Leah Horton (left) and Rachel Pegelow present to the group about cochlear implants during the March meeting.

Starting in the fall of 2017, SHLS created and began hosting the Southside Hearing Loss Support Group. Meetings are held at SHLS from 1-2 PM on the third Friday of every month between August and April.  The meetings are open to everyone and there is no charge for attending.  Each month, between 20 and 25 individuals attend the meetings. Participants are invited to have quick hearing aid check conducted by Longwood’s Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) graduate students prior to the meetings.

The Support Group is focused on educating individuals who have hearing loss and their families on different topics regarding hearing. The topics for meetings are chosen by the participants. Two graduate students from the CSD graduate program provide the presentations with the support of Dr. Mani Aguilar, the SHLS audiologist, and Dr. Lissa Power-deFur, the SHLS Program Director.  A group of members will be meeting over the summer to plan the topics and schedule for the coming year.  Previous topics have included:

“Strategies to Improve Communication with a Person Who Has Hearing Loss”

“Dementia and Hearing Loss”

“What to Expect from Your Hearing Aids”

“New Hearing Aid Technologies and Solutions”

“Cochlear Implants”

“Laws Related to Hearing Loss”

“Hearing Conservation”

Rachel Pegelow and Leah Horton, the graduate students leading the meetings during this past spring semester, had the following to say regarding their experience with the Group: “This has been a very positive experience for both of us. During the meetings the participants discuss strategies they use in their lives and the difficulties they have. It seems to be a great source of support for them.”

For further information, please contact:

Longwood Speech, Hearing, and Learning Services

315 West Third Street

Farmville, VA 23901


Email: SHLS@longwood.edu

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Star Grieser Wins 2017 Deaf Community Leader Award!

  • Mar 21, 2018
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  • publicrelationsdept

Congratulations to Star Grieser for winning the Hamilton Relay 2017 Deaf Community Leader Award! Star has been a great asset to the Deaf community for many years. She not only served as a board chair for the VDDHH Advisory Board, she also spearheaded the development of a community organization for the Deaf in the Hampton Roads area when the local VAD chapter disbanded.

Star works with Tidewater Community College as part of the Interpreter Training Program and hosts ASLville at the college to bring a communication-accessible experience to the community.

Star’s personality, accomplishments, and ability to make people want to learn more about Deaf culture and ASL makes her a very deserving winner of this award.

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Nominations Due by Monday, April 2nd

Did you know that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month? To celebrate, Hamilton Relay wants to recognize a great leader from each state where they provide relay service.

We are looking for individuals who are hard of hearing, late-deafened or have difficulty speaking. To be nominated, one should demonstrate strong leadership, volunteerism and involvement within his/her community. Award recipients will be honored during the month of May and will be featured on the Hamilton Relay corporate website, on Hamilton Relay’s and Virginia Relay’s social media, in the Virginia Relay newsletter and on the Virginia Relay blog.

To nominate someone in Virginia, download and complete our brief questionnaire telling us about your nominee’s accomplishments. Nominations are due by April 2, 2018 and may be submitted to Virginia Relay’s outreach coordinator Frazelle Hampton to frazelle.hampton@hamiltonrelay.com or directly to Hamilton Relay’s corporate office by email to info@hamiltonrelay.com, by fax to (402) 694-5110, or by mail to:

Hamilton Relay

1006 12th Street

Aurora, NE 68818

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Alvillar will promote TRS solutions for Virginians who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind or who have difficulty speaking.

Hamilton Relay, Virginia’s contracted relay provider, recently announced that Eric Alvillar has been hired as Virginia Relay Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS) Outreach Coordinator. In this role, Eric will pursue outreach and educational opportunities throughout the Commonwealth to raise awareness of the TRS features available through Virginia Relay to enable people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind or who have difficulty speaking to place and receive telephone calls.

Eric has more than 13 years of professional experience in sales and marketing. He recently moved to Virginia from San Diego, California, where he was the operations and business development manager for POTHOS, Inc., a corporate travel agent and meeting/event planner. He also has military experience in the United States Navy.

“Being new to Virginia, I am looking forward to traveling and meeting people from all areas of the Commonwealth as I explore new and exciting opportunities to share information about Virginia Relay,” says Eric Alvillar. “I’m eager to meet both current and potential TRS users, and open more doors to accessible telecommunication.”

Eric Alvillar is available to provide information and training on how to use Virginia Relay TRS features to individuals and groups including agencies, businesses or schools. For more information, please visit varelay.org or contact Eric at 804-295-2863 (Voice/TTY) or eric.alvillar@hamiltonrelay.com.

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Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is seeking Virginia Relay users to join the Virginia Relay Advisory Council (VRAC)! VRAC needs new representatives to fill these vacancies:

  • Internet/Wireless Relay user
  • Video Relay Service (VRS) user

If you use these Relay features and are interested in serving on VRAC,  please contact Eric Raff at 804-404-9090 or eric.raff@vddhh.virginia.gov.

VRAC was established to focus on the statewide education and technical assistance activities of the Virginia Relay. VRAC focuses on Virginia Relay’s consumers’ needs, to advise and make recommendations to VDDHH, and to share information to the consumers. VRAC is comprised of various relay users providing guidance in public relations, marketing, education, and outreach.

