HARTFORD – The Archdiocese of Hartford has named Deacon Daniel W. Polansky as the coordinator for its Office for People with Disabilities and the Office for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired.
The offices are located in the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield.
As coordinator for both offices, Deacon Polansky will advocate for people with disabilities in the Archdiocese by working with parishes and agencies to provide assistance in the areas of religious education, pastoral care and increased participation in liturgical celebrations.
Deacon Polansky worked for the State of Connecticut for 17 years as a disabilities service worker at Southbury Training School, and for nine years as a high school math teacher for the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford.
His first encounter with the hearing impaired was as a freshman at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. As a member of the college’s cross-country and track teams, he was required to learn sign language in order to better communicate with his deaf teammates.
"I had never met a deaf person until I went to college, and that world was immediately opened up to me. I had deaf students with sign language interpreters in my classes and socialized with deaf students on campus," said Deacon Polansky.
He became an applied mathematics major and a note-taker and tutor for deaf students while mastering sign language.
"Along the way, I discovered that I was pretty good at explaining difficult concepts clearly, and the deaf students were responding to my help in very positive ways," said Deacon Polansky. "It became clear to me what I wanted to do with my life… Many years later, the developmentally disabled clients at Southbury Training School responded in much the same way."
He then earned a master’s degree in education of the hearing impaired from Gallaudet University in Washington, the world’s largest liberal arts college for the deaf.
Ordained to the permanent diaconate in 2001, Deacon Polansky serves at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
"Deacon Dan Polansky brings extensive experience and strong enthusiasm for this position. He will be a special blessing to the Archdiocese in this dual role as coordinator for the Office for People with Disabilities and the Office for the Deaf and the Hearing Impaired," said Archbishop Henry J. Mansell.