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  • Writer's pictureIvette Guillermo-McGahee

New Coalition seeks to support, connect and empower the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in South Jersey

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

Hammonton, NJ. On July 31 Allies In Caring led the first In-Person event of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition of SJ. At this event, we explored the gifts that Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals have and can contribute to our community and our dreams for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.

The dreams that were expressed included: That members of our families and community at large learn Sign Language so Deaf people have a larger network of support and be less isolated and so that their loved ones are supported too; that Deaf people will be known not by their disability, but their talents and skills; and that they can use their talents and offer them to the communities where they live.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition of South Jersey, initiative funded in part by an Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) Grant from the Division of Disability Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services, seeks to support, empower, and connect the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in South Jersey. The IHC Grant Program is an initiative created to provide funding to organizations and communities in New Jersey to promote inclusive practices to support the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities in their communities. Allies in Caring, Inc., in Hammonton, NJ, was one of the recipients awarded for the capacity building grant.

"A social environment which takes no or little account of people who are Deaf &Hard of Hearing individuals (D&HOH) and thus excludes them from participation in the mainstream of social activities contributes to exacerbating their toxic stress every day as they try to navigate barriers in their environment that are mostly geared for hearing people. Toxic stress from adverse experiences can have lasting, negative effects on health, well-being, and opportunity. Our vision is to build a community network of providers and support systems so Deaf individuals can have full access to the conditions that support their health and well-being. This event will be our first in-person effort to bring together our resources to advance our goal of creating a "Culture of Inclusion" that values the gifts of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals and supports them in becoming contributing members of their community. It is an honor to be leading this wonderful project." said Ivette Guillermo-Magahee, Founder and Executive Director of Allies in Caring.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition of South Jersey use the Assets Based Community Development model, recognizing that the exchange between people sharing their gifts and assets creates connections. These connections are a vital asset to the community. People whose gift is to find and develop these connections are called connectors. Too many members of our deaf and hard of hearing community struggle to connect with others and get the information they need about opportunities and services vital to their quality of life. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition will work with people with hearing loss to ensure that those in need receive critical support and services to live independent and empowering lives. For additional information on the Coalition, please visit:

"It is always wonderful to see what we accomplish during our projects. We feel like we make a difference by improving communication access and empowering deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind individuals. This season, our community just wanted to make a difference, so we all made connections at the event. We could not be more satisfied and confident knowing that our community connections positively impact the services and/or programs," Carrie Pogue, Community Liaison, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition of South Jersey.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coalition of South Jersey partners include:

- New Jersey Association of the Deaf (NJAD)

- New Jersey Division of Deaf and HH (NJDHH) Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing | Home (

- Deaf Advocacy Project for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Deaf Advocacy Project - NJ Coalition to End Domestic Violence (

- The Recovery Network for the DHH/Center for Family Services Center for Family Services | (

- Atlantic County Society for the Deaf

- Pogue, Inc.

- Divalicious

If people want to get involved or stay up to date with their events, they can follow up their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. Also, they can send an email to

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