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Bringing Deaf and Hearing Worlds Together

WHOLE ME, Inc. was founded in 2003 in response to families looking for an after-school enrichment program that was accessible to deaf and hard of hearing children. Although there are several wonderful after-school programs in Central New York, none of them use sign language as the primary mode of communication. Children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing often feel left out, but this is not the case at WHOLE ME! All of our programs are bilingual, using both American Sign Language (ASL) and English, and bi-cultural,  celebrating both Deaf & Hearing culture.


WHOLE ME is proud to be the only organization in Central New York to provide after school activities that are creative and fun in a safe learning environment fully accessible for deaf/hard-of-hearing children, their siblings and their families!

Since our inception we have continued to expand our educational programs and social services which are designed to promote the success of Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing individuals and families in the areas of communication,

self-sufficiency, education and employment.

  Did you know...

  • There is a difference between Deaf and deaf? "D" Deaf refers to a cultural group of individuals and "d" deaf refers to the medical condition of an individuals hearing status. 

  • The term "Hearing Impaired" is not always the politically correct way to refer to a person. On August 24, 2018 New York State became the third US State to remove this term from state law published documents. It has been replaced by the term "deaf or hard-of-hearing".  

  • American Sign Language is a "real" language with its own grammatical structure.

  • Approximately 90% of deaf children are born into hearing families who have never met a deaf person before and consequently have no knowledge of sign language or Deaf Culture.

  • Only 10% of these families learn how to communicate with their child using American Sign Language. 




"We were excited to support this program because of the vast impact it is having on children and their families in the community."

Danielle Gill,
CNY Community Foundation

Rosie Yaichuk,

"It gives us a chance to connect with other families who have experienced the same thing and to connect to the Deaf community."

Cecelia Clark,
Youth Enrichment Program Director

"I attended the After-School Program myself from third grade until high school and directly felt the impact it had on my own life."

Jacqueline Hayslip-Cannon
Habilitation Specialist, Elmcrest Children's Center

"WHOLE ME, Inc programs offer great support to their clients. Joelene has helped me tremendously with creating a more professional style resume, aid with obtaining listening devices services and forthcoming with information to help me obtain government medical and disability services

"As well, Joelene offered me some great insight into today's job market effective interviewing, and how to be an effective worker with a disability using assistive listening devices (including video phoning, ntouch application). I am employed full-time now.

I highly recommend this program for people with hearing impairments/loss. Thank you Joelene and WHOLE ME, Inc. for all your help! Hope to be a help to you and your program someday."


The agency was formally established in 2003 by four individuals, experienced in the development and needs of Deaf and hard-of-hearing children and who volunteered to set a strong foundation for WMI to grow and provide services using their own resources to foster independence, self-sufficiency and eventual employability for Deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

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