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Our Story

September 1, 1994

Founder Al Proo with a young child.

Founder Al Proo, opened Happy Hands with 7 students and 2 staff members.

Al served the deaf community for 30 years as a pastor and interpreter. During this time, he became heartbreakingly aware of the fact that the average deaf adult was reading at the 3rd grade level. Research indicated that this illiteracy was caused by a lack of language development in the critical ages of birth to 6 years.

At this time, there were no full-time services available to address this issue, so the idea of Happy Hands was born.


Speech Pathologist working with a young child.

First Speech Pathologist hired.


Accredited as a school by The Association of Christian Schools International and received DHS highest rating.


Donald W. Reynolds Foundation provides planning grant.


Happy Hands expands to include children with communication disorders.

Wins the Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence (ONE) Award from the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits.

Awarded $6.8M capital grant from Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.


Awarded Exemplary School by the Association of Christian School International.


Moved into debt-free facility with 28 students and 12 staff.


Expanded program to include 57 students and 23 staff.


Awarded the Congressional Non-Profit in the Spotlight Award.


Awarded Non-Profit of the Year Award from Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.


Without specialized early intervention, children who are deaf and hard of hearing or have communication disorders have a high probability of being developmentally and socially delayed, unsuccessful in school, and facing a life of underemployment or government assistance.

We are pleased to say that we have been able to change the outcome for an entire generation of children.

Our commitment to expanding language ability in these children allows them to enter elementary school on level with their hearing peers. Many of our alumni are now in higher education and being very successful.



Happy Hands celebrated 25 years of serving the deaf and hard of hearing community!


Introduced the Happy Hands Legacy Family!