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Party provides outlet for hearing impaired
Public at-large invited to fourth annual event

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Those in the Georgia's deaf and hard-of-hearing community, or those interested in learning more about the community, are invited to a free holiday party.

Georgia Relay is sponsoring the Fourth Annual Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired (GACHI) Holiday Party on Dec. 17 at the GACHI Community Center in Decatur. The party, free and open to the public, provides an opportunity for members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to socialize and network.

GACHI was established in 1989 with a mission to create and maintain a statewide, interactive network of services for deaf, hard-of-hearing, late deafened, and deaf-blind individuals and groups.

The organization relies on a combination of funding sources, including state-appropriated funds, as set by the Georgia General Assembly, and private grants and donations.

"We service the deaf and hard-of-hearing in the state of Georgia," said Chevella Barfield, GACHI staff interpreter.

The organization also offers an information and referral program, community outreach events, and educational and employment services that range from the General Education Diploma to Adult Basic Education courses.

At least 100 individuals are expected to take part in GACHI's holiday festivities, which will include a visit from Santa Claus.

"There won't be any interpreters there (officially)," Barfield said. "But the public is more than welcome to join."

She said there are many hard-of-hearing children and children with deaf or hard-of-hearing parents and relatives, known as Children of Deaf Adults (CODAs), who could benefit from the holiday festivities.

The festivities will be begin, from 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 17, at the GACHI Community Center, located at 4151 Memorial Drive, Suite 103B in Decatur, Ga. Appetizers and beverages will be available, along with holiday crafts, activities and prizes and a performance by a deaf magician.

There will also be demonstrations of assistive services and devices for Georgia Relay users, including a demonstration of a new video phone for Video Relay Services (VRS) users. For more, visit the GACHI web site.

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On the net:

GACHI: www.gachi.org