NorCal Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

EMPOWER: Deaf and Hard-of-hearing individuals to live independently and productively within the greater society.
EDUCATE: Family members, service providers, employers, and the general public of the unique communication needs, abilities and accomplishments of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.
ADVOCATE: For equal access and opportunities for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals in our society.

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Address: 4708 Roseville Road Suite 111
North Highlands, CA 95660
County or Parish: Sacramento
Executive Director: Sheri Ann Farinha
Contact Email:
Primary Phone: 916-349-7500
Fax: 916-349-7580
The Vision: A group of deaf and hard of hearing leaders in the Sacramento community had a vision of a resource center that would help remove communication and attitudinal barriers for deaf and hard of hearing people. These leaders gathered to organize and plan the implementation of an agency that was "of, by, and for" deaf and hard of hearing people.

December 1977:
Services began at a borrowed office at a local community college through the use of volunteer interpreters. The demand for interpreters from the community was immediate and overwhelming. Within a year, requests for information and referral, interpreting, counseling, and employment assistance inundated the community college that the college asked NorCal to find its own office space.

The "founding members", with the help of many in the deaf community, established a Board of Directors for a non-profit organization that came to be called Northern California (NorCal) Center on Deafness. From this time and on, the governing Board had a majority of deaf individuals.

January 1978:
With funding awarded by the California Department of Rehabilitation that included a 20% cash match raised by tireless and dedicated board and community members, NorCal opened its doors in 1978 with seven paid staff positions and a small pool of freelance interpreters.

Demonstration Project 1978:
NorCal in conjunction with Greater Los Angeles (Council) Agency on Deafness [GLAD] and Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency [DCARA] began educating the California Legislature on the need for social services to be accessible to deaf people. This collaborative effort resulted in three-year funding from the Department of Social Services as a research and demonstration project.

The research project demonstrated that the most efficient and effective service delivery model for serving the deaf population was a community agency that incorporated an "of, by, and for the deaf" philosophy and provided direct, one-on-one services by people fluent in American Sign Language or the communication modes used by this population. This model continues to be used by NorCal today.

Deaf Access Assistance Law 1980:
The model project became law in 1980. Since this time, NorCal has competitively bid and contracted with the Department of Social Services, Office of Deaf Access to serve Northeastern California, which currently covers 24 counties. This law requires the provision of seven categories of mandated services: Communication Assistance, Information and Referral, Counseling, Independent Living Skills Instruction, Advocacy Assistance, Community Education, and Employment Assistance.
NorCal has been providing services to 24 northern California counties for over 40 years. Throughout this history, we have developed the knowledge and required service delivery models that have proven effective in serving the full range of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Staffing and program needs have been identified through the provision of services and feedback from consumer surveys and local Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Advisory Councils. However, due to funding limitations service locations are based on highest demand for services. The staffing structure currently utilized by NorCal in each service location optimizes funding availability in addressing the needs of the specific community. Staff positions are utilized to provide multiple services. When possible, additional funding is secured to expand or add services to address needs in the community. Our top priority needs are: Our top needs: 1. Funding: Program - Camp Grizzly for Deaf & Hard of Hearing: Help pay tuition for Deaf Campers $475/each. 2. Funding: Program - Senior Connections: Volunteers who use sign language for telephone outreach. 3. Funding: Program - DeafSafe Advocate volunteers who use sign language and funding $2,000: For interpreting, safe hotel stay, and per diem for survivors during emergencies. 4. Funding: Program - Employment Services for Deaf: $15,000 for Smartboard for webinars and workshops; overhead projectors and screens. 5. Funding: Program - Deaf Coaching Program: NorCal is developing a Deaf Coaching program for families of newly Deaf babies to receive hands on assistance from Deaf adult role models.
Our goal is to support Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals to live independent, productive and successful lives in all aspects of life.

NorCal Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (NorCal) is a non-profit, community based organization that serves a 24-county northeastern region with residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, deaf-blind, and developmentally disabled deaf children and adults, and their families. In addition, NorCal serves governmental entities, public service agencies, and businesses. NorCal's current operating budget of $3.5 million includes funding by a variety of government contracts, United Way, foundations, individual contributions, and fees for services. NorCal currently employs a staff of over 40, and provides services from five strategically located offices.

I am thankful to work with, and have a wonderful board and staff who are committed to seeing quality services with direct service staff able to communicate directly, one-on-one, with consumers in their preferred language (American Sign Language (ASL) or English - spoken or written) and/or communication mode. Accommodations for visitors or participants at board meetings are arranged upon request and include real-time captioning or voice interpreting into spoken English.

Come visit us at NorCal soon!

-- Warmly, Sheri A. Farinha, CEO