Christmas Party Shenanigans Ending 2022′ With Some Harmony!!~

Sign Shares International | The Capsule Group

by SS contributor


Sign Shares Inc Sign and The Capsule Group is celebrating Christmas.

Published by Sign Shares  · 11h  ·

Sign Shares International | The Capsule Group

by SS contributor

Where do we begin, it has been a very long time that we congregated together, celebrating together, and spending time amongst each other just embracing life. Closing out the year with warm hugs, fresh smiles, new perspectives, and creative endeavors. We appreciate everyone that came out and share togetherness for an intimate gathering. Hosted by one of our own.

We have all been through a lot, enduring a pandemic, the passing of loved ones, separations, distance, it’s a a rebooted world that we interpret for.

It was such a heartfelt gathering seeing those that could come at the spur of the moment to those that we know well, and those we are now being introduced to happily moving on with our journey. Everyone welcomed each other sharing the support of our communities, our disability communities, and our beliefs of just embracing life with positivity. It shows us that we still stand strong for the love of the community and will always be there for another.

Networking and collaborations were fruitful as we had a fun time doing so. Our event took place at the savory Perry steakhouse at Town Center in Sugarland Texas. Our crew showed us wonderful hospitality and we highly recommend them, and we’ll visit them again. It was a lovely evening with Christmas lights throughout the Town Center. Thanks to everyone who brought a white elephant gift and participated in our reindeer games. Yes, we said it reindeer games!! The ugly sweater contest was optional, but after the pandemic, people just felt like dressing up and getting all sparkly.

We’re a diverse bunch as we featured a known artist highly respected amongst the art community, Mr. Ray Dunlap. Ray, a color-blind local Texas artist, defines his work as being spiritual and sees himself as a Contemporary Folk Artist. Born in Palestine, TX and lived in Tokyo Japan at the age of 21, Ray’s art is influenced by his country and contemporary hemispheres. We were very gracious to receive a piece of Ray’s art that was given away as a prize. Those that did not win the prize will be commissioning Ray’s wonderful work. That’s harmonious!

Congratulations to Mr. William Pool, our prize recipient of an intriguing painting entitled: ‘Paying Tribute To All The Tribes’. The artist, Ray Dunlap, description of his painting: “It’s about everyone’s mixture of DNA and characteristics that speaks volumes of communications that conveys that everyone is one community, one communion.”

We learned it was one of Mr. Dunlap’s paintings from the 1st phase of 15 paintings out of the entire 50-piece series entitled: ‘Awaking of the Whales’. What an honor to learn this from the artist himself as Ray shared with us what his two pieces meant. ‘Awaking of the Whales’ is a long series with a Japanese flair of 50 paintings that are comprised in a mindset while coming into a clarity of sobriety, while acknowledging the checkpoints a person’s life undertakes in a spiritual sense, a life framing experience that we all endure a rapture at some point in our individual paths, and walkways during our earthly lives.

Mr. Dunlap also brought a private piece he had painted that was on display. It was a very heartfelt piece as he painted it live while the person who thought they were commissioning a piece for the event, shared with Ray a personal checkpoint of their life’s tale from the recent past year, to include the pandemic, and all that transpired. Little did they know that Ray was able to produce their expressionism during the conversation. Call it a ‘live’ interpretive collaboration of the minds, and the result was a breathtaking emotion that no longer had to be contained by the person who shared with Ray. That is what Ray is good at, spiritual interpreting, spirit filled awakenings. We had questions from an audience member asking what the Japanese writing meant on the side of this painting. Ray indicated it was a simple poem, which he translated from Japanese into English… {The Flowers are becoming water…}.

Ray currently has art on display throughout Houston, TX with prior shows in Japan where he is quite popular.

