Rotary Cheshire Homes

Rotary Cheshire Homes

May 23, 2013 09:05 ET

June Is Deaf-Blind Awareness Month

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 23, 2013) - Rotary Cheshire Homes (RCH) and the Canadian Helen Keller Centre (CHKC) are proud to present the 11th annual JuneFest, an awareness festival that recognizes and celebrates June as Deaf-Blind Awareness Month in Ontario. This year's event is on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at Mel Lastman Square in Toronto.

Starting at 11:30 a.m. and throughout the day, there will be information booths hosted by various organizations and agencies to raise awareness about the dual disability of deaf-blindness, the latest technology and devices, and the services and resources that are available.

The public, local business community and media are invited to attend JuneFest with friends, families and colleagues to learn about deaf-blindness while enjoying music, a charity barbeque, games and activities, free samples and more.

Over 200 students in grades four through eight from across the Greater Toronto Area will participate in JuneFest this year. Youth-oriented programs and games will provide the students with opportunities to read Braille, learn other alternate forms of communication and interact with people who are deaf-blind. They will also enjoy a performance by the award-winning singer-songwriter Ivy James, recently named Best Young Songwriter by the Toronto Independent Music Awards.


Think about all of the information we inadvertently receive through our eyes and ears on a daily basis. Whether it is news on the radio, conversations with neighbours, headlines at a newsstand, or reports of stormy weather - these seemingly incidental bits of information, which most of us take for granted, are out of reach for a person living with deaf-blindness.

June is celebrated around the world as Deaf-Blind Awareness Month, marking the birth month of Helen Keller, unquestionably the most famous person who was deaf-blind. Helen Keller's journey is an inspiring story, which took her from silence and darkness to a life of vision and advocacy. She waged a seemingly impossible battle to re-enter the world she had lost, and through her actions and achievements, Helen Keller is recognized as one of the most powerful symbols of triumph over adversity.

Many people are familiar with the story of Helen Keller, but unaware that her disability is still all too real for an estimated 15,500 Canadians who are deaf-blind, with many living in Toronto.

One of those individuals is Cyril Cassell. Cyril is deaf and blind and lives independently at the Rotary Cheshire Apartments. Retired after many years in the workforce, Cyril now pursues training at CHKC where he has studied Braille, participated in a deaf-blind cooking club, and learned how to use a computer so he can continue to reach out and communicate with the world around him. Through hard work and strength of purpose, Cyril is meeting the challenges of living a life without sight or sound and is part of a group of determined deaf-blind individuals trying to do the same. Cyril and many others in the deaf-blind community will be in attendance at JuneFest 2013, as will spokespeople from service provider organizations RCH and CHKC.

WHAT: JuneFest - an annual awareness festival recognizing and celebrating Deaf-Blind Awareness Month in Ontario.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Mel Lastman Square
5100 Yonge Street at North York Centre subway


Rotary Cheshire Homes (RCH) operates North America's only barrier-free independent living residence with intervenor services for people who are deaf-blind. RCH tenants are active adults and seniors who live independently in their apartments. RCH also provides case management, outreach and emergency intervenor services.

Intervenors are professionally trained to provide auditory and visual information to people who are deaf-blind. Acting as the eyes and ears, an intervenor provides complete information of the environment and surrounding circumstances to the person who is deaf-blind who is unable to attain this information for him or herself because of a dual sensory loss. Intervenors also act as interpreter-guides. By using various modes of communication, they provide opportunities for people who are deaf-blind to gain independence, pursue goals, have control their lives and interact with the environment.

Additional information is available at


The Canadian Helen Keller Centre (CHKC) is the only residential training centre in Canada for people who have become deaf-blind. CHKC was developed to fulfill the unmet needs of the deaf-blind community by providing training in independent living skills, communication, computers, and other activities of daily living. Additional information is available at

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