Annual Deaf Tea in Hall of Flags Sept. 17 Bookmark and Share

August 27, 2015

CONTACT: Julie Rabinowitz 621-5009; Nancy Melanson 623-7958 (voice); 623-7998 (TTY)

Awardees from Yarmouth, Westbrook, North Berwick, Bridgton will be recognized

AUGUSTA — In celebration of Deaf culture, the heritage of American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf literature, art and folklore, Governor Paul R. LePage has issued a proclamation designating the week of Sept. 19 through 25, 2015, as Deaf Culture Week.

“Deaf Culture Week and the annual awards recognize the important contributions members of this community make to Maine,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “I congratulate and thank all of the awardees for their achievements. Their work not only benefits people who are deaf or hard of hearing but also reminds us all of the many ways we can give back.”

The Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened will hold its 24th Annual Award Ceremony and Tea on Sept. 17, 2015, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Hall of Flags at the State House. This year, the commission will present awards in six categories to individuals who have contributed to Deaf culture in Maine. Award recipients are:

Clifton F. Rodgers Award ~ Lifetime Achievement Award — John Dunleavy, Rochester, NY

**Ginny Hewes Award ~ Advocate for the Needs of the Deaf

Community Award** — Julie A. Novack, North Berwick

Special Commendation Award — Maine Deaf Senior Citizens, Westbrook

Promoting ASL, Deaf Culture and Deaf People Award — Catherine J. Lushman, Yarmouth

Outstanding Citizenship Award — Karla R. Madore, Westbrook

Citizenship Youth Award — Taylor Gagnon, Bridgton

Christine “Coco” Roschaert will give the keynote address. Coco was born Deaf with Usher Syndrome in Canada. She graduated from Gallaudet University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and now works as an international advocate for DeafBlind rights. She is also a motivational speaker on DeafBlind issues, and her talks include her personal life stories. She has made more than 200 presentations around the world.

The Division of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, part of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) in the Department of Labor, works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“I encourage employers to diversify their workforce by including people with disabilities,” said the Governor. “The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services can facilitate that through vocational rehabilitation, training assistance and advice for employers.”

For more information about hiring people with disabilities or identifying job training resources for people with disabilities, visit your local CareerCenter, call 1-855-ALL-HIRE (TTY users call Maine Relay 711) or visit .