Giving Guide 2023: DePaul School

One hundred and fifteen years ago in a tiny house on Troy Hill in Pittsburgh, the doors of opportunity and success were opened to children who were deaf and hard of hearing who wished to listen and speak. More than a century later, thousands of children have walked through the doors of DePaul School for Hearing and Speech and left with a foundation of success for a listening and speaking world. While our doors are now in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood, the mission has remained the same: to provide listening and spoken language education to children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or with speech challenges. The mission of DePaul School is not just about education; it’s about empowerment, inclusion, and transforming lives.

Ninety-four percent of children who are deaf or hard of hearing are born to hearing families. Imagine not being able to hear your child say “I love you!” Fortunately, for families, children can begin receiving intervention as soon as possible in DePaul School’s Early Intervention Program. With early intervention and our literacy and language-intensive preschool, most of our students transition from DePaul School by kindergarten. 

Not all children, however, are diagnosed at birth. As the only Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) school in the tri-state area and one of the only LSL schools in the nation to serve children through 8th grade, DePaul School for Hearing and Speech has been a beacon of hope for 115 years. Families have traveled to Pittsburgh from places including California, Texas, Illinois, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Ukraine, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, India, Nepal, and Pakistan so their children can learn to speak confidently. 

DePaul School’s approach is distinctive, focusing on developing essential listening skills and spoken language abilities in children who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have severe speech delays. What sets DePaul apart is its commitment to enabling these children to transition successfully into their home school districts at the earliest possible age. Students not only receive the listening and spoken language skills needed for success in a world of sound, but DePaul School also fosters independence, confidence, and a sense of belonging for each child who walks through their doors.

While DePaul School receives partial funding through state subsidies, a significant portion of its budget relies on generous donations, grants, and endowments. This is where the community plays a pivotal role. Donations are not merely financial transactions; they are investments in the future of these children. They provide resources for specialized equipment, innovative teaching methods, and extracurricular activities, enhancing the overall learning experience.

DePaul School for Hearing and Speech is more than an educational institution; it’s a lifeline for children facing communication challenges and their families. Your donation is not just a gift; it’s a promise of a better tomorrow for these children, one where they can dream, learn, and thrive like every other child. By supporting DePaul School, you are contributing to a movement of inclusivity, understanding, and empowerment that will help these children reach their fullest potential.

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Story and Photography by DePaul School

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