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. As a parent of deaf/hard of hearing child with additional needs, 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 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 husband, two children and their dog, Ninja. 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 husband 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 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 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. Levi is now working at BC Family Hearing Resource Society as an Early Child Educator and Deaf Role Model. He is looking forward to doing what he can to contribute 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. She is also a Parent Guide with Guide By Your Side.
SAGE KUZMINSKI lives on the West coast with her husband and two daughters. She is a primary teacher who is currently at home with her young kids. Her eldest was identified through the Early Hearing Program as profoundly deaf and started using bilateral cochlear implants at one year old. Sage’s family has enjoyed learning and using American Sign Language together for the past five years. They have loved attending Hornby Island Family Deaf Camp and other events where they can meet families and practice their sign language! Sage is currently a volunteer editor for Hands and Voices and loves staying connected with the 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 a volunteer editor for the BC Hands & Voices newsletter for 4 years.