KyADAPT clients look for ways to repay area donors for their support 

Published 12:52 pm Friday, December 29, 2017

The new year will be a very busy one for the clients of KyADAPT, and they’re looking forward to helping others.

KyADAPT (Kentucky Assisting Deaf Adults to Participate Totally) is a local organization helping deaf adults with disabilities learn to live as safely and independently as possible, said Dahlia Haas, program and client services manager. 

One of the major goals the organization is looking forward to in 2018 is for its clients to give back to the community in recognition of its financial support. The non-profit doesn’t charge its clients for assistance, but depends on small grants, the generosity of public and private donations, and fundraisers like its annual walk and 5-K run in Millennium Park, said Haas, who is the only paid staff member. 

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“We’re on a shoestring budget,” she said. 

Even the Housing Authority of Danville is giving the organization free office space right now, which Haas says saves it “a ton of money.” 

“We as a group feel strongly to give back to the community,” Haas said. “We want to give something back. Deaf people by nature are a helping kind of culture.”

David Bazsika, originally from New Jersey, who lived in South Carolina before moving to Danville about five years ago, is deaf and blind. He is currently working with a vocational rehabilitation counselor through KyADAPT trying to find a job. 

Through a tactile interpreter, Bazsika said he would love to find a job maybe washing dishes or cleaning windows. He said he wants to work but there are no jobs available for him. In the meantime, he is looking forward to helping others in need in the area. 

“I do like to help people and do volunteer opportunities,” he said through his interpreter. 

In the past few years, KyADAPT clients have volunteered in Danville and Boyle County during the annual Heart of Kentucky Day of Action by painting curbs and fences and doing work around the Kentucky School for the Deaf campus as well as other locations around town.

In 2015, KyADAPT clients held a book drive and with the help of American Greetings, they were able to donate 10 boxes of books to agencies in need of them, Haas said.

In 2018, she said they want to do even more for the community throughout the entire year.

“We’re a motivated crew. We believe in work,” she said. 

Currently, there are 19 active participants being assisted by KyADAPT — most of who live in Boyle or surrounding counties. Four people are now able to live independently, she said, because of KyADAPT.

The organization offers group learning experiences with classes focused on the clients’ needs such as cooking, first aid, CPR, community safety, budget and money management and most recently, emergency preparedness. 

“It’s what they need to live as independently as possible,” Haas said.

As for giving back to the community, “We are open to anything. We need to find something that they’re capable of doing.” Suggestions she offered include having clients run errands, do yard work, take items to the recycling center and shred paper — she said they are open to any ideas. 

She said some people can even help load and unload trucks and move furniture.

Since none of the clients drive, Haas or a volunteer will provide the transportation and supervision to get the jobs done. “We’ll do our best to schedule it.”

Earlier this month, participants with KyADAPT volunteered to clean up Jacobs Hall at KSD after it was decorated for the holidays, Haas said.

Her son, John, is also a client of KyADAPT and has volunteered to ring the bell for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive and more recently helped tidy up Jacobs Hall. Through an interpreter, John Haas said he “Wants to help because they (donors) help KyADPT.”

Other activities KyADAPT provides its clients include trips out into the community, Haas said. They’ve taken clients to Bernheim Forest, on a train ride in Stearns and to the Newport Aquarium. These educational adventures help them with their sign language vocabulary and socialization skills and etiquette, Haas explained.

Haas said KyADAPT will consider each request for volunteer workers and prioritize them on a needs basis. 

“If they support us, we’re going to help them back. We want to get back to that focus and make 2018 a big volunteer year…We’re going to see what comes our way and do as much as we can.”