Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center
Mission: Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center (HSDC) is a nonprofit for clients who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who face other communication barriers such as speech challenges. Their mission is to foster inclusive and accessible communities through communication, advocacy, and education.
Category: People with Disabilities
HSDC has been serving the Puget Sound area for 80 years, and family and community have been fundamental parts of the agency since the very beginning. Originally a partnership between mothers of children with hearing loss and a social club for hard of hearing women, HSDC was incorporated in 1937 as the Seattle Chapter for the Hard of Hearing. In the 1950s, their name changed to the Seattle Hearing and Speech Center, which remained the only independent nonprofit west of the Mississippi for children and adults with communication challenges until the mid-1960s.
Over the years, the HSDC began to incorporate more programs for the local Deaf community, who favored sign language over spoken language. During the 1960s and 70s, HSDC introduced what was, at the time, a controversial program that taught children with hearing loss American Sign Language (ASL).
By the 1980s, the Deaf community had become such an essential part of the agency’s programming that their name was changed to Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center. In February 2016, they dropped the “ness” and became Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center to reaffirm their commitment to the local Deaf community.
Today, HSDC has a main office in Seattle and satellite offices in Bellingham and Tacoma. The majority of their clients are in King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties, but they serve thirteen counties in total across Western Washington. Many of their services are offered for free or at reduced costs, allowing local individuals and families in need to receive high-quality communication access and care.
Other Ways to Get Involved:
HSDC offers ongoing, quarterly, and one-time volunteer positions.
Ongoing volunteers work flexible schedules and typically assist one of the following departments: Audiology, Speech, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services, Development, and Finance.
Quarterly volunteers assist their early childhood education services: the Parent-Infant Program (PIP), Rosen Family Preschool, and Ned Behnke Speech-Language Preschool.
Most one-time volunteer opportunities take place at their special events, such as Cocktails & Connections in the winter and the Froggy Fun Run in the summer.
Fluency in ASL is not necessary for many volunteer opportunities.