1986 — Today:  From humble beginnings in the basement of Marilyn Smith’s home to a Supportive Housing building, it all began on March 25, 1986. ADWAS was created to support and empower Deaf and DeafBlind survivors of domestic/ sexual violence. Since services began, there have been over 2,200 cases and more than 2,800 clients served. Over 43,000 people have received education and training. Here’s to more years working together with the community, local agencies, and supporters to end violence and to build healthy communities.

Chronological Timeline of ADWAS

2017 – June: Libby Stanley begins as 3rd Executive Director of ADWAS.

2017 – March: Our National Deaf Hotline expands operation hours to serve callers 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

2016 – June: ADWAS Hires On-Site Support Staff for after hours service

2016 – March: Marilyn J. Smith Inspirational Award 2016 Winner – Cathy Hoog

2015 – April: Marilyn J. Smith Inspirational Award 2015 Winner – Melissa “echo” Greenlee

2014 – June: ADWAS receives the Mayor’s Award and Proclamation from the Seattle Human Services Coalition.

2014 – April: Marilyn J. Smith Inspirational Award 2014 Winner – Allie Joiner

2013 – February: ADWAS hires first Men’s Engagement Coordinator.

2012 – October: ADWAS receives funding from the Office of Violence against Women allowing ADWAS to develop and implement a prevention campaign directed towards Deaf male allies.

2012 – May: A 15-second video produced by ADWAS and presented in American Sign Language appeared on the CBS Super Screen at Times Square, where more than 300,000 pedestrians travel through daily; ADWAS launches a new website. 

2011 – December: Ribbon cutting ceremony to open the on-site children’s playground.

2011 – March: ADWAS celebrates 25 years of service; Marilyn J. Smith, founder and director, retires; ADWAS’ new Executive Director, Tiffany Williams, begins.

2009 – 2010: ADWAS trains 24 additional cities across America to replicate the ADWAS model through a grant from the Department of Justice.

2009 – December: ADWAS’ Executive Director, Marilyn J. Smith, announces her plan to retire in 2011.

2009 – October: ADWAS receives three more years of Transitional Housing Program funds from the Office of Violence Against Women in the DOJ; ADWAS also receives new funding for Culturally and Linguistically Specific Services which includes developing a new domestic violence video and expand its education program to other counties in Western Washington.

2009 – April: Washington Family Fund grants ADWAS five years of funding for services for tenants in A Place of Our Own.

2007 – January: The Transitional Housing Program is filled to capacity.

2006 – November: HOME Magazine – Marilyn J. Smith receives the HOME Magazine Shelter Award which shines a spotlight on organizations and individuals across America whose efforts demonstrate that it is possible to transform lives and communities one room, one home, one park at a time.

2006 – October: HomeStreet Bank – HomeStreet Community Housing Award.

2006 – October: The office of Violence Against Women in The Department of Justice awards ADWAS a 3-year $350,000 grant for the new Transitional Housing Program.

2006 – September: Open house for “A Place of Our Own.”

2006: Seattle City Light presents the ADWAS Board with a BUILT SMART Award. The ADWAS building has been constructed to meet a high standard for healthy, comfortable living with energy and resource efficiencies that exceed state code requirements.

2005 – August 30: Construction begins on “A Place of Our Own.”

2005 – Office of Crime Victims Advocacy presents ADWAS with “Moving Mountains Award” in recognition of and gratitude of their work on behalf of victims and survivors of crime.

2005 – March 28: Ceremonial groundbreaking at the property site – 88th and Roosevelt.

2003: ADWAS is awarded a contract from the National Domestic Violence Hotline to manage the National Abused Deaf Hotline.

2003: The Executive Director of ADWAS, Marilyn J. Smith, is selected as 1 of 17 individuals (out of 1,300 nominations) to receive the Ford Foundation’s prestigious “Leadership for a Changing World” award. ADWAS is awarded $100,000.

2001: ADWAS hires its first Donor Development Coordinator to expand its capacity to secure donors from the hearing community with no affiliation to the Deaf community.

2000: ADWAS applies for and receives a grant from the national Doors of Hope Foundation to establish a national coalition of the 15 replicated organizations and ADWAS.

1999: ADWAS’ board of directors approves a five-year strategic plan that includes the development of a “A Place of Our Own” — transitional housing for Deaf and Deaf-Blind victims of abuse with on-site services and administrative offices.

1998: ADWAS is awarded a $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice to train Deaf people, from 15 cities across America, to replicate the ADWAS model. A total of 75 Deaf women received the training over three years. The cities are:

Austin, Texas
Denver, Colorado
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Detroit/Flint, Michigan
Boston, Massachusetts
Burlington, Vermont
Rochester, New York
Columbus, Ohio
San Francisco/Bay Area, California
Honolulu, Hawaii
Salt Lake City, Utah
Metro Washington D.C.
Chicago, Illinois
Des Moines, Iowa
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1995: The Positive Parenting Program begins providing training to Deaf or mixed (hearing and Deaf) couples. Its purpose is to break generational abuse by helping Deaf and Deaf-Blind parents learn and use positive parenting skills. This service was in response to Deaf parents in the community asking for help.

1991: ADWAS develops an Education and Training Program and hires their first Education Coordinator. At this time, the education focus is primarily on the Deaf and Deaf-Blind communities. By 1994, the Education and Training Program expanded to provide training to professionals and consulting with individuals and organizations throughout the United States.

1990: ADWAS makes the decision to make the office telephone number accessible by TTY only. This was a turning point for ADWAS as it is the only Deaf organization in the United States that does not answer voice calls. The staff and board made this decision so that the Deaf staff of ADWAS would have equal access to calls and would not be dependent on hearing people to answer telephone calls for them and to encourage hearing people to use the TTY and/or relay service to communicate with Deaf people.

1988: ADWAS receives its second public grant from the City of Seattle. This funding has grown from an annual allocation of $5,000 to $70,602. ADWAS continues to develop services and programs to meet the needs of Deaf and Deaf-Blind child and adult victims.

1987: ADWAS hires its second employee, Cathy Hoog, to work part-time as a Community Advocate; the 24/7 crisis line becomes operational.

1986: ADWAS applies and receives $4,000 from the State of Washington, Department of Social and Health Services.

1986: ADWAS received a Community Involvement Award from the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

1986: ADWAS is founded and Marilyn J. Smith becomes the Executive Director with the office located in the basement of her home. She manages the organization and provides one-to-one therapy services to Deaf and Deaf-Blind victims of abuse. The ADWAS office is phone-accessible by TTY only. It is also accessible for hearing people who do not have a TTY by calling the WA State Telecommunications Relay Service. ADWAS is the only agency of its kind in the United States.

1985: Marilyn J. Smith organizes a group of Deaf women, hearing women, and parents of Deaf children to discuss how to address the needs of Deaf and Deaf-Blind victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in a fully accessible environment.