Get to Know the Outreach Team at Pennsylvania Relay

Author

Pennsylvania Relay

For more information about the author, click to view their website: https://hamiltonrelay.com/pennsylvania/index.html

Posted on

Mar 05, 2024

Book/Edition

Pennsylvania - Greater Pittsburgh Area

Pennsylvania (PA) Relay is a free public service that provides telecommunication solutions to citizens who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind, or who have difficulty speaking. With support from PA Relay, these individuals can place and receive calls through assistive services and technology. PA Relay has a team of outreach coordinators who visit various communities throughout the state to bring more awareness to this valuable service. Outreach coordinators connect with potential PA Relay users, their loved ones, and community members and inform them about the available solutions that could help them, or someone they know, communicate more efficiently and effectively.  

PA Relay’s outreach coordinators Jenny Pearson and Thadeus Graham took some time to answer important questions about the free public service and their roles on the outreach team to help people understand how they can benefit from PA Relay services and the educational opportunities available through the outreach program. Keep reading to get to know your outreach coordinators!


What are the responsibilities of your role as an outreach coordinator?

Jenny: As an outreach coordinator, my main focus is educating Pennsylvania residents and businesses about the services provided by PA Relay and how those services work. It’s my pleasure to travel throughout the state educating people about PA Relay’s services and how businesses and organizations can benefit from using PA Relay to connect with potential clients who use accessible telecommunications to conduct business. To do this, the outreach team exhibits at community events, gives educational presentations to local organizations, and provides training to businesses and organizations.  

 

Thadeus: I educate people about PA Relay as well as assist people in gaining access to the free public service. As an outreach coordinator my role is to both assist our relay users as well as introduce people who could benefit from the service to PA Relay. I answer questions, help with equipment installations, provide a point of contact for our users, host presentations, or attend expos and health fairs to make sure everyone is aware of the services that are available to them.

 

How can PA Relay’s services help people stay connected, and how do you help people learn more about these specific services?

Jenny: In presenting this information at public and private events, the outreach team can inform people on how these services work and why they are important for accessibility and facilitation of communication for people of all abilities.  

 

Thadeus: PA Relay’s services help people stay connected by returning independence and autonomy to our users. It empowers people who are deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing, or who have speech differences to connect to standard telephone users directly through their adaptive equipment. I help people learn about these services through a variety of methods.

 

What kind of events do you attend as an outreach coordinator?

Jenny: Some types of events the outreach team attends could be health fairs, senior expos, state and local fairs, church groups, chamber of commerce events, conferences, and virtual presentations.  

 

Thadeus: I will attend any event that will have me and that will have a meaningful impact for my fellow Pennsylvania residents. I attend health fairs, senior expos, and host presentations at local organizations. I also work with community leaders to schedule town hall events or even host awareness nights at local sporting events. I’ve met with PA Relay users in their homes to help them with their adaptive equipment on a more personal level.

 

What has been one of your favorite events that you’ve attended as an outreach coordinator? What made it so memorable?

Jenny: I have been an outreach coordinator for six years and have experienced so many amazing events and interactions. Some of my favorite events involve educating seniors and their caregivers about PA Relay and how we can help maintain connections between those who use traditional telephone services and those who use relay services. Hearing loss is a common experience among those who are aging, and to be able to provide these folks with a solution like Voice Carry-Over or Captioned Telephone is incredibly rewarding, especially when they share their experiences with me. 


Thadeus: My first ever presentation will always be etched into my mind. It was a cold December morning just north of Philadelphia. I had just presented to a group of seniors about PA Relay. After the presentation I helped a few of them download and set up the Hamilton Mobile™️ CapTel® App on their phones. The joy they had calling each other and using their new adaptive technology made me realize how much of a difference this can truly make for people. I was hooked on wanting to help as many people as possible after that day.


Do you offer educational presentations about PA Relay to local organizations?

Jenny: Yes, we do! We provide presentations throughout the state, both in person and virtually. Some of the types of organizations we educate are service providers, health professionals, retirement communities, Deaf and Hard of Hearing support groups and organizations, local businesses and agencies, sporting groups, and church gatherings. All of our presentations are always no cost and can be scheduled at the organizations’ convenience.  

 

Topics discussed during our presentations are general information about PA Relay, types of services provided and how they work, and how to use the service. The topics can certainly be customized based on the organization. For example, a group may be interested in services for those who are living with hearing loss, so we can tailor our presentation to address those specific services.


Thadeus: PA Relay offers a variety of training as well as educational preparations to any interested organization across the Commonwealth. We can also provide training to organizations on how to properly handle relay calls. The Relay Friendly Business Training helps organizations identify relay calls and trains staff on how to properly handle these types of calls.

During these presentations we discuss everything from the history of relay services to the different types of services. We discuss PA Captioned Telephone Relay Service and how to acquire adaptive equipment either through the state’s equipment distribution program, TechOWL, or other means. The topics and timeframe can be customized to meet the needs of the organization.

 

Is there anything else about your role as an outreach coordinator that you’d like people to know?

Jenny: As an outreach coordinator, the most important thing I do is connect people to resources they can use to make life a bit easier. Often, I present information to people who do not need PA Relay’s services, but they know someone who does. When this happens, it’s so rewarding to hear how they will share what they’ve learned from me with those who really need assistance making and receiving calls. This ensures that connections remain strong, and people are able to live life as independently as possible.   

Thadeus: The biggest thing I would like people to know is just how life-changing these services are. Even if you’re not someone who could use PA Relay, it’s likely that someone you know could greatly benefit from the service.

 

How can an interested individual or organization reach you?

Jenny: To learn more about PA Relay, feel free to email me at Jenny.Pearson@HamiltonRelay.com or call 610-737-7205! 

Thadeus: The best way to get in touch would be by emailing Thadeus.Graham@HamiltonRelay.com, or I am available by phone at 412-944-7424.

 

FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS ANYONE BUT REGISTERED USERS WITH HEARING LOSS FROM USING INTERNET PROTOCOL (IP) CAPTIONED TELEPHONES WITH THE CAPTIONS TURNED ON. Advanced speech recognition software is used to process calls, and, in certain circumstances, a live communications assistant may be included on the call. There is a cost for each minute of captions generated, paid from a federally administered fund. To learn more, visit fcc.gov. Third-party charges may apply: the Hamilton CapTel phone requires high-speed internet access (Wi-Fi capable) and in some cases, may require telephone service. When using Hamilton CapTel on a smartphone or tablet and not on Wi-Fi, a data plan is required. Hamilton CapTel may be used to make 911 calls but may not function the same as traditional 911 services. For more information about the benefits and limitations of Hamilton CapTel and Emergency 911 calling, visit HamiltonCapTel.com/911. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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Hearing Services & Resources PO Box 3265, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17105

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