Well, that certainly wrapped our event with a bow! The food was spectacular, the ambience was loving, and we thank everyone for creating these fond memories with us! “We all share the same sky. We are all one community!”. Thanks to our Host: Taylor S. our blog contributor, and more. Special thanks: Megan for interpreting for our guests, Perry’s Steakhouse, our Sign Shares International, Capsule Group Crew, and our Creator! Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, onward to the next gathering! Love & Light! Take it away Taylor for our next Holiday Blog shenanigans. Artist Web Page: Ray Dunlap @

Special Attendee Thanks To:

🖋💌 Linda Guerrero – Fort Bend Recognized Realtor & First Vice President Board Member for Women’s Council of Realtors.…/Linda-Guerrero-593937a

🖋💌 Patti Molina: Business Entrepreneur & Community Advocate, Specializing in Visually Impaired Community members & Outreach for Women in Domestic Violence Situations.

🖋💌 Shirley Fluker T: CODA – Medicare, Life Insurance and Retirement Specialist For Deaf & Hard of Hearing Community Members.

🤟 Megan Mantey: Specialty Interpreter Sign Language & Advocate. Deaf & Hard of Hearing Proud.

🤟 Taylor Southerland: Our Hostess with the Mostess. Sign Language, Blogger, and more.

🤟 Kay & Bill Arnett: Specialty Sign Language & Advocate. It isn’t a party with out these two. We love them bunches!

🖋 💌 Vic Trammell: Executive Coordinator – Commercial Landscaping Services North Houston Areas. His music tastes are impeccable.

🖋💌 Christina Goebel: Published Author, Administrator, Teacher, & Advocate for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.


Visit On WordPress For More Picts:…/christmas-party-shenanigans…/

Texas Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant Purchase Assistance

A word map with words such as audiology, hearing, study, aid, deafness, education, medical.
Locating funding to pay for expensive hearing aids or cochlear implants is worth the time involved. photo credit: Ben Taylor55 Audiology via photopin (license)

Texas Health and Human Services has incorporated links for different programs to help Texans pay for their hearing aids or cochlear implants, which may cost thousands of dollars. There are many programs available to adults wanting hearing support, including service members and veterans, people seeking work or studying, or people who have retired or are not working.

Veterans Programs for Hearing Aid Assistance

For active service members, TRICARE coverage will assist with hearing aids as long as the hearing loss is great enough.

For retired service members, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides assistance with hearing aids. As long as you have ten percent of any service-related disability, you should qualify. You may apply in person or online for VA health care.

Assistance for Working-Age Adults

Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services is the provider who assists people with disabilities who are preparing to work or are working.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission’s website, to qualify for services, you must be able to work, need services to help you do that, and have a disability which is a barrier to employment. Hearing loss and deafness are including in this group.

Diagram of a person and the cochlear implant in place.
A cochlear implant is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment available for hearing loss–usually deafness or near deafness–and involves major surgery. Exploring financial assistance options can save thousands of dollars. photo credit: Rfunderburk90 Ryan-Funderburk-1 via photopin (license)

To apply for services, you may apply at a Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocational Rehabilitation Services office, call 800-628-5115 for information, or send your questions via email to The website cautions you to include your name, phone and address including city, state and ZIP code in your email, but not your Social Security Number or birth date.

If you quality, the rehabilitation office will send you to be evaluated by an approved audiologist who will assess your needs and report to them. After that, you may qualify for hearing aids, cochlear implants, or related equipment.

Programs for Older Texans

An older woman puts in a hearing aid.
As we age, the incidence of hearing loss and deafness increases. photo credit: Senior woman with a hearing aid via photopin (license)

Several programs exist to support providing access for older Texans to get hearing aids or cochlear implants. For people who are 60 or older, the state has 28 area agencies on aging (called AAAs). You can contact staff via email or phone at the agency nearest you by using this list of offices across the state. These programs do consider your financial and minority status, and whether you live in a rural area.

Services for Texans not Using Vocational Services for Work

In 2016, Texas transitioned services for Independent Living to the state’s Centers for Independent Living. Scroll down this page and locate the one nearest you to learn about what supports and services they can provide you with in your area. The centers assist with a variety of needs beyond adaptive equipment, such as advocacy.

