Artist and advocate for the deaf Adrian Buentello was recently sworn in as acting president for the Kansas South Central Association of the Deaf (KSCAD) for 2017.

When he is not teaching American Sign Language at the Newton Recreation Commission, Buentello is an artist who sells paint and paints murals; he has done murals in Newton and Wichita.

Buentello said KSCAD, which was previously called the Hutchinson Association of the Deaf (HAD), was established for many years prior to 2015 and 2016.

At first, Buentello said he started to interact with the group socially and then later joined it in 2016. At that time, the group had small numbers and was starting to die out. Buentello said he and others jumped in and helped the group throw around some new ideas.

At that same time, Buentello said he started Deaf Night Out at Norm's Coffee Bar in Newton. It has been running since 2015. HAD (now KSCAD) began to grow, and Buentello said he and others strove to help it grow even more – to keep the organization alive.

"It grew a lot quicker – from about 12 or 14 people to 42 people," Buentello said. "Having thrown some events and advertised for the deaf community, our members are from everywhere: Wichita, Hutchinson, Great Bend, Pratt, Newton, Valley Center, Park City, Marion and many surrounding areas."

In his first year of membership with HAD, Buentello said he suggested a change to the group's name and for the group to get a new logo – to give the new organization its own unique spark.

The Hutchinson Association of the Deaf voted for an official name change in 2016, becoming the Kansas South Central Association, after which Buentello said the organization got even bigger.

In November of 2016, Buentello said he campaigned and the group voted, naming him as 2017 president in January.

Buentello said his goals for the organization include approaching more exposure within the community, welcoming visitors, helping people who can hear to come and learn about deaf culture, being social and having some fun.

The official page for the Kansas South Central Association of the Deaf states, "without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community." Buentello said he loves that quote.

KSCAD plans on hosting a Leprechaun's Irish Dinner – a meeting, followed by a social with Irish dance, corned beef and cabbage and fun at 4 p.m. March 18 at Hunter's Landing, 200 W. 11th St. in Newton.

Proceeds of the event will benefit KSCAD and visitors should remember to wear something green.

Information on KSCAD and Deaf Night Out (DNO) can be found on Facebook. KSCAD can be contacted through Facebook messenger by emailing kscadprez@gmail.com.