In the early 1960's, a group of deaf leaders began DCARA as an all-volunteer agency. Working with other members of the California Association of the Deaf, local churches, and the deaf community, this dedicated group created an agency that would provide interpreting referrals, children's reading assistance, foster parent programs and social activities for deaf seniors. It was incorporated in 1962 as a non-profit agency, under the name of East Bay Counseling and Referral Agency, Inc. (EBCRAD). From meetings in basements, kitchens, and garages of deaf people, the agency grew to be the multi-office agency it is today. In 1976, EBCRAD changed its name to Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency (DCARA) so that the most important word in the name, "deaf," would be listed alphabetically in the telephone directory. In 1978, DCARA was chosen to be part of a test project to prove that agencies serving deaf could and should be run "Of, By and For the Deaf." The success of that project led to the formation of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Deaf Access Office. We have continued to operate under this philosophy.
An all-volunteer group of deaf leaders wanted to improve the quality of life for deaf people founded East Bay Counseling and Referral Agency for the Deaf (EBCRAD). The first Board members were George Attletweed, Leo Jacobs, Ralph Jordan, Emil Ladner, Ralph Neesam and Hal Ramger. Hal Norton and Dean Swaim joined them in 1965. Ralph Jordan volunteered as the first Executive Director, from 1964 to 1966.
DCARA is granted 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit agency by the Internal Revenue Service. Margaret Irwin becomes Executive Director. The first office is opened in Berkeley.
The DCARA Bookstore is established, selling literature related to sign language and deafness.
Mary Ann Cardiff becomes the first paid Executive Director. Department of Health funding is received for a Young Adult Program.
Patrick Walsh starts as Executive Director. DCARA moves to Oakland.
Glen Goldberg becomes the Executive Director and serves until 1980. DCARA establishes the Bay Area Center for Law and the Deaf, committed to the protection and advancement of the legal rights of D/HH people in Bay Area (now called California Center on Law and the Deaf, having become a separate non-profit agency in 1986). DCARA establishes possibly the first interpreting business, Comprehensive Interpreting Pool Program.
With funding for a two-year demonstration project from the California Department of Social Services to determine if an "of, by and for" philosophy can better serve the deaf community, DCARA expands its services to include communication assistance (including relay services and interpreting), counseling, advocacy, independent living skills, information & referral, employment, and community education. DCARA opens additional offices in Fremont and San Jose.
Betty Miller serves as Executive Director. Funding for services for the deaf and hard of hearing becomes a line item in the state budget as a result of the demonstration project. DCARA opens an outreach office in San Mateo where it remained until it closed in the early 1990's.
Jack Levesque becomes Executive Director. DCARA establishes administrative headquarters in San Leandro. Deafened Adult Program established to provide services and programs for those deafened later in life.
The Bookstore is renamed Deaf Store and begins selling videotapes, deaf-related novelties, and signaling and assistive devices, in addition to books. A Thanksgiving Feast is offered free to low-income clients and senior citizens for the first time in San Leandro, and becomes an annual event.
DCARA and CalCLAD champions legislation to require provision of sign language interpreters in all California coutrooms. DCARA is instrumental in establishing the first Deaf Women's Conference.
Employment Development Department (EDD) contractual relationship begins, with (as of 2003) offices in Fremont, Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa.
DCARA establishes the Deaf Latino/Foreign Born Program in San Jose.
Deaf House, a transitional housing program for homeless deaf people, is established in Hayward.
DCARA establishes the Deaf Gay and Lesbian Center (DGLC) in San Francisco. It was and is the first and only such center in the nation.
DCARA, with financial assistance from the East Bay Club for the Deaf, purchases the Deaf Community Center property. An old garage is converted into a multi-purpose room, and the Deaf Store moves into the house.
Robert Roth begins working as Chief Executive Officer of DCARA.
DCARA expands services to California's North Coast community with offices in Eureka and Ukiah. (The Ukiah office has since moved to Santa Rosa.)
DCARA helps establish Deaf Women Against Violence (DWAV), which has gone on to form a separate nonprofit agency to serve the needs of D/HH victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The Deaf Store goes online, allowing customers worldwide access to its books, videos, and specialized items. DCARA's annual Thanksgiving Feast is expanded to Eureka, San Jose, and Santa Rosa offices.
In collaboration with the California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, DCARA establishes the Parent Link Program, providing much needed counseling and information & referral to parents of newly identified deaf and hard of hearing babies in all 14 countries. DCARA begins a program for deaf and hard of hearing teens, including monthly get-togethers and graduation party for high school seniors.
DCARA celebrates its 40th Anniversary at the Argent Hotel with guests Deanne Bray and Troy Kotsur.
Jim Brune takes the helm as Interim CEO in July, while DCARA searches for Rob Roth's replacement.
DCARA announces Diana Herron as new CEO of DCARA in March. Diana Herron officially assumes duty as DCARA's new CEO on April 16th.
DCARA announces Jim Brune as new Executive Director of DCARA. Jim Brune officially assumes duty as DCARA's new ED on June 29th.