ANNUAL REPORT 2020-21
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Board Chair, 2020-21
As I transition out of the role of Chair for this dynamic board of directors, I recognize how fortunate Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is to have strong, consistent leadership to date As we have seen during this ongoing pandemic, we are prepared to meet the challenges before us. As always, we see challenges as opportunities for further innovation and to use technology to expand our reach into the outlying and more rural areas we also serve but where a physical presence is harder to maintain.
I am excited about our growth this past year and look forward to seeing that service continue to grow and thrive. I see Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, in Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee and the bordering states we serve, as a connector of communities, one that actively seeks opportunities to share communication, raise awareness, and build understanding. Through programs that support the youngest to the eldest, Bridges offers tools and interventions to navigate many of this world’s complexities and to build a more just and inclusive world for all.
The board of directors is engaged and dedicated to support this incredible team as they navigate the many new challenges this year presents. We believe great things are happening and will happen. --GC
Board Chair, 2021-22
As I roll into the Chair of the Board of Directors for Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I am excited to see what 2021-2022 will bring to the communities we serve as we continue to navigate a global pandemic. I am hopeful that we return to a “new normal” that both continues the standards of excellence and relationship but that also leverages all the innovation and agility we have during this challenging time.
The Bridges’ mission is meaningful to me because I am deaf. Twelve years ago, I lost my hearing. Having lived as hearing person into adulthood, it was a dramatic change for me, but I now successfully use a cochlear implant. Searching for a way to serve the deaf and hard of hearing community, I found Bridges two years ago and immediately knew I had found my “home.” Serving on a very talented, diverse Board of Directors that prioritizes leadership representation from the D/deaf and hard of hearing communities and working with great leaders like Nancy Denning-Martin, I am excited about the future of Bridges and the growth and leadership of the communities we serve both in Middle and West Tennessee.
We are continuing a trajectory of unprecedented growth in the depth, quality, and number of programs and services we offer from birth through elder years and in our physical reach to deliver those programs and services. It’s an exciting time to be part of the Bridges family. I look forward to leading and serving and hope you will become a part of our family, too. --RP
President & CEO
Five years ago, Sophia, my youngest daughter, and I walked into Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing together. She, six at the time, went to her very first day of Camp Sign Me Up, and I went to my very first day in the office as President & CEO. Five summers later, we walked into Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, she off to Camp Sign Me Up and me to my office.
Five years ago, I was excited to be here and for the opportunity to serve this mission. Five years later, I am excited each and every day I am blessed to serve this community. While I brought several years of leadership experience, I knew back then that I had a language to learn and a community to understand. I don’t think I could have imagined how changed both the work and I would be over the next five years. Here, I have experienced the real power of community. I’ve found that everything I had done previously has served me well here but has been amplified by the immersion in a welcoming, joyful, proud, encouraging, resilient community that had so much to teach me.
We continue to define this civil rights work and to seek to engage and empower the community that leads us. From birth through elder years, we identify barriers and needs, removing the former and meeting the latter, and all of it is done on a foundation of excellence, innovation, and love. I am thankful for the privilege of leading and serving, and I am thankful for every staff member, board director, volunteer, community member, and supporter who helps shape our work so generously. I look forward to the next five years.
to build access, equity, and inclusion in partnership with the D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing communities through advocacy, education, empowerment, and effective communication
a more just and inclusive world with no barriers
In our service and decision making, we strive to remain faithful to and to express these values:
Integrity, acting with fidelity to our values
Intention, acting with purpose and meaning
Honesty, valuing truth
Relationship, being in community with one another
Respect, acting with honor and kindness for all
Stewardship, respecting and utilizing wisely those precious resources of time, talents, people, and finances entrusted to us