Your generosity and investment moved us toward a more inclusive world with fewer barriers!
Adult Education & Outreach
AEO served 1,802 unduplicated clients. There were 216 students in ASL I, II, and III classes that were onsite, online, or community based. AEO presented 71 virtual and in-person workshops on Deaf culture and ASL in Middle Tennessee businesses, universities, law enforcement, first responders, congregations, and agencies and presented/hosted 14 workshops for the D/deaf and hard of hearing communities. The statewide Driver's Education class had 18 students, and there were 7 GED students with two attaining their GEDs this year. Nine Deaf community members met monthly with the Slovak Association of the Deaf in our cultural exchange partnership.
AEO hosted our 4th, annual Trunk or Treat, Tax Days, Community Health & Vaccine Clinics, Thanksgiving, Game Days, and Signing Santa. We held bowling events in rural communities--Putnam and Warren Counties.
We continued to push forward on increased access and quality of care for our communities in mental health, substance abuse, and supported housing services., hosting our first Town Hall on Mental Health in the Deaf Community. This successful training and dialogue to providers and the Community led to training all of Tennessee's state-run mental health hospitals and State funding to support additional training for interpreters.
We established open caption movies for summer series hosted by Nashville, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, McMinnville, and Cookeville.
We continued the Little Pantry in Nashville, allowing our neighbors both to participate in sharing food and in receiving food as needed.
We hosted Community Meetings in Nashville, Memphis, Johnson City, and virtually to set our strategic plans.
We worked with stakeholders and the State of Tennessee to address emergency preparedness plans and readiness to include our D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing communities.
We planned and facilitated panel on Disability in Diversity: Inclusion for the D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing for the Junior League of Nashville and for the Center for Nonprofit Management.
We produced a video and news article about making holidays more inclusive for D/deaf and hard of hearing family and friends.
In June 2022, BridgesDHH was excited to open BridgesEAST! BridgesEAST serves northeastern Tennessee and parts of Virginia and North Carolina. We were honored to be invited by the Community to serve, and we pledge to honor that trust. From our first day on June 14th, we've been busy, busy, busy, so check back in the new fiscal year for all the wonderful things to come!
The story of BridgesWEST is growth, growth, growth!
BridgesWEST served 449 clients and hosted 7 workshops and 5 community presentations as well as 57 community activities, including Tax Days, Trunk or Treat, Deaf Days Out in the Park, Police Trainings, and more. BridgesWEST also provided 117 referrals and 121 hours of education, including ASL classes and workshops.
The Signing ACEs, our youth program in Memphis continued our successful collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Youth Services. We were proud to work with Shelby County and the City of Memphis to make news briefings, City Council meetings, MLGW board meetings, and Health Department briefings accessible.
We provided over 5,495 hours of interpreting services, including 460 pro bono hours.
Empowerment is our case management program. Empowerment served 245 individual clients, primarily in the areas of jobs, housing, individual access, education, and assisting clients with written English.. Other priorities were food security, training opportunities, educational advocacy, and advocacy for access to health care, mental health care, and other services. Empowerment made over 120 referrals to other agencies, including the Civil Rights Enforcement & Education Center, Disability Rights TN, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Financial Empowerment Center, attorneys, doctors, churches, and more.
Empowerment collaborated with the Financial Empowerment Center to provide bi-weekly financial counseling, providing interpreters and a social worker to work with the counselor. If there were identified barriers to program participation, we were able to provide some direct financial assistance to remove those barriers. Over 90% of clients in the financial program had increased credit scores, paid off debt, or built savings.
We partnered with Genoa Healthcare to hold three vaccine and community health clinics.
Our Empowerment Manager served on the Mayor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities.
From BridgesTN, 27,594 hours of interpreting services were provided by a team of staff and freelance interpreters, including 895 hours by Deaf interpreters, 736 pro bono hours, and 95 hours of CART, and 728. From BridgesWEST, we provided over 5,495 hours of interpreting services, including 460 pro bono hours. That's a total of over 33,000 hours of interpreting services we provided in Tennessee!
Interpreting Services with BridgesTN also provided 2,330 Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) minutes VRI allows us to provide services quickly and cost-effectively to remote areas but never replaces the value and quality of having an interpreter in person. Access on Demand provided 208 hours of on-demand service.
BridgesDHH was awarded a five-year grant to train 240 educational interpreters in Tennessee!
Interpreting Services provided a robust program of virtual professional development, using qualified interpreters with specific areas of expertise to offer professional development on topics such as legal, medical, performance, mental health, and more.
Interpreting Services continues to lead the push for improved access to and quality of mental health services for the D/deaf and hard of hearing, leading a statewide Mental Health Task Force.
Interpreting Services signed our first Access on Demand contract with a Middle Tennessee university. AOD is a new on-demand, video remote interpreting service. Access on Demand creates access where it did not previously exist--in those impromptu, walk into the store/pharmacy/professor's office/traffic stop interactions that seem small but that have a huge impact. Customers of this service simply click on a link or app on any smartphone, tablet, or computer, and a qualified interpreter appears in less than one minute, no scheduling required. Access on Demand also offers over 200 spoken languages, meaning our service has broad appeal, allowing us to work with a number of important customers and to make quality ASL, equal access, and effective communication a priority.
Interpreting Services, in collaboration with Youth Education & Services, is launching Camp Interpret! This three-day camp is designed for teens with ASL experience and will introduce them to interpreting as a profession, including a field assignment with The Tennessee State Museum.
Youth Education & Services
The unexpected departure of our Director proved the adage of closed doors and open windows as our youth programs grew in new, exciting directions.
Little ACEs welcomed new Deaf Mentors who meet with families with D/deaf and hard of hearing children ages 0 to 5 each week. Those families also have access to a free, weekly Parent ASL class offered virtually. We matched families in Nashville, Memphis, Paris, and Cookeville, and we continue to grow. Enrollment in Little ACEs tripled in the last year.
We transitioned our after-school program in Nashville to school-based mentoring, providing weekly Deaf Mentors for Eakin Elementary and West End Middle School. In Memphis, we continued our collaboration with the Mayor's Office for Youth Services with the I AM INCLUDED after-school program, and we matched our first Deaf Mentors!
With the leadership of Interpreting Services, we hosted the Deaf Education Institute virtually. Deaf educators, and parents all across the country.
We hosted Signing Santa where children met with a Deaf Santa and his interpreter, Rudolph. We filmed and distributed Santa signing "'The Night Before Christmas."
We sponsored transportation for Nashville's Deaf Ed program to visit the Nashville Sounds for Fantasy Baseball Camp and joined them for the day.
We hosted four, full weeks of Camp Sign Me Up for hearing students who want to learn ASL and Deaf culture, and we were thrilled to welcome deaf and hard of hearing students who were embracing their identities and communities for the first time. We were also excited to have a new Camp Coordinator who is Deaf and to have two, teen counselors, both Deaf, who grew up in our youth programs!
Camp Rise & Sign welcomed students from Middle and West Tennessee for our second summer! CRS was an amazing experience--fully and equally accessible to every D/deaf, hard of hearing, sibling, and CODA student who attended. The campers were amazing--kind, generous, enthusiastic. We did canoes, the zip line, and a high-velocity swing. We swam daily and did arts and crafts. We learned about ASL storytelling and had a talent show with skits on our final night. We played lots of volleyball and basketball. We made lifelong friends and memories, and we are grateful for every volunteer and donor and particularly for For the Kingdom Camp and Sertoma Club of Nashville for their sponsorships.