INSPIRING & BEAUTIFUL WHILE HELPING SO MANY IN NEED WITH HER FOUNDATION
AURORA–Through the years, Theressa has met a lot of celebrities, business leaders and influencers; however, no one has inspired her more than the Coordinator of Senior and Disability Services for the City of Aurora, Katrina Boatright, who brings local agencies and residents together and makes it her business to hear complaints, implement programs and effectuate real change.
This fully aligns with Theressa’s belief system and the core reason as to why she founded the Deaf Welcome Foundation in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) Organization for Sign Language TV, Media, Music, Ministry & Film.
“My goal is and has always been to ensure the Deaf have equal access to products, services and amenities,” she says. “I set up supportive services to negate the linguistic encumbrances.”
In 2022, Theressa launched the Deaf Welcome TV Network, on Roku, along with the Deaf Welcome TV mobile app for On Demand.
“Deaf inclusive TV programs allow for signers and non-signers to enjoy entertainment together,” she adds. “We have new shows coming, but already have more than 14,000 downloads!”
Theressa loves bridging the gap between Deaf Culture and the hearing world.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to equip businesses and organizations with Deaf-inclusive commercials and other resources and watch them make Deaf Welcome. It’s an even better feeling when I see Deaf consumers enjoy linguistic freedom, independence, added security and respect.”
Always expanding her reach, Deaf Welcome is now open in Fox Valley Mall offering
Sign Language classes for store owners and employees, as well as shoppers who stop in everyday!
Theressa is constantly immersing herself in the community and also joined Home Care ensuring deaf and hard-of-hearing seniors have access to companion care, personal care and skilled nursing from those who sign or utilize virtual interpreters.
In the rare moments she can relax, Theressa enjoys the Naperville Riverwalk, Suzette’s in Wheaton, cardio drumming at her local gym, and sign dancing! -Kristen Kucharski, Photos Submitted