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Deaf Access Services receives First Niagara Foundation grant to teach American Sign Language to deaf children

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Fri, Feb 26th 2016 09:40 pm

Deaf Access Services has received a $2,500 "Quality of Life" grant from the First Niagara Foundation. The funds will be used to offer sign language classes for deaf and hard of hearing babies and toddlers in the Western New York area, providing these children with their first introduction to the rich language that is American Sign Language.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, ASL is a complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body.

DAS will offer classes to teach basic sign language vocabulary designed specifically for babies and toddlers. DAS will offer this service free of charge to parents and families regardless of their ability to pay.

"We are grateful to receive these funds to enable DAS to expand our efforts to connect and provide ASL classes for young children. Many of these children are born deaf to hearing parents who are looking for ways to communicate with their children," said Sharon L. Hanson, executive director, Deaf Access Services. "This funding will allow those individuals most in need to receive these vital classes."

"First Niagara is proud to support Deaf Access Services and the valuable work they do every day in our community to provide vital resources and opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing individuals," said Elizabeth Gurney, executive director of the First Niagara Foundation. "Their efforts are enabling individuals in Western New York to discover newfound abilities and reach their full potential."

For more information about DAS and these ASL classes, those interested should call: voice phone at 716-833-1637; videophone at 716-335-9192; visit www.wnydas.org

About Deaf Access Services

Deaf Access Services connects Western New York's communities of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people using American Sign Language in the pursuit of everyday access through advocacy, education, employment and interpreting services. DAS provides an array of unique services to the community by bridging the gap between the deaf, hard of hearing and the hearing community. DAS is recognized as the primary interpreter/interpreting referral service source throughout Western New York. DAS also provides a variety of services in an effort to encourage clients to live and enjoy a full life with the same rights and privileges as the hearing community. This includes job placement services; several American Sign Language classes; interpreting; interpreting training preparatory programs; and advocacy services. Visit www.wnydas.org

About The First Niagara Foundation

The First Niagara Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable entity. Founded in 1998, the First Niagara Foundation is committed to supporting organizations in the communities in which members live and work, with specific focus on youth and education, community development and neighborhood revitalization. In 2015, First Niagara contributed nearly $6 million in charitable grants to community partners across the bank's four-state footprint. For additional information on First Niagara, visit www.firstniagara.com.

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