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My name is Crystal Kelley Schwartz, mother of three children, one Deaf and one Hard of Hearing. I come from four generations of a Deaf family. My husband David is also Deaf and comes from three generations of a Deaf Family.

Growing up I was mainstreamed. When I was 13 years old my parents (my father, who is very strongly culturally Deaf, and then my mother who is Orally Deaf) offered me the choice to go to a Deaf school. I decided to stay mainstreamed. I was mainstreamed with interpreters but also had several alternative choice classes with the Deaf only. Those classes I enjoyed very much and always looked forward to being with other deaf peers.

I did not struggle with the hearing. I was very active with the school and did not experience any “teasing” about my deafness.

I graduated from Hinsdale South High school and went to Gallaudet University. After 3 years during an internship in Chicago, I moved back and graduated from Robert Morris College with a Business Administrations Degree.

I am currently working as a health educator for Mt. Sinai Hospitals’ Deaf Access Program. A strong advocate for the Black Deaf Community, I hold the position of vice president for Chicagoland Black Deaf Advocates. I am also a certified Deaf Mentor and have been a PartyLite Gifts consultant for two years now. The different activities I have been involved with and am currently invovlved with have brought challenges for me as a Black Deaf Woman. I thrive those challenges! On top of that, I’m a mother to three little kids. I enjoy what I do.

My husband is currently running his own repair business. He also has a side fireworks business that breaks down any barriers anyone may have of a Deaf person performing extreme fireworks shows or owning a fireworks shop. He worked for four years as a fireman in Florida before they required him to pass a hearing test. He was offered a desk job with the department. He declined and opened up his own fireworks business.

All my kids passed the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening test. Precious, my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy when she was 15 months old. My son received the same diagnosis when he was 13 months old. Both are involved with the LICA program. My daughter is successfully enrolled at Forest Elementary school and my son witll be in the same class this fall. My youngest baby, Angelina, has not been diagnosed. We will have her tested when she turns one.


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