VRAC members’ duties and responsibilities shall also include:

• Ensuring through research and practical experience that Virginia Relay is meeting the needs of its users;
• Collecting feedback from consumers to be shared with the Department, and the contractor(s);
• Providing advice on meeting the requirements for functional equivalency required by federal law;
• Assisting in the disseminating of information from VDDHH and the relay contractor(s) to consumers;
• Providing access to consumers and other interested parties through meetings held in various regions of the Commonwealth as determined by the Advisory Council

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As the Telecommunications Relay and Captioned Telephone service provider for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Hamilton Relay acknowledges that opportunities for higher education affect the future of Virginia’s high school students.

We are pleased to once again extend the Hamilton Relay Scholarship opportunity to graduating high school students in Virginia who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or have difficulty speaking to assist in their goals of continuing their education. One $500 scholarship will be awarded in each of the states where Hamilton Relay is the contracted telecommunications relay and/or captioned telephone service provider.

To be eligible for the 2018 Hamilton Relay Scholarship Program in Virginia, students must:

  1. Be a graduating high school student who is deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or has difficulty speaking;
  2. Be a resident of Virginia;
  3. Complete and submit an application, a response to the application’s essay question and a letter of recommendation.

If you know a deserving student who meets the eligibility requirements for this scholarship opportunity, please encourage them to submit an application. Applications are available online at www.HamiltonRelay.com and must be postmarked by March 1, 2018 to be considered eligible for selection. For more information, please contact Frazelle Hampton, Virginia Relay Captioned Telephone outreach coordinator, at frazelle.hampton@hamiltonrelay.com.

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VDDHH Turns 45!

  • Oct 15, 2017
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  • publicrelationsdept

In celebration of 45 years of serving Virginia’s deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and DeafBlind communities, the Virginia Department of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) held an anniversary open house at their central office this past September. They opened their doors to the public for two days, inviting community members to meet their staff, learn about their history and services, and enjoy light refreshments while mingling with friends and neighbors.

Eric Raff (deputy director of VDDHH), Jeanne Lavelle (president of VAD), and Ron Lanier (executive director of VDDHH) enjoying the festivities at the VDDHH 45th Anniversary Open House.

In 1972, VDDHH was established as the Virginia Council for the Deaf (VCD) after members of the Virginia Association of the Deaf passionately lobbied to convince lawmakers that Virginia needed an agency to serve its citizens who are deaf. This anniversary celebration paid tribute to several of the individuals who were instrumental in the founding and early survival of the agency. Over 150 people came out to help VDDHH celebrate this great milestone.

VDDHH 45th Anniversary Open House

  • Aug 15, 2017
  • |
  • publicrelationsdept

The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is celebrating 45 years of open doors! For nearly half a century, VDDHH has been breaking down communication barriers for Virginians who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late-Deafened, or DeafBlind. Through services like Virginia Relay, education, and outreach efforts, VDDHH has been working to bring people together.

Now, it’s time for everyone to come together! Join the celebration of VDDHH’s 45th anniversary. For two days, VDDHH will be hosting an open house at their central office. Learn about the history and the founders, meet the staff, and enjoy complimentary refreshments and fun for all!

The open house will be Friday, September 29th from 4pm-7pm and Saturday, September 30th from 10am-1pm. Come see what VDDHH is all about and help kick off the next 45 years of opening doors to communication!

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  • Events

Nominations Due by Friday, August 11

Each September during Deaf Awareness Week, Virginia Relay and contract service provider Hamilton Relay recognize a local who is Deaf or deaf-blind.

We are looking for individuals who are deaf or deaf-blind and demonstrate strong leadership, volunteerism and involvement within his/her community. Award recipients will be honored during the month of September and will be featured on the Virginia Relay Facebook page, in the Virginia Relay Commonwealth Caller newsletter, as well as on the Hamilton Relay corporate website and under the Awards tab of the Hamilton Relay Facebook page.

To nominate someone in your community, click here to download and complete our brief questionnaire telling us about your nominee’s accomplishments. Nominations are due by August 11, 2017 and may be submitted to Frazelle Hampton, Virginia Outreach Coordinator at frazelle.hampton@hamiltonrelay.com.

We invite you to participate in the excitement by nominating someone you know today!

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  • Virginia Relay

Virginia Relay has selected Andrew Parker Leitner as the 2017 Hamilton Relay Scholarship winner! Andrew, a Woodgrove High School student from Round Hill, Virginia, has been given $500 to put towards his college education.

The $500 scholarship is available to high school seniors who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking. A recipient is selected within each of the states where Hamilton Relay is the contracted service provider and is one of several ways the company gives back to the communities they serve.

“Hamilton takes pride in recognizing outstanding leadership and promoting education,” said Frazelle Hampton, Virginia Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator. “We are excited to have the opportunity to contribute to furthering Andrew’s education and wish him success in reaching his personal and professional goals.”

Andrew was awarded the $500 Hamilton Relay Scholarship after completing the application process, including writing an essay under the topic of communication technology. Andrew plans to attend George Mason University this fall to study Civil Engineering.

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