By Lee Johnston
The BC Hands & Voices AGM – held this year on March 5th – always provides an opportunity to reflect and take pride in all our organization has accomplished over the past year. In this month’s article we’re sharing some highlights from the president’s report on our past year’s activities. We hope you’ve enjoyed being part of the extended Hands & Voices family, and look forward to another year of serving families of Deaf and hard of hearing children aged 0-5!
The BC H&V Board
The board has remained fairly stable this year after saying good bye to some longer-term members in the years previous. Teresa Kazemir stepped into the secretary’s role and will continue acting in the role as past president for one more year, offering invaluable support to the new leadership team. Lee Johnston and Jen Gow will be completing the second of their 2 year term commitments as President and Vice-president respectively, and Amy Ho will continue on in her role as treasurer after doing an outstanding job in this area for the past year. Kim Shauer will continue as our amazing GBYS Coordinator, and Jenny Hatton, Joy Santos, Dan Braun, and our newest addition Rabab Elbaharia will continue to serve on the board for this upcoming year. We’re happy to have such a diverse and dedicated group of parents and professionals on our team!
Past Year’s Accomplishments
The H&V board has been busy since hosting last year’s AGM, which featured a discussion on traveling with Deaf/Hard of Hearing children. On top of 7 board meetings and our annual all day retreat, board representatives joined in on Hands & Voices headquarter calls, local meetings of the Council of Service Providers, and the Coalition of Parent Organizations (BC H&V, CHHA, and FNDC).
BC H&V parents also participated on a panel for the BC Early Hearing Program Newborn Hearing Screener training in April 2017, providing feedback on their screening experience and particularly on improving how they communicate with parents. In May of last year, Teresa & Jen (along with another parent Bobbi Taylor) presented at a conference for Teacher of the DHH/Hearing Resource teachers. In the fall, Kim presented on both GBYS Program & BC Hands & Voices events to audiologists.
On top of that, we hosted the following events for parents of DHH kids:
|EVENT||DATE||TOPIC (if applicable)|
|Coffee Night||Jan 23||Mild/ Moderate Hearing Levels|
|AGM/ Workshop||March 6||Traveling with Your Deaf/ Hard of Hearing Child|
|Coffee Night||April 24||Deaf Culture|
|Coffee Night||May 29th||Microtia/ Atresia|
|June picnic||June 17||Family Fun picnic|
|Summer get-together (Chinese Families)||July 29th|
|Summer get-together||August 22|
|Coffee Night||Sept 28||Sleep time Strategies|
|Fall Parent Workshop||Nov 4||Growing Up with Hands & Voices|
|Coffee Night||Nov 27||Unilateral Hearing|
|Coffee Night||Jan 29||Use of Technology for DHH individuals|
Through our monthly electronic newsletter we distributed original articles written by board members and special guests, as well as favourites from our archives, a helpful link, a profile of a featured board member or parent guide, and news about local events – to over 200 members! We continued to provide quarterly submissions to the Hand & Voices Communicator, which we distributed to paid members 4 times a year.
Perhaps our proudest accomplishment is the fact that the BC H&V Guide by Your Side program continues to support families across BC with both Parent Guides and DHH Guides. Approximately 70 families over this past year were put in touch with understanding parents and role models.
Last and certainly not least, 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 and activities, as well as housing and funding our GBYS program.
- Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre of BC, BC Family Hearing Resource Centre, the Deaf Well-Being Program for the use of their facilities for our meetings and coffee nights.
- Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre of BC for use of their facilities for our fall workshop and childcare.
- And all of the board members, volunteers and staff for their donations as well as their participation and dedication over the past year.
And most of all, we’d like to thank the families who have joined H&V as members, come out to our events, and engaged with us over the past year. We look forward to serving you for the year to come!
- The BC H&V Board