Guide By Your Side is a Hands & Voices program that is offered free to families in British Columbia as part of the BC Early Hearing Program.
What is Guide By Your Side?
In BC, our GBYS program consists of a Coordinator, and a team of Parent and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides. Some of the Guides live in large metropolitan areas, and some live in more remote communities. Among them they have a wealth of personal experience raising children who are deaf and hard of hearing, or growing up as deaf or hard of hearing themselves. Some of the Guides have children with other needs in addition to hearing loss, and we have a few Guides who are familiar with a number of cultures and more than one language.
The Power of Parent to Parent Support & the Role of the Parent Guide
Every family with a child who is deaf or hard of hearing has a different story to tell, yet we all share a common bond. Parent Guides understand the importance of parents supporting and learning from one another. Families who are just beginning the journey can learn from experienced parents – the challenges as well as the joys of raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Looking back, many parents regret that they did not connect with other parents sooner.
Guide By Your Side Parent Guides are there to support families by listening and sharing stories about their own experiences raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Parent Guides can also share practical advice a parent learns over the years (e.g. how did we keep those hearing aids on our baby’s ears and out of his mouth?).
Parent Guides are trained to support families without bias towards any particular communication approach (e.g. oral, sign, cued speech, combined methods, etc.). We believe in the Hands & Voices slogan, “What works for your child is what makes the choice right.”
More about DHH Guides
DHH Guides are Deaf or hard of hearing adult role models who provide families with invaluable perspectives that come from personal, lived experience. They are uniquely qualified and trained to provide parents with a positive and hopeful perspective from their day-to-day, real life experiences.
DHH Guide role models give parents the opportunity to ask questions such as “How do you enjoy music? What careers are suitable for people who are deaf/hard of hearing? If you were teased, how did you handle it? Why is it so important to point out all the sounds in our world if our child most likely won’t hear them?”and much more.
Who is Eligible for the Guide By Your Side program?
In British Columbia, Guide By Your Side is offered to families of infants and very young children recently found to have hearing loss through newborn hearing screening. For more information, please contact the Parent Coordinator of the Guide By Your Side program: email@example.com.
Parent to parent support for families of older children is available through early intervention agencies and parent organizations. For more information, please contact BC Hands & Voices: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet our Parent Guides
Simrit Judge and her husband have 3 children- the youngest hears naturally and the oldest has a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and wears hearing aids in both ears and has other additional needs. Coming from a multi cultural family she has overcome the challenges of questions and concerns people in her community have had and has therefore been able to talk to other families in similar situations. Simrit lives in Surrey, works 2 days a week and joined Guide By Your Side as a Parent Guide in 2014. She loves to talk to families and offer parent to parent support.
Terri Dauvin lives and works in the Prince George area with her husband and two teenage girls. Her oldest daughter has a bilateral moderate to severe mixed hearing loss and wears hearing aids in both ears. Her daughter was identified as hard of hearing at the age of five as she was born prior to the start of the newborn hearing screening. Terri is a Parent Guide with the Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program. She enjoys connecting with families and also sits on the board for the Northern BC Children and Families Hearing Society.
Lisa Bayko lives in Surrey B.C. with her fiancé and three sons. Lisa’s oldest son Travis has mild-moderate sensorineural hearing loss bilaterally. Travis’s hearing loss was identified through the early hearing screening done at the hospital. He was also diagnosed with Pendred Syndrome. Lisa joined Guide By Your Side as a Parent Guide in 2013. She loves speaking with families and offering parent to parent support.
JOY SANTOS is mom to Teanna, who is profoundly Deaf, and uses both a Cochlear Implant and hearing aid. Upon learning that her daughter is Deaf, Joy immediately took an interest in learning more about the subject. She picked up American Sign Language and involved herself in the community. Joy currently runs a Family Childcare in Richmond, and is a licensed Early Childhood Educator. As a board member, she is excited to be with a group of positive and proactive individuals, and enjoys being affiliated with an open-minded organization that focuses on supporting the well-being of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
CATHERINE KALCHBRENNER joined the BC Hands and Voices team as the administrative assistant though she’s also a parent guide with the “Guide by Your Side” Program. She takes care of many behind-the-scenes tasks, such as sending out email announcements, updating the website, and managing the membership database. Catherine has a background in International Business along with some teaching experience. Catherine and her husband Uwe have a son and a daughter. Lia wears a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid and is doing wonderfully in Grade 1. She is thrilled to be a part of H&V and helping other families on the same journey.
AMY HO’s first language is Chinese. Having raised a daughter born with profound hearing loss, she is familiar with the challenges facing ESL families with children who have a hearing loss. She has intimate knowledge of community resources and services that parents can use to help with their child’s development. A parent guide with the GBYS program and fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, Amy is ready to share her knowledge and experience with parents facing similar challenges.
KIM SHAUER and her husband have two school-aged children – the youngest has a bilateral severe, mixed hearing loss (sensorineural & conductive) plus additional complex medical needs. Kim is the Parent & Regional Coordinator for the Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program and is passionate about providing parent-to-parent support opportunities, as well as connecting families to resources. Kim’s background is in Marketing Communications and Conference/Event Planning and she is also trained as a Special Educational Assistant.
Meet our DHH Guides
Jesse Kazemir is a hard of hearing student and musician. He has a bilateral, severe rising to moderate conductive hearing loss, and wears two BAHAs (Bone Anchored Hearing Aids). He is a third year systems engineering student at Simon Fraser University. Jesse plays the fiddle and guitar (among other various instruments) and plays in different groups around the lower mainland. He enjoys sharing his experiences as a hard of hearing individual and helping families any
way he can.
CHRISTY JEFFREY Hailing from Ontario, Christy is a culturally Deaf individual who communicates mainly in American Sign Language. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Gallaudet University (the world’s only liberal arts college for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people) and a Master’s degree in Bilingual Deaf Education from McDaniel College. She lives in Langley with her Deaf husband, Scott and their three pets: two senior cats and a rambunctious puppy. She works as
a high school English teacher at the British Columbia Provincial School for the Deaf (BCSD). During her free time, Christy can be found volunteering and advocating for Deaf Youth. Christy absolutely loves getting lost in a good book and going on adventures around the world with her husband.
MONIQUE LES was born with a profound, bilateral hearing loss due to rubella contracted by her mother during pregnancy. She was fitted with hearing aids at the age of 6 months and received a cochlear implant at the age of 17. Monique is excited to share her story growing up Deaf and Hard of Hearing with families. Monique holds a Masters degree in Criminology from SFU, and has worked for the
Federal and Provincial governments. Monique lives in beautiful Victoria, BC with her husband, toddler and newborn. She is currently loving being a stay at home mom and advocate on hearing loss issues.
BOWEN TANG is one of the four new Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides with the Guide By Your Side Program. He was born in Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver in 1998 (can’t believe it will be 18 years already!). He has a profound hearing loss in both ears, using hearing aid and a cochlear implant. In addition to being a Guide, Bowen is a Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He also co-founded a Youth Peer Support Program to support deaf and hard of hearing youth in their navigation of academic and social lives in secondary and post-secondary institution. Furthermore, he is involved in a board member capacity with several organizations, one of which is International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People. In his spare time (if I find some), Bowen loves to catch-up on TV series and movies, hang out with friends, and above all, travel!