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.”
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 with hearing loss. She sits on the board of BC Hands & Voices as well as the National/International board of Hands & Voices. Teresa works for BC Family Hearing Resource Centre as an early interventionist.
KIM SHAUER and her husband have two school-aged children – the youngest is deaf/hard of hearing with additional complex medical needs. Kim is the Coordinator of the Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program, a service offered as part of the BC Early Hearing Program. She 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.
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.
JEN GOW lives in North Vancouver with her family. She has two young daughters; while the eldest hears naturally, the youngest is deaf and hears with the help of two cochlear implants. Her daughter’s hearing loss was identified through the newborn screening program. From those earliest days, BC Hands & Voices has been an invaluable resource to Jen and her family. Jen is thrilled to now be able to contribute to this charity, helping to connect and empower other families who have kids with hearing loss.
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 have two kids; Her eldest wears a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid and uses spoken language. Her whole family is also currently learning ASL. She is thrilled to be a part of H&V and 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 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.
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. Levi is now working at BC Family Hearing Resource Society as an Early Child Educator and Deaf Role Model. He is the newest board member of BC Hands & Voices and is looking forward to doing what he can to contribute to the community.
LEE JOHNSTON and her partner live in New Westminster with their daughter, who has bilateral mild/moderate sensorineural hearing loss and wears hearing aids. Since her daughter was diagnosed at three months of age, Lee has welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the spectrum of hearing loss and Deaf culture, and considers herself fortunate to have been introduced to many amazing parents and professionals working in the field. She has learned some ASL to assist her daughter with sign-supported speech and is looking forward to becoming more fluent in the future. Lee has a background in communications and research in the field of public health, and is thrilled to have an opportunity to give back to the community through her work with Hands & Voices.
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. She is also a Parent Guide with Guide By Your Side.