Nationwide Hearing Aid Payment Assistance

The Starkey Hearing Foundation has a program, Hear Now, for Americans with low incomes. People who meet their criteria are fitted with new hearing aids. Learn more or complete an application.

While your family may make too much money to qualify for other programs, the Audient Alliance for Accessible Hearing Health Care helps individuals acquire hearing aids at lower prices. Call or download their application form.

Community Organizations

Kiwanis, Lions Clubs, and Masons may have local branches that will fund hearing aids. Their website may not list the extent of what they do, so contact your local branch to learn more.

Other Assistive Listening Devices

While you wait to get hearing aids, there are other options to provide some hearing assistance, depending on your needs. Local stores that sell Made-for-TV products have fairly powerful hearing aids for around $20.

Williams Sound offers more advanced equipment for reasonable prices that may help you hear better at home, religious services, recreational events, in restaurants, at school, and anywhere you need to hear better.

Contact Us

Contact The Capsule Group Inc for more support in locating hearing aid or cochlear implant services.

Applying for and Training Service Animals in Texas

The Capsule Group Inc and Sign Shares, Inc. team enjoyed meeting attendees from across Texas at the Abilities Expo Houston in early August 2019. Sign Shares, Inc. provided sign language interpreting to help make the expo more accessible. While there, CEO and Detective Eva Storey, TPLI met with staff from Service Dogs, Inc.

Specialized Service Animals for a Variety of Needs

Seeing eye dog guiding a person on a conveyor belt.
Most people are aware of guide dogs aiding people who are blind, but there are also service dogs for hearing, mobility, and emotional needs. photo credit: EX22218 – ON/OFF This White Dog…. via photopin (license)

The nonprofit Service Dogs out of Dripping Springs provides a variety of service animals that many people may not be aware exist, including hearing, service, courthouse, first responder facility, and PAWS juvenile offender dogs. Whatever the type of dog, Service Dogs provides free trained dogs and lifetime training for them for qualified applicants. They have been providing free assistance dogs since 1988.

Hearing dogs alert partners to sounds from their environment, such as a baby crying, smoke alarm, and other beeps and buzzes around the home or at work. Service dogs provide motor skills support, such as retrieving objects, opening, closing, and pushing things within their partner’s environment, as well assisting with movement or dressing. Courthouse dogs provide emotional support for children in tense courtroom situations.

According to the organization’s website, one of their programs, PAWS, is “the first and only juvenile offender service dog training program in the country.”

First Responder Facility Dogs work with emergency medical professionals, such as EMTs, paramedics, Emergency Room staff, and others in the hospital setting. The dogs help staff “de-escalate from the traumatic things they see every day,” such as fatalities, accidents, and emergency room happenings.

Seeing Eye Dogs in Texas

While Service Dogs, Inc. provides many types of service animals, they do not provide seeing eye dogs, which are provided by Guide Dogs of Texas. If you’re at least 17 and legally blind, you can call the organization to set up an appointment at (210) 366 4081. No matter which organization’s service animal type you need, expect to wait one to two years to secure a service animal that is trained to your specifications.

Additional Services Provided by Service Dogs, Inc.

Picture of a service dog from the Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs.
Service animals are finely trained to devote their attention to work and to have the appropriate temperament for a working animal. The amount of dogs who qualify is limited. photo credit: slambo_42 Friendly service dog via photopin (license)

Service Dogs, Inc. also provides training for professional dog trainers.

Besides assisting people, the organization provides a new start for shelter and rescue dogs, as well as dogs changing careers from other organizations.

If you wish to apply for a Hearing, Mobility or Facility dog, you must be at least 25 years old, have a hearing or mobility disability or represent a facility that provides some of the services listed above, such as at first responder or law and justice programs. The application process may take up to six months, and it may take 10 months to a year before a service animal is placed.

Contact Us to Increase Accessibility and Adaptability

Sign Shares and The Capsule Group is on your side. Contact us regarding interpreting services or advocacy needs.

