"The NAD thanks and recognizes Pennsylvania Society for Advancement of the Deaf
(PSAD) for being the state model and originator of the National Deaf Youth Day
National Association of the Deaf (NAD), February 3, 2017
YOUTH DAY PROGRAM
PSAD Makes History!
PSAD Youth Day Program ~ A State Association’s Success Story
August 15, 2016
PSAD has been around since 1881 and 129 years later in 2010 PSAD made history by establishing the PSAD Youth Program with a goal in mind: “To promote a belief that the Deaf
and Hard of Hearing Youth will become whatever they dream to be in the future.” With the evolving changes from the 19th to the 21st centuries, it has been a struggle to ensure the Youth that they have every access to their rights such as education, jobs, family, and anything that comes in their way in their journey. The Youth Day program targets middle school (age 13) through 12th grade from the mainstream programs and schools for the deaf in Pennsylvania, and to have deaf and hard of hearing presenters.
Sharon Antal, Chairperson of the Youth Day Program, and her dedicated committee of PSAD members worked hard in planning this program, which still continues to this day successfully.
The committee created a new Youth Day trademark theme “Believe in Your Future, A day to learn about life after High School.” The Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) has been offering their entire three locations at King of Prussia (East), at Harrisburg (Central), and at Pittsburgh (West) as the PSAD Youth Day’s venue.
The first Youth day was held on April 17, 2013, at King of Prussia with six deaf and hard of hearing presenters. We had mainstream students from the eastern side of Pennsylvania, also
students from the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD), teachers and parents.
The second Youth Day was held on November 20, 2013 in Harrisburg, PA. We had mainstream students, teachers, parents from the Central Pennsylvania, some from Pittsburgh, and groups from the Reading areas returning for the 2nd time. The students from the Reading areas could not resist not attending; they brought their classmates who did not attend the 1st Youth Day! We had two workshops and two activity sessions.
The third Youth Day was held on April 24, 2014 in Pittsburgh. The mainstream students came from the Pittsburgh area programs and also students from the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD) as well as teachers and parents. We had two workshops and two activity sessions. In the first full year of 2013-2014 a total of 177 students, teachers and parents attended which indicated success!
The fourth Youth Day in King of Prussia on October 16, 2014 we had approximately 52 students and 25 teachers with 3 presenters and one lunch guest speaker. We had two workshops and two activity sessions.
The fifth Youth Day in Harrisburg on March 24, 2015 we had 56 students and 23 teachers with four presenters and one lunch guest speaker to talk about importance of post-secondary
education. The two workshops and two activity sessions were provided.
The sixth Youth Day in Pittsburgh on October 22, 2015 we had 50 students and 9 teachers with five presenters. The two workshops and two activity sessions were provided. In the second full year of 2014-2015 a total of 158 students and 57 teachers attended which showed a continued success!
The seventh Youth Day in King of Prussia on May 5, 2016 we had approximately 81 students
from 10 different schools and 34 teachers with 5 presenters. The two workshops and two activity sessions were given. We are now planning for the eighth Youth Day in Harrisburg on
October 6, 2016.
Since this program is so successful, we continue this PSAD’s Youth journey twice a year. We start from the eastern side, then to central, and to final stop at western side to ensure that the
entire state of Pennsylvania is covered. The program has gained attention from other organizations such as the
National Association of the Deaf (NAD). Surveys are passed out to collect information and ideas for future Youth Day programs.
A wide variety of workshop topics are presented by deaf and hard of hearing presenters and activity sessions are created as part of building youth awareness, confidence, and leadership.
We receive sponsorships and donations supporting the program that allows us to provide continental breakfast and lunch for all students, sign language & oral interpreters, and CART services. As part of the registration process, the Youth Program souvenirs such as messenger bags are filled with variety of information as Gallaudet University, NTID-RIT, NAD, PSAD, Harris Communications: Solutions for all levels of hearing loss, and etc. We still need financial support to continue the Youth Day Program in the future.
The journey continues as PSAD seeks out many new opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Many of the students meet each other for the first time or have known each other from other encounters. Some exchanged email addresses to keep in touch. It was fascinating to observe the students’ faces learning new things and having a wonderful experience. Some of the students have returned few times.
Here’s one successful story - One deaf mainstream student who has such a beautiful smile had attended the Youth Day a total of 5 times! She loved going to these Youth Day events to learn new things and having an adventure of meeting with her old and new friends. Because of her smile, it is a sure sign of a wonderful journey for her and for other students. And the May 2016 Youth Day became her last event as she graduated and was heading to college to become a nurse.
What’s new in the second year of 2014-2015 in the Youth Day events was the new Transition workshop provided by PaTTAN for the teachers and parents to attend while the students have their day. They learned about a software program using computer technology available to use online. It was so successful that the teachers, staff, parents asked for more to be held at each future Youth Day program. The neat part about this is that we have a great partnership with PaTTAN. They wanted to reach out to the teachers, staff, and parents during the Youth Day program by having a transition workshop. It is a day of educational experience for all.
Through advocacy, PSAD strives to ensure that equal opportunity would continue to be available to ALL deaf and hard-of-hearing Pennsylvanians. The Youth Day Program is one
extraordinary model to meet the PSAD’s mission.
With new knowledge, the high school students complete the Youth Day and begin planning their future with confidence.
For us to continue the Youth Day Program in Pennsylvania, we need your support. PSAD is a charitable non-profit 501(c) (3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible under IRS.
For more information about PSAD Youth Program, contact email@example.com.