Deaf Mentor Program


Imagine not knowing how to communicate with your child: not knowing what they want or need, not being able to reassure them with language. Research shows a child’s natural ability to develop language is strongest during the first years of life and families are their primary source of language. Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing children face immediate, significant barriers to communication in their daily interactions with family members, friends, and others.

Oftentimes, the first Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing person a family has met is their own child. They are overwhelmed and at a loss about what to do and how to best support their child. With your donation, Youth and Family Connections can connect these families with a Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing Mentor who will answer their questions and provide an array of support services.

Our trained Mentors work one-on-one in the home and community with families to provide family-centered support, advocacy, and community resources and guide the family to achieve full potential within both hearing and Deaf communities. While our Deaf Mentors are fluent in American Sign Language, we will support families in any mode of communication that they choose for their child.

Your donation helps Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing children and their families learn and thrive as they are faced with new challenges. Sponsor a family today!

Meet Skylar & Dawn

Sometimes the biggest triumphs come in the smallest packages. Skylar is a sweet, affable 6-year-old who loves learning and playing sports with his friends. When he grows up, Skylar wants to be a doctor and “a computer man!” And because of supporters like you, Skylar has the resources he needs to achieve his dreams.

“Skylar is an amazing kid to be around,” Dawn, Skylar’s mom, shares. When Skylar was three, he had to take a hearing test for one of his programs. He failed. Twice. Further tests at the hospital confirmed that Skylar had hearing loss. “I was heartbroken,” Dawn said. Coincidentally, Dawn already knew some ASL. But when it came to her own child, Dawn wanted to make sure he had the best resources possible.

Soon after learning about Skylar’s hearing loss, Dawn discovered the Youth Connections Program at CHS. CHS connected Dawn with a Deaf mentor who provided resources for the whole family. Skylar’s mentor, Elle, made a huge impact. Elle not only made learning ASL fun, but she also “really helped reduce frustration by giving Skylar words and signs to use to communicate.” At the same time, Elle bonded with Skylar’s family. Years later, Dawn and Skylar still exude joy when they see Elle. It is a true connection that will last a lifetime.

Today, Skylar lives his life just like any other child. He keeps busy at school with his friends, and he loves playing soccer with his mom. What could have been a setback became an advantage—Skylar is bilingual! This is all thanks to Skylar’s family’s dedication and CHS’s expertise. There is no other agency in Chicago—or even Illinois—that does the kind of work we do. Please consider making a difference by donating today.

Dawn and Skylar’s Video Story: Learn More!

Thank you “Deaf Mentor Program” Partners:

Want more information on the CHS Deaf Mentor Program? Request a Mentor for your Family?

We can help! Email:, or give us a call at (773) 248-9121 ext. 257,

Mobile/Text (312) 523-6400, or Videophone (773) 904-0143.