The Deaf Seniors Foundation – Palm Springs

Early in 2011, The Sign Language Company volunteered our interpreting services to support ‘The Deaf Seniors Foundation‘ in Palm Springs. The DSF hosted a Black Tie Gala at The historic Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs. We enjoyed wonderful food and entertainment. Entertainment Icons from the Deaf Community were there to speak and support the Foundation. The fundraiser gala, which attracted over 140 people from California and elsewhere, included a presentation of awards, a skit by two actors from the Russia based TOYS Theatre, and a Silent and Live Auction.  The affable and always entertaining Herb Larson served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.  Betty Ludwick, a long-time resident of Palm Springs, was recognized for her many years of service to the region’s deaf community as a sign language interpreter.  Tributes and awards were presented to three deaf women for their outstanding achievements in the film and television industries – Marlee Matlin, who received an Academy Award for Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God; Julianna Fjeld, who received an Emmy Award for co-executive producing Love Is Never Silent; and Linda Bove, who is world renowned for her many years on Sesame Street.

Drawn to the balmy climate and the “paradise” environment of Coachella Valley, California, the valley’s population is a diverse mix of people who share similar interests in the recreational, cultural, and social opportunities readily available throughout and around the region.  Among those in the mix is a vibrant community of deaf and hard-of-hearing people, many of whom relocated to the valley from other parts of the nation and made their homes in Palm Springs and other neighboring communities.

With American Sign Language (ASL) being their primary mode of communication, a small group of deaf friends found themselves increasingly frustrated by the lack of sufficient and competent sign language interpreting services in the area.  Geographically located about one hour east of Riverside and two hours east of Los Angeles and San Diego, it was difficult, and cost prohibitive in most situations, to get qualified sign language interpreters to travel to the Palm Springs area to interpret for situations ranging from one person’s medical appointment to stage performances for deaf audiences.  In addition to that, the group was also concerned about the availability and quality of age-appropriate and barrier-free services and resources for the area’s deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens.

Incorporated on October 24, 2007, the primary purpose of the Deaf Seniors Foundation of Palm Springs is to raise funds to achieve its community center and senior housing goals. Many of us have parents or grandparents in Senior Centers across the U.S.  Can we imagine what it would be like to live in such a home, and be unable to easily communicate with staff or other residents?  Wouldn’t this create a feeling of isolation?  Now imagine a home for Deaf Seniors where ASL is the norm and decisions are made to serve the Deaf Community in residence.

DSF continues to plan fundraising events to raise money and awareness. We can follow their progress and participate in fundraising events via their website  For more information regarding Deaf Seniors, you can visit the dsf website or contact The Sign Language Company.

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About Evelyn

Evelyn Hunter is a SODA with years of experiential study in Deaf Culture. She attended Gallaudet University to immerse herself in this unique deaf world while working for the University and studying sign language to hone her skills. Evelyn has served in training, relationship sales, and marketing -- always seeking to expand awareness of Deaf Culture and the unique challenges the deaf face on a daily basis. The Sign Language Company has recently established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a website with a blog, as Evelyn coordinates the marketing and outreach efforts for the agency. Her goal is to attract new clients seeking exceptional service, while maintaining optimal relationships with clients who have selected The Sign Language Company for over 20 years.

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