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Don’t Hang Up! Campaign

Initiatives in Alaska, Minnesota and South Dakota are underway to inform local area businesses that when they receive a relay call, it is a legitimate deaf or hard of hearing consumer calling. This awareness campaign was put in place to stop businesses from prematurely disconnecting on their relay callers.

The following information is being made available to relay users, so they know what to do next time they are hung up on:

“Many people don't understand relay. They aren't aware of what a relay call is, which means they sometimes mistake a relay call for a telemarketing call. So they hang up.

South Dakota Relay is trying to decrease the frequency of hang ups by people who are unfamiliar with relay, by increasing awareness with the general public.

The best way to reduce hang ups, especially by businesses, is to identify the businesses that are hanging up and educate them about relay.

When you experience a hang up on a relay call, fill out the form online ( South Dakota Relay outreach will contact the business to educate them about relay.

Another thing that may be helpful is requesting a change in the way your relay calls are announced. Instead of the standard greeting ‘This is Relay South Dakota ...’ ask the CA to begin the call with ‘This is a customer of your business calling through South Dakota Relay,’ or ‘This is [your name] calling through South Dakota Relay.’ This type of greeting will often reduce hang ups.

Whatever your experience with hang ups during relay calls, please let us know what's happening. Your feedback helps us educate businesses so they won't hang up on relay.”

Race for the Cure Team: Deaf Bras

The deaf community and CSD staff in Sioux Falls, S.D. joined the 19th Annual Race for the Cure sponsored by Avera Health on Saturday, May 12. The “Deaf Bras” team included CSD employees, deaf community members, their friends, families and children. While the humorous team name and pink bra signs drew second glances from the other 3,700 participants, the mission of the all the walkers and runners was very serious — to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. Many honored their moms, sisters, grandmas, aunts, cousins and friends by wearing their names on their shirts.

In the United States alone, there are over two million women living with breast cancer. After lung cancer, it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. According to the American Cancer Society, over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 40,000 women die from the disease each year.

One of the messages Ben Soukup, CSD chief executive officer, communicates to his nationwide team is the responsibility of becoming a strong “corporate citizen.” This means improving the community in which you live, working together with different races, cultures, and disability groups to make the world in which we all live in a better place. This is one of the reasons why so many CSD staff members participated in this important event.

Deaf community member, Jacqueline Westover, a seven year survivor, said it was her fifth race. “I’m thrilled we broke the record of participants this year! I hope we get 4,000 next year!” said Westover. Asked why she has participated in the race, she said, “Good question — I guess it’s mostly because it is a spiritual experience to be with so many other breast cancer survivors. My life has greater meaning, I am stronger, more accepting and appreciate life more. The community support and number of donations is truly wonderful.” This year, the Avera Race for the Cure raised over $275,000 to support breast cancer research and services for the community.

“It was a great way to start the day with family and friends,” said CSD staffer Kim Barron. “We are already thinking and planning ahead for next year’s race.”

For more information on breast cancer, go to

Camp Lakodia Hosts May 19 Events to Benefit Deaf Youth

Camp Lakodia hosted two events on Saturday May 19. CSD held its second annual Camp Lakodia Poker Run which started in Sioux Falls, SD. The weather was beautiful, and the bikers stopped in the towns of Colton, Dell Rapids, Flandreau, Chester and finally at Camp Lakodia, in Madison.

The number of registered participants doubled from last year’s event and many people made donations to the camp as well. At the end of the run, participants enjoyed refreshments and music in the Camp Dining Hall. Several bikers had never seen Camp Lakodia before and marveled at the beauty of the location and the cabins. Those who had seen the camp during its 4-H years were stunned at the extent of the renovations.

Prizes were awarded for the best and worst poker hands of the evening, as well as for the “best-dressed biker.” Plans are already underway for next year’s event.

The second event was the first ever Spring Fest for the Madison, S.D. community, including the deaf and hard of hearing community which was attended by approximately 350 people attended the event, including 108 children, who enjoyed playing on an assortment of inflatable rides, provided at a discount by the Keller Fun Company. The inflatable rides were also sponsored by these local businesses: Prostrollo's All-American Auto Mall, Dairy Queen, Montgomery Furniture, Jubilee Foods, Kiwanis Club, 2nd Street Diner, F & M Coop, Madison Police Department/Dare Program and Interlakes Sports Center. The two other sponsors were from Sioux Falls, the Dollar Loan Center and South Dakota Association for the Deaf. The Lake County Sheriff and Lake County Search & Rescue also brought their vehicles for "show and tell."

The proceeds from the event are earmarked for the Frank R. Turk Scholarship Fund, a fund that helps deaf youth campers with financial needs attend the National Literacy and Leadership Camp.

Deaf Advocacy Training Project Update

The Deaf Advocacy Training (DAT) project was created to develop and implement a nationwide advocacy education project as a resource for the national hearing loss community who utilize sign language interpreters for communication access purposes.

CSD was awarded the initial phase of the project. Phase one, called "Identifying Effective Practices Related to Enhancing the Deaf Community's Ability to Self-Advocate for Their Rights to Communication Access," is a data collection project in which CSD and project partners across the nation will gather information through a comprehensive needs assessment procedure.

To that end, CSD developed a survey available on their Web site, and has been taking completed surveys from deaf individuals since March 15. Larry Puthoff, CSD director of Organizational Relations and DAT project leader, has given a brief update on the survey.

Since the launch of the survey, what kind of feedback are you getting from the deaf community? Since March 15, we have been getting a good number of responses. The feedback we been getting has been positive, meaning people basically have been saying they think it’s a good survey. I have been getting e-mail messages from a few people asking how they can help us get the survey out to members of the Deaf community.

What is the goal of the DAT Survey? The purpose of this nationwide survey focuses on deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people who use sign language and sign language interpreting services. This survey is part of the community needs assessment for the Deaf Advocacy Training project. The information gathered from this survey will help develop a self advocacy training tool for consumers who use sign language and interpreting services.

Why is it important for deaf people to take the survey? It is important for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people to take this survey because it will give us a much better idea of what kind of self-advocacy training tool needs to be develop for consumers who use sign language and interpreting services. By answering the survey questions, they will provide information about their knowledge and experience related to their rights to communication access, interpreters, self-advocacy and the best methods for them to receive training.

Why was the survey developed in ASL? So we can reach out to as many deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people as possible. The survey was developed in ASL for those whose first language is ASL.

Where can people take the survey? Go to and click on the DAT survey icon, or go directly to this link:

CSD Will Appear At…
South Dakota Association of the Deaf Convention Madison, SD July 21-24
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference San Francisco August 3-7