Your generosity and investment moved us toward a more inclusive world with fewer barriers!
Adult Education & Outreach
AEO served 2,879 unduplicated clients. There were 263 students in ASL I, II, and III classes that were onsite, online, or community based. AEO presented 59 virtual and in-person workshops on Deaf culture and ASL in Middle Tennessee businesses, universities, law enforcement, first responders, congregations, and agencies.
Over 1,600 employees of the Davidson County Sheriff's Office are scheduled to take a mandatory in-service about working with the D/deaf and hard of hearing. As of June 30th, 461 had completed the training.
AEO hosted Drive-In BINGO, Trunk or Treat, Tax Days, Community Health & Vaccine Clinics, and Signing Santa. We had our first Tech Expo in May 2022, and for the first time, we held bowling events in rural communities--Putnam and Warren Counties.
AEO was excited to launch continue our statewide, interpreted and captioned GED classes for the D/deaf and hard of hearing.
Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing established a new partnership with the Slovak Association of the Deaf, and AEO took the lead in gathering a small group of local Deaf community members to meet monthly with a small group in Slovakia for a linguistic and cultural exchange.
In 2021-22, Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing continued to host timely, factual COVID-19 Conversations with experts like Dr. Kiepp Talbot and Dr. Allison Norton, both members of the CDC's Vaccine Advisory Committee.
We hosted a statewide Community Meeting on Access in Tennessee Hospitals and continued working with the Department of Justice, Middle District of Tennessee, to develop standardized equal access accommodations policies for our D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and hard of hearing communities.
We led panel discussion after a screening of CODA at The Belcourt, advocating for increased awareness.
We established a Little Pantry in Nashville, allowing our neighbors both to participate in sharing food and in receiving food as needed.
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 three panels on Disability in Diversity: Inclusion for the D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing--one for HCA/TriStar, one for the Junior League of Nashville, and one for Momentum Partners in Memphis.
We continued to push forward on increased access and quality of care for our communities in mental health, substance abuse, and supported housing services.
We were proud to be part of the national group that saw AMC theaters begin weekly open caption showings of every movie in its theaters, and we advocated successfully for open captions for summer movies in the park in Nashville, Clarksville, Cookeville, McMinnville, and Murfreesboro.
The biggest news from BridgesWEST is that we bought a building! In September 2021, BridgesWEST moved into its permanent location on Union Avenue Ext, reflecting both our long-term commitment to our Mid-South community and the success we have had there in just two years. The new building made expanded programs and services possible, and we're excited about all that has happened and all that is to come!
BridgesWEST served 252 unduplicated clients in Empowerment and hosted 8 workshops as well as Drive-In BINGO, Tax Days, Trunk or Treat, Deaf Days Out in the Park, Police Trainings, and more. We celebrated the new building with a series of mini- and COVID-safe open houses as well as a Community Picnic in Overton Park. BridgesWEST hosted a fantastic Deaf Day Out at the Memphis Zoo during Deaf Awareness Month!
The Signing ACEs, our youth program in Memphis in collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Youth Services, met virtually, and our graduates did their first, paid internships in Summer 2021! 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 3,000 hours of interpreting services, including 584 pro bono hours, and 39 CART hours. Since opening, we have tripled our first year and continue to grow.
Empowerment is our case management program. Empowerment served 241 individual clients (with 1,142 client meetings), 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 114 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 and chaired the Mayor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities.
Interpreting Services served approximately 900 individuals, not including students and audiences. From BridgesTN, 23,715 hours of interpreting services were provided by a team of staff and freelance interpreters, including 895 hours by Deaf interpreters, 807 pro bono hours,142 hours of CART, and . BridgesTN also offered 24 hours of professional development for our highly-qualified interpreters. From BridgesWEST, we provided over 3,000 hours of interpreting services, including 584 pro bono hours. Deaf Interpreters are highly-qualified interpreters who team with hearing interpreters to meet the specific needs of clients where there is an additional language barrier.
Interpreting Services with BridgesTN also provided 5,225 Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) minutes and 142 hours of CART. 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. CART (Communication Access Real Time) provides live captions in English and creates equal access for our hard of hearing community. BridgesWEST provided 39 CART hours.
Interpreting Services continues to work with courts and law enforcement to ensure best practices and legal compliance when working with the Deaf and hard of hearing community and improving access to mental health services for Deaf and hard of hearing consumers. Interpreting offered a robust program of high-quality professional development for interpreters with topics ranging from legal interpreting, language deprivation, and mental health interpreting to best practices in team interpreting, medical interpreting, and narcotics terms.
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.
BIG NEWS: Interpreting Services launched Access on Demand, 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. We provided 2,901 minutes of Access on Demand services in our first few months.
Youth Education & Services
We are excited to share that in the spring of 2022, we hired a new Director of Youth Education & Services, Daniel Timlen. Daniel has a Master's degree in education from Gallaudet University and has worked with Gallaudet, the Maryland School for the Deaf, and the New Mexico School for the Deaf. He brings experience in classroom teaching, family support, and transition programs to our dynamic youth programs that serve D/deaf and hard of hearing children from birth through high school. Daniel began working with us remotely, planning the curriculum for a newly-imagined Little ACEs and will physically join us in the Nashville office on August 1st.
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 Parent ASL class and a monthly group meeting with our Director.
Our Cooking club continued to be popular. Each week, we emailed out a new grocery list, and then we met virtually to cook together. We had a small after-school program in Nashville and continued working with the Mayor's program in Memphis.
With Interpreting Services, we hosted the Deaf Education Institute virtually. Deaf educators, and parents all across the country. In January, our students filmed ASL versions of Martin Luther King, Jr. quotations to honor his life and work.
We took a trip to Beech Bend Park!
We hosted Signing Santa where children could meet virtually 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 we donated 'Signs of Survival,' the story of two sisters, one Deaf, in a concentration camp during WWII to the Deaf education program in high school in Memphis.
We hosted 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.
The big story for the youth program was Camp Rise & Sign. After missing the last two years, we were back in person this summer in a new location in Memphis, and we welcomed students from Middle and West Tennessee for the first time together! 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 a Ropes course, an obstacle course, and a high-velocity swing. We canoed and daily swam and did arts and crafts. We learned about ASL storytelling and had a talent show with skits on our final night. We played wiffle ball and kickball and capture the flag. 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.