BC Hands & Voices (BC H&V) was recently nominated for the Canada’s Volunteer Awards in the Social Innovator category. While BC H&V has learned that we were not a finalist for the award this year, the following is a letter written by a parent in support of the nomination, which shares some of her experiences with BC H&V and the positive impact we have had on her family. (This is an English translation of Ella’s letter of support. The original letter follows).
When I learned that BC Hands & Voices (BC H&V) would be nominated for the Canada’s Volunteer Awards in the Social Innovator category, I decided that I must write this support letter so you know about the positive impact BC H&V’s volunteer work has on me and my child.
When my daughter’s hearing loss was confirmed in mid-2015, I was sad and confused. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like a small boat drifting in the ocean, sinking any time. Later that year, I attended BC H&V’s annual Parent Workshop as suggested to me by a BC Early Hearing Program Parent Guide. At the Workshop, a UBC expert on deaf education talked about the importance and ways of building up deaf/hard of hearing children’s self-confidence, and establishing friendship with others. Another speaker was a deaf person with a Master’s Degree in Education.
I had never met any person/children with hearing loss before. At the Workshop, I witnessed that people with hearing loss can become successful professionals. The most important element is how the parent nurtures the child. I also had the opportunity to meet other families whose children have hearing loss. We talked about our stories, and we felt more confident in raising our deaf and hard of hearing children.
I attended the BC H&V’s Parent Workshop again the following year. I learned more about the stories of some young adults who have different hearing levels, and the valuable advice from their parents’ experiences raising them. I learned more about how to nurture my child. These veteran parents’ stories give me hope and encouragement. It gives me the confidence that I can also help my child to have a bright future.
Another speaker was an expert in deaf education. She talked about language, learning, reading and writing development of deaf/hard of hearing children and what parents can do. The presentation empowered me, and I feel more confident in raising my child with hearing loss.
Besides organizing helpful workshops for families, BC Hands & Voices is very thoughtful in running the workshop. Childcare is provided so that parents can focus on the presentations.
Although I have been around for a few years as an immigrant now, I do not know the other cities too well. My child’s hearing loss was also a blow to me at that time. So I was nervous to drive to a city that I was not familiar with to attend the Parent Workshop. When I told the BC H&V volunteer about my concern, she talked to the parent group right away, and they arranged to have a taxi take me to and back from the Workshop with the travel assistance for families they received from the Children’s Hospital. So it was a worry-free journey to the Workshop.
English is not my mother tongue, and I have difficulty understanding the presentations in English. BC H&V provided Chinese interpreting for me so I could follow the presentations. It has helped to boost my confidence in raising my child.
Besides organizing annual parent workshops, BC H&V also runs a fun family picnic in the summer. They provide food, entertainment by clowns or magicians and set up ball games so children from different age groups can pick what they like. Parents can talk with each other, share their stories and become empowered while children are playing together. I have noticed that my daughter has become happier, more confident, more willing to express herself and communicate with others after coming to these family events.
All these events are run by the BC H&V volunteers. The events are mostly free of charge. Only a symbolic amount is charged for some activities at the event. I know that BC H&V Board Members volunteer their time and fundraising efforts to make the parent workshop and family get-togethers possible to help us parents. And I am very grateful to them!
I hope that BC Hands & Voices will be awarded the Canada’s Volunteer Awards in the Social Innovator category and win the $5,000 that comes with the award. That will enable them to organize more events for us — families with deaf/hard of hearing children.
(Translated into English by Amy Ho)
Original Letter Follows in Simplified Chinese
BCHV Support Letter SC