Sign Shares’ Team Rides to Help Children with Cancer

Two Sign Shares Inc staff have biked 701.4 miles as Team Eva and Ant in honor of loved ones who have fallen to cancer and to raise money for children with the disease. The event was organized by Great Cycle Challenge USA, a company that has “raised $16,070,740 in support of research to develop better treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer” over the past four years.

A woman poses with a puppet, next to another woman with a puppet.
Sharon Miller-Bless often shared puppets. This picture was taken of Sharon and Eva Storey at the Abilities Expo Houston.

Eva Storey, CEO and president of Sign Shares, rode 350.7 miles in honor of a former interpreter for the agency, Sharon Miller-Bless, who was a tri-lingual interpreter for the interpreting agency. “Sharon was more than an employee, but a dear friend,” Storey said.

A woman holds a sign with the name Grace Raitano.
Grace Marie Rataino Butkovich, mother of Anthony Butkovich.

Anthony Butkovich also rode 350.7 miles in honor of his mother, Grace Marie Rataino Butkovich. According to his dedication page, his mother was an advocate for alternative therapies for cancer. “She literally traveled the world studying the root of all cancer and seeking cures in countries that permitted unorthodox treatments.”

Over the month of June 2019, Storey and Butkovich showed determination when they biked in outdoor and indoor conditions, jointly and independently.

According to website participants, they undertook this journey because “cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in the United States. Over 15,700 children are diagnosed every year, and sadly, 38 children die of cancer every week. Kids should be living life, not fighting for it.”

New Captioning Technology Provides Greater Telecommunications Access

Many people with hearing loss and deafness use a variety of tools to assist their telecommunications, including video and caption phones. Another tool has been added to their access—captioning with Skype.

Skype is known for providing audio and video communications. When Sign Shares Inc. staff held a recent video conference, they learned that Skype now provides captions for video. They were pleased with the quality of the captions for personal use.

Until now, captioning for video has been limited and was mainly available through captioning in YouTube videos, but not for interpersonal communications. With this latest upgrade, individuals with hearing loss and deafness can supplement their video communications with family and friends instead of relying on a combination of lipreading and messaging.

A TV screen shows the news and the captions read, "Welcome back to the light doormat coverage of the..."
Captions are an art between technology and people. When communication matters, contact professionals for captioning.

More experience with Skype will determine its value for professional use. When business meetings are important, or when multiple individuals need to teleconference, contact Sign Share Inc. and The Capsule Group to determine the best accommodations for your needs. This involves considering the individual preferences of the personal with deafness or hearing loss, the location of the meeting, the number of individuals involved, as well as room acoustics and the distance the employee will be from the speaker.

In most situations, employers are required by federal laws to provide accessible meetings that provide a similar experience to the one that any other employee receives, and the Sign Shares Inc/The Capsule Group team will ensure that your employees receive a smooth delivery of services.

As for personal use, Skype’s captioning is a welcome tool to enhance communications with family and friends.

Skype is a free service available online and via a cell phone app. Click here to learn more about Skype or create your account.

Once you download Skype, which is available on desktop or cell phone, you can set the subtitles to run captions while the other person speaks. According to the company’s website, “Live captions & subtitles are available in Skype on Android (6.0+), Android tablet, iPhone, iPad, Windows, Mac, Linux, Web, and Skype for Windows 10 (version 14).”

The Capsule Group, inc & Sign Shares, inc will be at Abilities Expo Aug. 2-4: Join Us for a Book Signing, Advocacy, & New Launches for Fall 2019!!!

Capsule logo_bigGearing up for Abilities Expo, Houston, TX, on Aug. 2-4, 2019!!! The event will be held at the NRG Center, Hall E from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2-3, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 4.

The expo is a national, annual event that celebrates the abilities of all. It includes:

Register for the event

The expo is free to attend. Register now. Indicate on the registration if you will need a sign language interpreter or CART live captioning. When you register, you can opt to receive Abilities Expo updates.

