Committed to the Cause
Lisa Hermatz Chahayed
Director of KODAWest, Lisa Hermatz Chahayed was born deaf and raised in Michigan, attended RIT/NTID where she graduated. She began acting and dancing, and eventually moved to Los Angeles, where she founded and directed the dance troupe, Prism West. She has worked in several productions at Deaf West Theatre, both as a thespian and an ASL master/coach. She earned a “Best Translation” nomination by the Los Angeles Ovation Awards, for her role as ASL Master in DWT's first ever musical, Oliver!. Her most recent works include Fountain Theatre's Arrival & Departure, and Sony Pictures' Baby Driver. For numerous years, Lisa instructed dance workshops to deaf and hearing children at the House Ear Institute’s annual Family Camp. She taught ASL and coordinated the TRIPOD Family Sign Program for ten years. Lisa is currently teaching ASL at Pierce College and Glendale Community College, and previously at John Burroughs High School in Burbank and The Country School. She served on the national board of Deaf Women United, and is currently on the ASLTA Conference 2019 planning committee. Seeing the gaping need for a program to serve not only the KODAs on the West Coast, but also the Deaf parents with hearing children, Lisa decided it was vital to establish an organization that focuses on those needs. Since the establishment of KODAWest, she has given presentations on KODA Teen Behavior, joined a committee which initiated liaisons made between the CODA International organization and KODA organizations of the world, and orchestrated the establishment of the Big CODA Little KODA program. Her team was recognized by the City of Los Angeles in 2009 & 2012 and awarded the John Bulwer Award by the National Center on Deafness in 2012. She is a proud mother of two CODA daughters, Monessa (25) and Linnea (23). She is excited to see that there are new establishments of KODA organizations both around and outside of the US.
Molly Bowen, daughter of Deaf parents, currently works at NorCal Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing for almost 20 years as a program manager. She is a nationally certified interpreter, Interpreter Mentor, Trainer, Community Educator and Camp Grizzly, a nationally recognized youth leadership program for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and KODA children.
Because of her own life experience living between two worlds she understands the unique needs hearing children of Deaf parents face and decided to work with KODAWest as their Camp Director for the last 14 years to develop a nationally recognized camp specifically designed only for hearing children of Deaf adults to gain better self-esteem, better understanding of themselves, pride in their bi-lingual and bi-cultural heritage so to better navigate their world with more awareness and appreciation for their gifts.
Molly, is also a mother of three bi-lingual adult children, lives with her life partner Mark and her father in beautiful northern California. She enjoys traveling, skiing, snorkeling, house boating, camping, fishing, reading, theatre, attending cultural events and performing sign-music for fun.