being very well run. When I moved to Seattle, I immediately sought out the agency to see how I could participate. I joined the Board, and have been Board Chair for the last 5 years. We built the nation's first housing for Deaf and Deaf Blind women and children, and we've been a model for success in the Deaf community by partnering within and without the community. We've collaborated with federal and state agencies, other community organizations, law enforcement agencies, and many other entities to educate them about the language and cultural needs of the Deaf women we serve. This is an unique agency serving a community extremely well.
When I moved to Seattle in 1992 I was thrilled to learn about this one-of-a-kind non-profit; an organization by and for Deaf women and children intended to help them live violence-free lives. As a Sign Language interpreter, I've seen the compounding impact of lack of access to services for Deaf and Deaf-Blind people who are trying to leave violent relationships - ADWAS is breaking down those barriers. I met women, children and men who were taking back their own lives, and doing it because they were learning from people who shared THEIR language and THEIR culture. Imagine what it's like to be a victim of physical or sexual or violence, but before you can receive help you must first educate the service provider about your "disability"! I began as a volunteer with the organization in 1993 and was honored to be asked to join the staff as a part-time interpreter when ADWAS began its capital campaign. They successfully raised enough money to construct a beautiful transitional housing and office building. My husband and I were proud to contribute financially - we knew that the housing and support services would not only help local Deaf and Deaf-Blind people, but would also become a beacon of hope for many other victims like them around the country. Not only does ADWAS share it's vision and train other Deaf communities in the ground-breaking work they do, they have now become a gold standard for anti-violence work for all agencies, period.
I love ADWAS! I cannot possibly put into words how great the agency & it's staff are. From the executive director to the many volunteers, there is passion, energy & excitement in the services they provide. I've had opportunity to interact with ADWAS in a variety of roles. My first exposure was about 15+ years ago when asked to join their board. From that point on I've been a supporter of ADWAS as volunteer, donor, community participant. Having this agency: service providers who are Deaf, providing direct services to others who are Deaf is powerful!!! Their impact on lessening violence in our world, one woman, one child, one family at a time is incredible!!!
I am incredibly impressed with the founder, staff and facilities of ADWAS. The people who founded this agency and breathed life into it did it with vision and foresight. Also, with alot of chutzpah -- taking on a huge challenge to raise money and build a beautiful building. The people served are so lucky to have the housing and support ADWAS offers. The TTY line is like no other! I have watched ADWAS for many years and have helped financially when I could, but mostly I've just been interested and a cheerleader from the sidelines.
I started working with the staff of ADWAS in a professional capacity in 2006 when they were developing and building their new transitional housing program. I was impressed with their ability to quickly and efficiently get their program going within the strict government and funding guidelines, as well as following all of the local landlord/tenant laws and Section 8 requirements. There are a lot of details to manage, and the ADWAS staff jumped right in to learn and put into practice what they needed to do. On top of all of the requirements was a true passion for serving women and children in the Deaf community who had been abused. Their services are offered in a culturally appropriate environment, taking into consideration the specific needs and requirements of people who are Deaf. They work to empower their clients while helping them improve their lives.
My involvement with ADWAS began when I was asked to serve as their fundraising counsel to help ADWAS build the first transitional housing and support for Deaf and Deaf Blind victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I have continued my involvement as a supporter of the organization. As a hearing person, I am so honored to have the opportunity to learn about Deaf culture. The ADWAS team always goes out of their way at events and meetings to make their hearing guests feel welcome. This is true even when interpreters are expensive for the organization to hire.
I have volunteered with this organization since its inception in 1986. I have over 41 years of work in the non-profit sector and this organization is one of the best I have ever experienced. Their priority is the people they serve; their service model has been replicated in 47 cities in the United States; the staff are paid well and provided fabulous support; and they manage the organization and provide services from a feminist point of view.