With a sign, a gesture and a smile, they communicate with the world. But this year, the deaf and hearing-impaired are having a tough time getting their message across. Blame it on the recession.
Slash, cut, and cut again. That's what happening to non-profit budgets across the country. Los Angeles is not immune. Ask the people who depend on social services from the charity down the street. Those who run non-profit groups are feeling the pain of deep, wounding budget setbacks, including support from foundations, endowments and individual donors.
The Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness or GLAD is a 40-year-old organization that empowers the deaf and hard of hearing with tools to enter the world and workplace. It also protects their rights.
"My staff and I witness on a daily basis the frustration, isolation and complete uncertainty that many of our consumers experience," said GLAD CEO Dr. Patricia Hughes.
But times are tough. GLAD is trying to recover from a 10 percent cut of state funds. On top of that, there's a drop in donations and support for annual fundraisers, such as the upcoming "7th Annual GLAD Gospel Brunch" at the House of Blues. Traditional donors just don't have the money this year. So how do you make up the loss?
GLAD is hoping your heart will lead the way.
"We are making a difference, one life at a time. With our 10 percent state budget cut, our community must come together and combine our efforts to raise necessary funds to continue services," says Hughes.
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GLAD is signaling for your help.
For as low as $50 and $75, you can attend "Gospel Brunch." Your money buys a lot: a hearty champagne brunch of southern cooking and a dose of live soulful gospel music. It's a show like none-other. A big spender? Consider a table sponsorship beginning at $2,500. It buys 10 seats. The event is May 17.
If you can't make it, GLAD takes donations at their official website.
BTW: If you attend, trade out the usual clapping for a wave of the hands. It's the "deaf clap." You'll fit right in and impress your friends.