DeafBlind Support and Access Network

Connecting the community by providing better access.

Supporting community growth and awareness.

Who We Are

DeafBlind Support and Access Meeting (DBSAM) was established in April 2020 as a support group after the COVID-19 pandemic caused everything to shut down and enforced social distancing. As the country shut down, new social distancing rules were implemented, and we, the DeafBlind community were left feeling isolated and alone. As a group who primarily relies on touch for communication, we felt disconnected from each other whicht went beyond touch.

This support group became a way for the DeafBlind to re-connect with each other to share information related to the DeafBlind community in general as well as the pandemic while providing moral support for each other. We try our best, to find ways to provide access despite the limited resources.

In 2021, DBSAM is now ready to undergo its journey to becoming a nonprofit organization as the DeafBlind Support and Access Network (DBSAN).

Videos

Meet the Board

Jesse Stanley
(President)

Jesse Stanley was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he attended a Deaf school's mainstream program. He later moved to Connecticut and got involved in the DeafBlind community there. He is a DeafBlind leader and accessibility advocate, has been doing workshops around New England to expose and educate people about DeafBlindhood and DeafBlind culture. He teaches people that work with DeafBlind, the importance of touch and how to communicate using it. He is the camp director of an ASL immersion camp in RI for adults, and has been working on including more DeafBlind related workshops in the camp as well as encouraging more DeafBlind people to attend. He works at the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in West Hartford, CT, where he works as a teacher’s aide; and advocates accessibility for DeafBlind and visually impaired students. He organizes events in the community to encourage people to learn more ProTactile, as well as mentoring interpreters that have attended the DeafBlind Interpreting Institute (DBII), and other interpreters that want to learn about working with DeafBlind. Jesse is on the board for American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB) and chairs the committee to set up a national conference in 2023. He is one of the founders of DeafBlind Support and Access Network (DBSAN).

Image Description: Jesse with short brown hair, short facial hair, with a big smile.

Lisa
(Vice President)

Lisa Flaherty-Vaughn grew up in Massachusetts near Boston. She is a graduate of The Learning Center for the Deaf and Marie Phillp School. Lisa attended Gallaudet University from 1984 to 1989 and worked for different schools for the Deaf in Washington, DC, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Vermont, and Maine as a teacher aide and supervisor.

Currently, Lisa works at DeafBlind Advocacy and Assistance in the diverse DeafBlind community. Lisa is the President for DeafBlind Association of Connecticut. She is involved with several boards: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Board, DeafBlind Advisory Committee under the Bureau of Education and Service for the Blind, and the American Association for DeafBlind. Lisa is also a Representative for Deaf Grassroot Movement of CT.

Her passion is advocating and educating sighted people. Her vision is to see improved communication access and support systems to use DBSAN for the DeafBlind community. "Unity is strength."

Image Description: Lisa with short curly brown hair, brown framed glasses, smiling.

Patrick Vellia
(Treasurer)

Patrick was born and raised on Long Island in New York. After graduating mainstream high school in 2006 he moved to North Carolina where he graduated from Gardner-Webb University with a BA in American Sign Language and a minor in Business Administration. Patrick has completed two half Ironman races to date and now lives in Minnesota since 2019.

Image Description: Patrick with long brown hair hanging past right shoulder, wearing a black shirt and standing in front of wood panels, smiling.

Jenny Baylor
(Secretary)

Jenny Baylor is from Massachusetts and has been involved with the Boston-area DeafBlind community for about 15 years as a volunteer Support Service Provider (SSP). She is a certified special education teacher who taught for over 10 years prior to going back to college for interpreting. As a teacher, she worked with students who had a wide range of special educational needs, including students who were deafblind with multiple disabilities. She has worked in various capacities for schools, residential programs, recreational programs, camps, and providing home services. All of these valuable experiences have inspired in her a passion for working with and supporting children (including those who are deafblind) and their families, and also for being involved in the DeafBlind community. Jenny is currently in the last semester of her interpreter training program, and she hopes to work in the future as an interpreter with the DeafBlind community. She is thankful to all the DeafBlind individuals she has had the privilege of knowing (children and adults), all of whom have taught her so much, and she looks forward to continuing to learn and grow and develop her interpreting skills. Jenny is happy to be Secretary of DBSAN and excited to be a part of what this organization will accomplish and achieve.

Image Description: close-up photo of Jenny, smiling warmly, looking upward and to the side, with her hair pulled back in a braid draped over her shoulder, wearing a black top and a dangling silver earring; background is a blur of lights and colors.

Jennifer Stanley
(Member at Large)

Jennifer Stanley grew up in Westerly, Rhode Island. She is one of the founders of Rhode IslanD Silent Camp, a total immersion camp for adults learning sign language. She works at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut, where she works with Deaf and DeafBlind students. Jen has been involved with the DeafBlind community for several years.

Image Description: White woman with short brown hair, wearing a navy blue shirt, smiling at camera, standing against light gray house siding