2018 President’s Report

President’s Report – reflecting on 2018

The Board

  • Lee Johnston (President), Jen Gow (Vice-president), Teresa Kazemir (Past-president; Secretary), and Amy Ho (Treasurer) formed the executive for this past year. Kim Shauer continued to serve as our GBYS Coordinator, and Dan Braun, Rabab Elbaharia, and Joy Santos rounded out our board. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our board members for the donation of their time over the past year.
  • The board would also like to extend our thanks to Catherine Kalchbrenner for her administrative support.
  • Jenny Hatton stepped down from the board this year although she will continue to volunteer at some of our events. We thank her for her years of service to BC Hands & Voices (BC H&V).

Past Year’s Accomplishments
Board Meetings:

March 5, 2018 – AGM
Monthly board meetings: April, May, June (exec only), September, October, November, December (exec only) & January


  • Council of Service Providers (meet 3 X per year)
  • Coalition of Parent Organizations (BC H&V, CHHA, and FNDC)
  • BCEHP’s DHH Advisory Committee


  • In Oct 2018, BC H&V GBYS Coordinator Kim presented on BC Hands & Voices events and the GBYS program to Early Interventionists who provide direct services to deaf/hard of hearing babies around the province identified through BCEHP newborn screening program. Her talk focused on parents’ feedback received through a Needs Assessment conducted by H&V Headquarters that parents of d/hh children 0-6 years old want parent-to-parent support and DHH role model support to be offered at various points in their journey, not only at the beginning as they are ready at different times. Service providers can re-offer GBYS support & encourage benefits of connecting with BC H&V.   She also spoke about our events happening in different areas of the province and parent evenings offered via remote conferencing services to parents living in outreach areas or those who are unable to attend in person for other reasons.

Participation with Hands & Voices HQ:

  • Kim and Amy travelled to Wyoming for the Leadership conference in Sept 2018.
  • Teresa attended three board meetings and served as secretary for the HQ board. She stepped down from the HQ board at the end of 2018, after serving for 8 years.
  • Lee participated in three chapter network calls
  • Lee and Kim participated in three Canadian regional calls (Kim continues to be the Regional Coordinator for Canada).


Event Date Topic # of attendees TOTAL
Coffee Night Jan 29 Use of Technology for DHH individuals 18
AGM/ Parent Evening March 5 Open Topic 12
Family Play Day (bouncy castle) May 5 Family Play Day (bouncy castle) 49
Fun Family Picnic June 16 Family Picnic 245
Summer Get-Together- Victoria Aug 13 5
Summer Get-Together- New Westminster Aug 20 21
Summer Get-Together- Prince George Aug 21 8
Halloween Play Day Oct 28 66


  • We continued in our tradition of partnering with Family Community Services, Family Network for Deaf Children and Canadian Hard of Hearing Parents’ Branch to host our sixth annual family picnic in June, which attracted nearly 250 people. We look forward to co-hosting this year’s picnic!  
  • We were turned down for our gaming grant application but have placed an appeal. The application was a tremendous amount of work and we hope the groundwork will help us be successful in future applications. Thank you to Jen for taking the lead on that project.
  • The book committee continues to work on our collection of local stories. They have been working with Deaf consultants to identify articles for inclusion and gaps that will need to be addressed. Thank you to the committee for the many hours put into this project.
  • We updated our bylaws and registered according to the Province’s New Society Act.

Newsletters and Communication:

  • Monthly electronic newsletters sent (with one original article most months (10/12), as well as an article from our archives, a helpful link, a featured board member or parent guide, and news about local events).
  • E-newsletter subscribers went up by 15.24% (223 up to 257)
  • Facebook likes to our page increased by 13.55% (273 up to 310)
  • Quarterly submissions to the H&V Communicator.
  • Our BC “insert” mailed out to paid members with Communicators 4 times per year.


  • Our number of eligible voting members remains strong (257).
  • Premier memberships (those who pay a nominal fee to receive the quarterly Hands & Voices newspaper) went up by 9.52% (21 up to 23).

Families served:

  • BC H&V parents/board members provided consultation and feedback to new materials being developed for parents by the BC Early Hearing Program, including GBYS info sheet, video about GBYS in ASL with captioning,  and Parent Information Guide (replacing the large parent binder previously provided).  – these will all go onto the new BCEHP website currently under revision.
  • Approx. 80 families were referred to the GBYS program in 2018   

We would not have been able to accomplish all that we have over the past year without donations and grants. We want to recognize and thank the following organizations for their funding and in-kind support:

  • The BC Early Hearing Program for the use of the conference line, and support for our events & activities, as well as housing & funding our GBYS program.
  • Children’s Hearing & Speech Centre of BC, BC Family Hearing Resource Centre, the Well-Being Program, BC School for the Deaf, Deaf Children’s Society and PDHHS for the use of their facilities for our meetings and coffee nights and/or assistance in promoting our events to their staff and clients.
  • Thank you to all of those who have made individual donations to BC Hands & Voices.
  • A special thank you to our parent volunteers: Leigh Chan took on role of organizing volunteers at the big picnic; Katherine Foo assisted with registration & food at picnic; Nicole Eich for her help with editing and newsletter assistance.
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