“And the child grew, and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.”

- Luke 2:40

Our Story

September 1, 1994

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.


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!

Where We Are Going

Our Story

 We are doing incredible work with children who are deaf and hard of hearing or have communication disorders every day. We also realize there’s more that needs to be done to support these children and their families. We see Happy Hands growing and developing into a regional “one-stop shop” for these children where they will be able to receive all the necessary therapies, education, and audiology services in one building. In addition, we will have expanded resources and support groups to strengthen families. Our dream is that families will be able to find all their services in one location with faculty and therapists who can provide a coordinated and seamless program that addresses the whole child and their family. With your partnership, we can change the future for the next generation of these precious children.

Meet Our Staff


Janine Pride, M.Ed.

Executive Director


Kati Tifft Ellis

Director of Development


Jennifer Freese, M. S.

Director of Education


Haley Griffin

Communication and Events Coordinator

Our Story

Sarai Torres

Director of Operations


Anna Hamby

Education Administrative Assistant

Meet Our Board


Bret Barnhart
Owner, Barnhart Excavating


Don Newberry
Tulsa County Court Clerk


James L. Maddux, CFP
Vice President-Trust Officer, Trust Company Oklahoma


Mishelle Embry
President, MSE&Co. Marketing and Consulting


Matt Jackson
Senior Facilities Engineer, Terra Energy Partners

Haili Lord
Center Director, KinderCare Learning Centers/University of Tulsa KinderCare

Greetings from the board of Happy Hands Education Center!

We commit to you as the children, the families, and the community that we will guide Happy Hands Education Center in the following manner:

  • As a Christian ministry with a heart of love for all people, providing HOPE for those who come across our path. This includes treating people with respect and dignity.
  • As an organization that adheres to the highest standards of integrity and best practices. This includes coming under the oversight of licensing, auditing, and accrediting organizations, and ethical guidelines of professional organizations. This also includes compliance with federal, state, and local laws as well as our own policies and procedures.
  • As an active and participating member of the community, having strong relationships with other businesses, agencies, institutions and services. This will increase coordination and support for families and build a stronger community.
  • As a transparent and accessible organization. We will be available to answer questions and receive feedback concerning any issues related to Happy Hands Education Center. You can click here to contact us.