With Ken Martin

GREAT EVENT, GREAT ENTERTAINMENT: I have finally had the opportunity to hear the music of Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers and I only have one thing to say: I like it!

Lavay Smith and her 7-piece band will be the headliners for the Third Annual “Light the Lights” concert at the Redwood Chapel on Friday evening, January 28. Her music is basically ‘40’s swing style but she gives it a little extra “pizazz”. Guaranteed enjoyment!

This, combined with our gorgeous and talented middle and high school chorus and orchestra, promises an evening as highly entertaining as the last two such concerts have been. You’ll want to be there!

Tickets can be obtained at the Castro Valley Adult School office, 4430 Alma Avenue, or by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to CV Performing Arts Center, 25118 Century Oaks Drive, CV 94552. Prices range from $30 on up. For more info, call 537-8117.

HELPING HANDS: There are among us, fortunately, individuals and organizations that dedicate themselves to helping those who either can’t help themselves or don’t know how to help themselves. One such organization is Deaf Hope, a group of people that offers help to battered and abused deaf women and children.

Deaf Hope’s mission statement best explains their goal: “To end domestic violence and sexual assault against deaf women and children through empowerment, education, and services”.

The non-profit organization was founded by eight deaf women in January, 2003, at the urging of its current Executive Director, Julie Rems-Smario. Deaf Hope offers 24-hour TTY (teletypewriter) service, counseling, legal advocacy, education, and emergency shelter for deaf women in need. It is headquartered in Hayward and its services are offered to women all over the San Francisco Bay area.  

I have a personal, long-standing acquaintanceship with the deaf community. Our oldest daughter, Jacqueline, was born deaf. Currently she is employed by NORCAL Center on Deafness, a deaf assistance organization with which Deaf Hope has recently created an alliance to better serve the Sacramento area.

I recently visited Deaf Hope’s headquarters building which is located in an older house near downtown Hayward on Mission Boulevard just north of “A” Street. Presently they are renting this building but hope to buy it in the near future. Julie Rems-Smario, a charming young lady and Castro Valley Resident, gave me a complete tour, showing me what they had already accomplished and what they hope to accomplish in the future. From all indications, this organization knows exactly where it is going and is a valuable asset to the community.

Four of the original founders work full time at the headquarters along with ten certified volunteers to staff their 24-hour hot line. They can be contacted at or 1-866-DeafHope (TTY). They also have a website at

In addition to the work that they do out of the Hayward office, they periodically hold 40-hour training sessions for “Domestic Violence Advocates”, a training course that my daughter will soon be taking. These volunteer Advocates work wherever they are needed throughout Northern California to help deaf women who have been victims of domestic violence.

Deaf Hope is partly supported by contributions from some local agencies but the large majority of their finances come from donations from the community. Several fundraising events are held throughout the year, with the first being their annual “Glimmer of Hope” at Mills College. For a listing of these events and information about them and to see how you can help this worthwhile organization, please visit their website.

Donations can be sent to Deaf Hope, 22418 Mission Blvd., Hayward 94541. In addition to monetary donations, they can also use gifts of various office supplies. All donations are tax deductible.

This is an organization of hard working, dedicated women who deserve any support they get. Please see what you can do.

“CV Side Trips” is always looking for Castro Valley happenings. E–mail or call (510) 727-9296.