Delphine and Alfred Duncan were married on June 15, 1963 and have three children, Alfred Jr., Annebelle and James. The Duncan family understood and experienced the struggles deaf people face in a predominately hearing society. They learned that resources, services and opportunities were not always available and accessible to the community they were a part of.

“As a child, everything was quiet unless I decided to make noise. Before my younger brother came along it was just me and my older brother Alfred. Our house was quiet unless the TV was on; or we were in the car and the radio was on. Our parents used to pick a station that was a mix of talk and music.

“They didn’t know what we’d like because they couldn’t hear. It wasn’t until I learned about AM and FM that I found an FM station I preferred.”

Despite the many barriers they faced, Delphine and Alfred cherished their lives, their children and their Deaf culture. They knew that being deaf and/or hard of hearing or even deaf/blind is not a barrier, but a cultural identity.

Throughout their lives, it naturally became who they were – a deaf married couple with three hearing children living in a predominately hearing world. They overcame all obstacles and accomplished all the goals and dreams they had for themselves and their three children.

Blessed Hands CEO Annebelle V. Duncan is CODA: a ‘Child of Deaf Adults.’

“I never looked at myself as a hearing person. It was like my inner person was deaf.”


“There were a lot of things I missed; not intentionally, it was just that they were deaf and there were certain things they couldn’t teach me. My English wasn’t the best because no one taught me how to say the words. There were no corrections; nobody at home to tell me ‘You said that word wrong.’ 

“They made sure we had the resources to look things up. We had all kinds of books and encyclopedias, but you still have questions. One time I was doing homework and I asked my mother how to spell ‘pierce.’ I was trying to mouth it to her and she couldn’t get it. She said ‘I don’t know, I’m sorry.’

“I was never ashamed or embarrassed by what they didn’t understand; I was focused on them. But the neighborhood kids were going around talking about my parents. They would always bring my mother and father into it, like they were threatening me – like ‘I’m going to burn you.’

“When they insulted my parents, it WAS like being lit with a match. As a result, I’ve been an advocate all my life.”


The Delphine Alfred Duncan (DAD) Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing was founded in the name of the late deaf parents of the Duncan family on behalf of the Deaf Community they respected and cherished.

Alfred Verette Duncan Sr. – Al – was born on the south side of Chicago, Illinois and became deaf at the age of 6. He attended the Illinois School for the Deaf in Springfield, Illinois and later moved to Berkeley, California.

Al was very athletic and played basketball, baseball and football. From the 1960s to the mid-1970s, he played in the American Athletic Association for the Deaf (AAAD) with the Oakland Silents basketball team. Many loved to see Al’s jazzy style and skill on the basketball court. Al was inducted into the Deaf Hall of Fame in the 1980s.

Delphine P. Duncan, also known as Del, was born in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 2, Del became deaf and attended deaf schools. Later she moved to East Palo Alto, California, where she attended the California School for the Deaf, (CSD) in Berkeley, California.

Delphine graduated from CSD in the late 1950s or early 1960s and attended Gallaudet University. One year later she returned to California and met the love of her life: Alfred Duncan.

Delphine was very active in the Deaf Community. She was a member of the Bay Area Scleroderma Support Group, the Deaf Seniors Club and St. Benedict’s in San Francisco, where Father Jack McMullen presided.


“The foundation began in April 2000 while sitting with my mother Delphine and discussing what services were needed to help the Deaf Community. It was founded on their desire to see equal access and opportunities to all individuals and families who are a part of the Deaf Community.”

Annebelle started her business from home while working full-time. “I had 3 plastic totes full of work files. I was doing my own accounting manually.” The paperwork was oppressive, but her determination was unstoppable. “People couldn’t believe the things I accomplished.”

She established Blessed Hands interpretation services and the Delphine Alfred Duncan Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, aka DAD Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization providing community programs, resources, and socio-economic services.

“I began to reap blessings as a champion of the deaf – who are frequently bullied and misunderstood.” 


“A deaf person shouldn’t fear they can’t go to the doctor. These states don’t understand that. Now I work with all kinds of people all over the country. My parents didn’t have that, they had me and my brother.

“Today I know how to advocate for others. I know what you need. I’ve been doing this for 56 years now. Your skillset makes you into the interpreter you are. You can’t tell me how to accommodate a deaf/blind or hard or hearing or blind person because I’ve been doing it all my life.”

Situations still happen. “I’m used to it, but I don’t bite my tongue. If you can’t understand who we are and make the proper accommodations, then we don’t need to be there.”

“I’m blessed. The business has grown. And I try to give back by helping others who have the desire to learn.”