In 1984, a Presidential Proclamation issued by Ronald Reagan designated the last week of June as Helen-Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week. Each year since this momentous event, the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) celebrates the week with awareness and advocacy campaigns on a national scale, which recognize the achievements and capabilities of deaf-blind individuals.
"The spark of change comes from the promise of youth," stated HKNC Executive Director Susan Ruzenski. "This year's Deaf-Blind Awareness Week theme, Investing in Youth to Enrich Our Future, recognizes and celebrates the commitment among today's young deaf-blind men and women to effect lasting, positive change. HKNC and its partners are here to support their emerging leadership through peer-to-peer mentoring, work-based learning, and self-advocacy."
"Today's younger generation of deaf-blind individuals is enthusiastic and already leading us in exciting new directions. This Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, we celebrate their many accomplishments and boundless potential."
"Deaf-Blind Awareness Week is all about advancing the rights of deaf-blind individuals," concludes Ruzenski. "All of us can learn from people in the deaf-blind community — especially its youngest members who set the bar ever higher as they lead us into the future."
HKNC provides comprehensive vocational and independent living training on a national level to youths and adults who are deaf-blind. In addition to its headquarters in Sands Point, New York, HKNC maintains 10 regional offices serving New England, Mid-Atlantic, East Central, Southwest, North Central, South Central, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, and Northwest. HKNC also partners with other agencies across the United States to build their capacity to work with individuals who are deaf-blind.
For more information, go to www.helenkeller.org/hknc.