Find us at the expo

The Sign Shares and The Capsule Group Inc team will be at booth 930, which is located toward the back right of the expo hall, around the corner from 3E Love and directly across from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Author and audiobook cast book signing

This year, Sign Shares, Inc and The Capsule Group, Inc will host author Christina Goebel for a book signing for her novel, the science fiction fantasy, Birth Right: Galak’s Rising.

Birth Right Galak's Rising logo
Join Birth Right: Galak’s Rising’s audiobook cast and get your book signed at the Abilities Expo Houston on Aug. 2-4, 2019.

Members of the agency’s team read parts in Goebel’s upcoming audiobook for the novel and will be available for the book signing, including The Capsule Group’s Eva Storey and Anthony Butkovich, and Kade D.M. Murdoch, Faith L.D. Storey, and Gerald Goebel. The audiobook is in the editing phase and will be available later this year. This is a rare opportunity to have most of the audiobook cast sign Birth Right.

GoldenHeart: How to Love Humanity by Christina Goebel
Christina Goebel’s book, GoldenHeart, contains a chapter on disability with information about awareness and resources. GoldenHeart focuses on how to love yourself, others, and humanity.

Goebel will also sign copies of her self-help love manual, GoldenHeart: How to Love Humanity. This book was the start of the Twitter movement of 29,000 followers (@lovegoldenheart) promoting love and kindness and using the #GoldenHearts hashtag.

Those purchasing the novels will receive a discount price and free giveaway items not available elsewhere, including buttons for the book. You can learn more about Goebel’s books at her website. Goebel is the Advocacy Advisor for The Capsule Group.

Creating capsules with you

Besides providing access for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, The Capsule Group teams enjoy meeting people with all abilities and providing information and resources for a variety of needs so that all Texans can live a full and rewarding life. Stop by to discuss any concerns you have, and the team will assist you in finding answers during or after the event. The Capsule Group creates capsules that enable your growth and success.

Stop by the The Capsule Group Inc | Sign Shares Inc’s booth 930, receive some goodies, and enjoy a chat with our team. See the floor plan for the Abilities Expo Houston.

Receive updates

For updates, join Sign Shares’ more than 55,000 followers on Facebook.

Getting to the expo

NRG Center events utilize Gate 10 on the corner of Kirby and McNee. Type in the address: 8600 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77054 for the most accurate driving directions. Learn the location of accessible parking here. Parking will be $15 and is accepted via cash only and does not include any debit or credit card payments.

Abilities Expo Links

Facebook: @AbilitiesExpo
Twitter: @AbilitiesExpo
Imstagram: @abilities_expo
Pinterest: @abilitiesexpo

We All Love to Blog!

Happy Weekend! Check out our different teams members blog about their favorite events, local, nationwide, and international news. We love to share regarding important issues that affect our communities. We will all have our contributions as we all have our own plights in life within our very own disabilities. Currently, Staff Writer, and Community Advocate, Mr. David Bass has a video – blog going. Check him out, as we appreciate his social activities and his humor!

Hello Fellow Sharers!!

We get a considerable amount of request for what’s the latest shares as our Facebook followers constantly check our page. We are Deaf and Hard of Hearing friendly. We will also add “Video Blogs” to this press page as well for all to enjoy. We invite you to check us out on Facebook as well. When we post/blog this is what we consider, “SHARING TIME!!!”

You will be updated on Medical technologies, Our Theme’s for the Week, Domestic & International News, Educational News, Job related News, Movie Picks from Our Staff, and Some Cool Things to Check Out local, or from wherever your community is, so please provide us informations about what makes your community great! This Blog is for people of ALL DISABILITIES. So your shares and events are important.

We will have our comments monitored, so this blog page is not our comment page. It is for your happy reading pleasure. We are proud to always ADVOCATE, EDUCATE, & LEGISLATE! We welcome your stories about hardships, injustices, positves, mentorships, and more! Stay tuned!

Happy Reading!

Love & Light, The Sign Shares Team Family!