Robert Sidansky has been an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing nearly all his life. Sidansky, a student personnel specialist at California State University, Northridge’s National Center on Deafness, is deaf, has three deaf children and volunteers numerous hours with organizations that work to improve the quality of life for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
Sidansky was honored for his hard work on Sept. 21 by Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander, as the 12th Council District Honoree for Deaf Awareness Month.
“He is a highly accomplished professional, a role model to the deaf community and the community as a whole, and has dedicated his life to serving others and making our community a better place to live and work for all,” said Englander, who presented the commendation to Sidansky at the city council meeting.
The city commendation is presented to role-model nominees from every district in an effort to raise awareness about deafness. Those honored have worked diligently in the deaf and hard of hearing community, earning the respect and endearment of that community as well as the broader Los Angeles community.
“To receive special recognition through Los Angeles City Council is a great honor,” Sidansky said. “CSUN’s deaf program and deaf community have inspired my continued pride in our excellent program and sustains my continued best efforts. My love is to teach young people to increase their knowledge and awareness in the world.”
Sidansky has devoted most of his volunteer time to young people. He is currently president of the Tri-County Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness. He has volunteered as a coach in the Deaf Academic Bowl at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard and Taft High School in Woodland Hills. He has served on the California Department of Education’s Deafness Task Force and served as vice president of IMPACT, a statewide organization of parents of deaf and hard of hearing children.
At CSUN, Sidansky oversees interpreting, captioning, note taking, counseling student development, orientation and tutoring for more than 200 deaf and hard of hearing students annually. He helped found the Deaf CSUNians and the CSUN/NCOD Alumni Association.
“Robert richly deserves recognition and commendation for all he has done for CSUN students and the deaf community,” said Roz Rosen, director of the NCOD, who recommended Sidansky for the commendation. “He is very humble, loyal and passionate about his work, and it is about time the spotlight shines on him.”
CSUN and the university’s NCOD have a national reputation for creating an inclusive environment and resources for deaf and hard of hearing students and those seeking careers related to this population to succeed. In 1964, CSUN became the first university in the country to provide support services for deaf students in class, to establish Deaf Studies as a discipline and to employ professional interpreters and captionists.