B.C. Hands & Voices is a parent-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We are a parent/professional collaborative group that is unbiased towards communication modes and methods, believing that families will make the best choices for their children if they have access to good information and support. Our goal is to support families in achieving successful outcomes for their children. We believe: “What works for your child is what makes the choice right.”
We unequivocally condemn racism and prejudice of any kind. BC Hands & Voices has always strived to be a welcoming, inclusive, prejudice free, and anti-racist organization. No one person and no one organization is perfect and we will continue to listen and learn about these complex issues that face our members and our communities. Actions speak louder than words. The actions of BC Hands & Voices will endeavor to support and uplift all of our members.
Board of Directors
BC Hands & Voices’ board of directors is a diverse group of parents and professionals. We are mothers and fathers; we are hearing, hard of hearing and deaf adults; we are specialists in infant development, education and language – all working together to provide parents in BC the support they need. We feel very proud and honoured to be part of such a wonderful organization.
TERESA KAZEMIR and her husband have three children – the eldest is hard of hearing, with bilateral microtia and atresia. Teresa is a Speech-Language Pathologist, and is passionate about providing support for families of young children who are deaf and hard of hearing. She served on the Headquarters Board of Hands & Voices for 8 years, and continues to serve as a board member for BC Hands & Voices. Teresa works for BC Family Hearing Resource Centre as an early interventionist.
KIM SHAUER is the Coordinator of the BC Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program, a service offered as part of the BC Early Hearing Program. While raising a Deafblind child with health complexity, her family benefitted from participating in many support services which helped her become more informed and empowered while feeling less isolated. She is passionate about providing these opportunities for parent connection and support to families on their journeys and also enjoys collaborating with other organizations and stakeholders. Kim’s education and professional background is in Marketing Management and Conference/Event Planning and also trained as a Special Education Assistant.
AMY HO’s first language is Chinese. Having raised a daughter who was born with hearing challenges, she is familiar with the issues facing ESL families with children who have similar conditions. She has intimate knowledge of community resources and services that parents can use to help with their child’s development. As 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.
LISA CABLE lives in the Tri-Cities with her family. Her daughter is profoundly deaf and uses two cochlear implants. Lisa herself also has single-sided deafness and uses a CROS hearing aid. Joining the deaf and hard-of-hearing community when her daughter was born has been a wonderful and enriching experience for her. Being a part of the Hands & Voices board allows her to give back to other parents as they embark on their own journeys.
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 partner have two kids; her eldest wears a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. Her whole family is also currently learning ASL. She is thrilled to be a part of H&V, helping other families on the same journey.
JOY SANTOS is mom to Teanna, who is profoundly Deaf, and uses both a Cochlear Implant and hearing aid. Upon learning that her daughter was 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.
LEVI TRAXLER was born and raised in Ohio with his 4 siblings, 3 of whom are Deaf. He is profoundly Deaf and he completed his degree in Early Childhood Education at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. Soon after, he moved to Canada to join his wife. The couple recently welcomed their second child. Levi is currently working at Provincial Family Services under Provincial of Deaf / Hard of Hearing Services as a Family Navigator. He is enjoying his role as a father, husband, and a contributor to the community.
RABAB ELBAHARIA lives in Burnaby with her husband and three kids. Her youngest, Salma, has left sided severe mixed hearing loss with Microtia. Salma’s hearing loss was identified through the early hearing screening done at the hospital. Rabab’s first language is Arabic. Rabab has benefited greatly from the services offered by the BC Early Hearing Program and she is very grateful for the opportunity to give back and help other families. Rabab and her family are very keen to keep closely connected with BC’s deaf and hard of hearing community.
NICOLE EICH lives in the lower mainland with her partner and daughter, who is hard of hearing. She manages foundation granting and charitable giving programs, and believes in giving back to the community. Her family uses speech and ASL to communicate and has benefited greatly from being involved in their local Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Nicole has been the Editing Coordinator for BC Hands & Voices since 2017.
SUSAN LANE worked in early intervention for 32 years, supporting families of deaf and hard of hearing children both directly and indirectly. Prior to her retirement in 2015, Susan was the Intervention Coordinator for the BC Early Hearing Program for several years. Throughout her career Susan believed in the importance of parent-led organizations that provide support and information to parents of young deaf and hard of hearing children and advocate on behalf of families. She is happy to support BC Hands & Voices as a volunteer editor for our various publications.
NORA MALDONADO and her husband have two children – the eldest is Deaf, has a cochlear implant, and uses ASL to communicate. Nora has worked both locally and abroad with refugees, speaks Spanish as a second language, and now works in Public Health. Nora aims to “meet families where they’re at” – using an approach that respects values, goals, lived experience, and culture when helping families map a path forward.
TERRY TYLKA has enjoyed being a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and recently retired from active teaching after 48 years! A graduate of UBC, she has worked with children from birth to university age, and their families, in a variety of settings. She has always believed that family-centered care and teamwork are the basis for success. Working in early intervention programs has been especially close to her heart. Terry is enjoying her retirement with her family, and loves participating in the lives of her three beautiful grandchildren. She is happy to volunteer her time as an editor for BC Hands and Voices and continue to learn from H&V families.
MICHELLE CHRISTENSEN is a dedicated mother to two young boys. Her youngest has unilateral hearing loss due to the absence of an auditory nerve on his right side, identified through newborn screening. When they received this news, Michelle and her family found valuable support and knowledge through various deaf and hard of hearing organizations. Motivated by her own experiences, she is committed to helping others in similar situations. As an experienced accountant, her role as BC Hands and Voices Treasurer fits well with her mission of providing families the information and support they need to best help their deaf and hard of hearing children.