What We Do

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth Association of Nova Scotia provides DHH Youth with opportunities to meet other DHH Youth by promoting awareness, organizing activities and events. By enabling the continuous social development and opportunities for new skills development, our youth are becoming leaders and positive role models for younger Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth.

Who We Are

Leanne Gallant – Program Manager and Best Buddies Co-Leader

Leanne Gallant was born Deaf in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and is currently living in Bedford, Nova Scotia.

Leanne’s biggest concern is that there is and will continue to be a lack of leaders for Deaf Youth. Having more Deaf Leaders will empower Deaf young people to make informed decisions about their future, reach their full potential, and pave the way for Deaf Youth to become valued members of their communities; taking their rightful place within mainstream society.

This is one reason why, on her own initiative, Leanne set up a non-profit organization entitled the Deaf Youth Association of Nova Scotia (DYANS), where she is now the Program Manager. She is responsible for the development of this creative volunteering program for deaf youth which provides them with opportunities to participate more fully in the community, by promoting leadership skills, and enabling young people to build their confidence, self-esteem, and develop a positive identity. DYANS has been very well received by the Deaf Youth Community, thanks to the strong support Leanne gives to activities organized through the association. She believes that the future is in the hands of the younger generation of Deaf!

Leanne received a National Award in 2012 from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities in recognition of her valued contribution to the Disability Rights Movement in Canada.

During her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband, relatives and friends, traveling, swimming, and spending time with Youths.

Jared MacNeil – President

Jared MacNeil was born Deaf in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He is currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Jared attended Portsmouth School of the Deaf in New Hampshire at a young age and learned ASL (American Sign Language). He moved back to Canada and was mainstreamed into a hearing school from Primary to Grade 12. After graduating he attended College. Where he grew up in Cape Breton is very isolated where he was not around many other Deaf individuals until he attended part of APSEA as STP (Short Term Program) during his Junior High and High School years. He first heard of DYA in Grade 10. He moved to Halifax in 2012 and since then has been Vice President for two and a half years, and then became President after attending the CDYLC (Canadian Deaf Youth Leadership Camp) in 2014. He wanted to be on the DYA board because there isn’t many Deaf leaders here in Nova Scotia and he wants to continue to show the DHH Youths that there is a Deaf Culture and ASL here. He continues to get more DHH Youth Awareness about their own culture and ASL.

Craig Cannon – Vice President

Craig has been with DYANS for many years and is responsible for running and maintaining DYANS’ website. He went to NSCC for a degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Programming. His dream is to build apps that will empower Deaf people. He taught ASL to teachers and Deaf students in Haiti. He likes to tinker with technology and play sports with friends.

Paige Barnaby – Treasurer

Bio coming soon…

Matt Hazlett  – Secretary

Bio coming soon…

Holly Green – Public Relations Officer

Bio coming soon…

Jill Wood – Best Buddies Co-Leader

Jill is a co-leader of the best buddies program where her focus is making connections in the deaf community. Jill has been an active volunteer with the deaf youth association for the past couple years. She is currently studying to fulfill her plans to work with children who have disabilities. With her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, camping, going to the beach and watching movies.

About the Logo


The DYA Logo is a symbol picked by our organization, Deaf Youth Association of NovaScotia (DYANS), to represent the Deaf Youth in Nova Scotia. We recognize that Deaf Youth comes from all walks of life, that their experiences are unique to each other, and that sometimes language barrier can come between them. These differences are something which DYA hopes to overcome by offering Deaf Youth opportunities and life skills that they wouldn’t get otherwise.

The butterfly is a symbol we picked to represent the Deaf Youth scattered all over the Maritimes. For those interested in the reason why we chose it; the butterfly is 99%/98% deaf, making it the ideal image for DYA. The butterfly is also revered as a symbol of transformation in many cultures; we hope that, by fostering a sense of community and acceptance among Deaf Youth, we can enrich the Deaf community with new role models and new ideas of what it means to be Deaf.

All credits and thanks To Rylyn Lennox for the new logo design!