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.
History of DCARA
An all-volunteer group of deaf leaders 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 (1964 – 1966).
501(c)(3) status granted
East Bay Counseling and Referral Agency, Inc. is granted 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit agency by the Internal Revenue Service. The first office is opened in Berkeley.
Margaret Irwin volunteered as the next Executive Director (1966 – 1975).
The DCARA Bookstore is established, selling literature related to sign language and deafness.
Mary Ann Cardiff
Mary Ann Cardiff becomes the first paid Executive Director (1975 – 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.
Young Adult Program
Department of Health funding is received for a Young Adult Program.
Patrick Walsh starts as Executive Director (1976 – 1977).
Debby Buchan becomes the Acting Executive Director (1976 – 1977).
Bay Area Center for Law and the Deaf
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.
Comprehensive Interpreting Pool Program
DCARA establishes possibly the first interpreting business, Comprehensive Interpreting Pool Program.
Glenn Goldberg becomes the Executive Director (1977 – 1980).
California Department of Social Services
With funding from the California Department of Social Services- 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.
“Of, By and For the Deaf.”
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.
Betty Miller serves as Executive Director (June 1980 – February 11, 1981).
Debby Buchan becomes Acting Director (June 1980 – August 1981).
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.
San Mateo Office
DCARA opens an outreach office in San Mateo (Closed in the early 1990’s.)
Jack Levesque becomes Executive Director (August 1981 – October 14, 1997).
DCARA establishes administrative headquarters in San Leandro.
Deafened Adult Program
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.
Coutroom Sign Language Interpreters
DCARA and CalCLAD champions legislation to require provision of sign language interpreters in all California coutrooms.
Deaf Women’s Conference
DCARA is instrumental in establishing the first Deaf Women’s Conference.
Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department (EDD) contractual relationship begins, with (as of 2003) offices in Fremont, Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa.
Deaf Latino/Foreign Born Program
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.
Deaf Gay and Lesbian Center
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.
Deaf Community Center
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.
Headquarters moves to a former bank office building in San Leandro, CA.
Gerri Healy becomes Acting Executive Director (October 15, 1997 – September 15, 1998).
Robert Roth begins working as Chief Executive Officer of DCARA (September 16, 1998 – July 7, 2005).
DCARA expands services to California’s North Coast community with offices in Eureka and Ukiah.
Deaf Women Against Violence
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.
Deaf Store Goes Online
The Deaf Store goes online, allowing customers worldwide access to its books, videos, and specialized items.
Thanksgiving Feast Expanded
DCARA’s annual Thanksgiving Feast is expanded to Eureka, San Jose, and Santa Rosa offices.
DCARA begins a program for deaf and hard of hearing teens, including monthly get-togethers and graduation party for high school seniors.
Parent Link Program
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. This program is now known as Family Connections.
DCARA celebrates its 40th Anniversary at the Argent Hotel with guests Deanne Bray and Troy Kotsur.
Jim Brune takes the helm as Interim CEO (July 8, 2005 – April 15 2007).
DCARA announces Diana Herron as new CEO of DCARA (April 16, 2007 – June 27, 2008).
DCARA announces Jim Brune as new Executive Director of DCARA (June 30, 2008 – August 1, 2014).
DCC’s 20th Anniversary
Deaf Community Center celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Deborah O’Willow becomes Interim Executive Director (August 4, 2014 – Dec 31, 2015).
Robert “Rob” I. Roth becomes Interim Executive Director (Jan 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016).
Raymond Rodgers is announced as the new Executive Director (June 1, 2016 to Present).