Beaming Hands and Voices

We had a very successful BC Hands & Voices (H&V) Family Social on Sunday, May 31. There were 49 people there, a chattering crowd that included parents, grandparents, children, H&V Committee members, and other volunteers. Children were everywhere, giggling and chattering.Several attendees commented upon the feeling of instant connection they felt with others who had raised or are raising children with hearing loss. A grandmother excitedly described how she felt the entire “room was buzzing – you could just feel it!”

One parent commented that she found it easier to discuss things with other parents who also had children with hearing loss that she could not or would not ask medical professionals. Another parent commented, “There are so many children – I thought mine was the only one.” It was the discovery of a new community that could figure importantly in the days to come.It was a scorching hot Sunday afternoon, so the air-conditionedrooms were crowded as nobody ventured out into the blazing parking lot. Parents were everywhere with their little ones; young mothers pushing strollers of wide-eyed babies and affectionate dads rocking their toddlers. A parent witnessed “two dads [who] were just talking so intensely.” Late in the afternoon, I espied one father tenderly watching over his sleeping son.

Overall, it was a fun, enjoyable day for the children with family sketches, nametags with colourful stickers, face painting — and lots and lots of food! Therewas so much food leftover that the cleanup crew wrapped up bundles of bread, cheese, and hams for some families to take home. Parents also deemed the day a success, a day of fun as well as a unique opportunity to connect with other parents of young children with hearing loss. One attendee summed up the whole day in a short statement: “You could tell everybody was just there to takein everything they could and to have fun.”

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