Committed to the Cause
Lisa Hermatz Chahayed
Lisa Hermatz Chahayed, currently teaching American Sign Language at L.A. Pierce College & California State University, Northridge, is a co-founder and director of KODAWest. A deaf mother of two hearing girls, realized there was a need for a program for Kids of Deaf Adults in her area, since the one on the East Coast was unavailable to support her daughters. Seeing the gaping need for a program to serve not only the KODAs on the West Coast, but also for 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 (28) and Linnea (26). 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 25 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.