Welcome to the California Hands & Voices Blog!

We are delighted you are here! We will use this site to keep our members up to date on what’s happening within California Hands & Voices and other related news. Check back often! In addition to this site, our CA Hands & Voices Facebook group is a great online community where you can network with professionals and families raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing children throughout California. We also invite you to visit the Hands & Voices Blog.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to the many who provided financial support to California Hands & Voices in 2020. 
We are humbled and thankful that you our financial contribution because it allows our unfunded organization the ability to operate.
In 2020 we received donations via
  • FB Birthday fundraisers
  • Amazon Smile link
  • End of the Year donations
  • Giving Tuesday
  • Our Website
  • Benevity
  • CA H&V Birthday Annual Drive
Donations make a positive impact on our organization and the families we serve right here in California.
We also want to express our appreciation to everyone who has donated their time and skills to California Hands & Voices.
Volunteers ....
  • Submit articles to The H&V Communicator
  • Share their story on the CA H&V website
  • Host restaurant fundraiser / event in their community
  • Volunteer at our three Family Camps.
  • Serve as our Webmaster, ASTra Advocate, Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Serve on a Committee and as the Executive Director.
In addition to volunteering, your active participation on social media, referrals, and paid memberships are other powerful ways that you make a difference in our organization every single day.
Thanks for volunteering and giving our organization the most precious thing you will ever own – your time and talent.
I look back at 2020 and just wow. We started our year off with our Level 1, 8 hour advocacy course in Sacramento, CA where 30 Parents, Advocates, and Professionals gathered all in one room together in person to learn how to create powerful IEPs that honored the Unique Needs of Our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. Little did we know that a month later the entire world would change. Schools closed for most of the state in March, IEPs were being canceled, Transition IFSPs were stopped, our individual Advocacy referrals stopped coming in. However, our advocates did not stop. They began hopping on every webinar available to them, scouring their resources, helping establish best practices for DHH children in Virtual Learning and sending resources out to every SELPA in our state, so when our parents began asking for accommodations for distance learning, it wouldn’t be the first time the district had heard this might be needed. In July, individual advocacy services became necessary again. Our team of advocates navigated 15 families through the IEP process during 2020. In October We raised just over $900 to support the ASTra operations budget. Presently our Advocacy Support & Training Program is an unfunded program.
As we look towards 2021, We are looking at hosting our level 1 training as a 4-8 week Online Series. We are revamping our ASTra referral process to make it easier for parents to get connected with an advocate. We are looking ahead to secure ongoing funding for our ASTra program. Our volunteer advocates donate their time, talent and resources. With funding we can provide transportation for Advocates to be physically present at IEP meetings, we can dedicate office hours to meet with parents to go over advocacy related needs, we can support more families. With 17,000 Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in California, we have a goal to increase our capacity to serve 45 families state wide during the year. We can only do that with the support of our community. We hope to be able to expand our individual advocacy services so that our advocates can be available to more families so that All California Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children can reach their highest potential.
Johanna Wonderly 
ASTra Coordinator, Region 2 Area Representative
California Hands & Voices 
ASTra website

Update from Nancy Grosz Sager
Coordinator for the O.U.R. Project in CA.
2020 was a weird year for all of us, to say the least.
The 2020 O.U.R. Toy Story Quilt was finished, and was supposed to be presented at the Southern California California Hands & Voices camp in May, but the camp was sadly canceled because of COVID. Next year!!!
O.U.R had three webinars during COVID. First, on April 14, Jennifer Johnson of the Child Safety Collaborative presented a webinar called “Promoting Emotional Safety During Uncertain Times.” Times were uncertain, but we had NO IDEA how long things would be uncertain. Here we are in December and the Stay-at-home order is still in place! In September and October, Erika Leonard of Kidpower presented a two-part workshop on “Bullying” - including cyber-bullying. And on December 2, Cora Shahid (California) and Beth Jones (Nevada) presented a workshop on “Fostering Joy” for Hands & Voices Region 9.
Cora Shahid and/or Nancy Sager have been able to participate in the monthly O.U.R. Zoom calls. In November, Nancy Sager presented to the O.U.R. Group about the process for planning for an O.U.R. Webinar.

The California Hands & Voices O.U.R. Web page continues to be updated by Cora Shahid, Johanna Wonderly, and our webmaster, Sherry Freitas.
Dear California Hands & Voices Family,
Happy New Year! I hope that everyone has had a chance to rest and recover from the unprecedented year that we have had in 2020. In the past year many of us were forced to deal with unexpected changes. For our children, especially our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, they needed our guidance at a critical point in time to help them adapt and transform their home and learning environments. Kudos to you for consistently pivoting to the vast changes, hanging in there, advocating, and learning new skills! Your resilience is a model that will leave a lasting impression. For families who have experienced a loss, whether it's financial, spiritual, or human, we have been challenged to see beyond our current obstacles and hold on to the hope that no loss is in vain and that everything serves its purpose. My heartfelt care and compassion goes out to all of our families in need. Lastly, the world as we knew it has changed and we are no longer able to ignore the injustice some of us experience first hand. I hope that amidst the feelings of unrest and wherever you stand on the spectrum, that you know that California Hands & Voices is here for you to provide non-judgemental support, and that you feel that this is a safe space for you and your family. 
Moving forward! This is what I have been looking forward to saying!  As an organization, California Hands & Voices is dedicated to supporting all families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in a respectful and non-judgmental manner regarding language opportunities, communication tools or educational approaches. Because we are a Parent-Driven organization, we understand that the priorities of our families may have shifted. Along with that shift, we want to create opportunities for us to better understand your needs and how we can help you connect to the meaningful resources, networks, and information that improve communication access and educational outcomes for your children. We will be taking a closer look at our organization and in our leadership to focus on opportunities to infuse Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the work we already do. We intend to expand our outreach to find innovative opportunities to reach out to our most vulnerable populations including those individuals from underrepresented populations who reflect the rich diversity in our communities. We are on this journey together, and we hope you will give us an opportunity to learn from you. 
I am so honored to serve as your President of California Hands & Voices and I am so proud of our team who breathe life into our organization. We are looking to expand our team to provide increased outreach, improve the quality of services for our existing programs, and strengthen our connections to the community. If you have a talent to share and are interested in becoming a part of California Hands & Voices, please reach out to . No talent, time, or treasure is insignificant and no matter what we will find a space for you to be involved and feel included! WE NEED YOU TO GUIDE US IN OUR JOURNEY so that we can live out our mission to provide outreach activities, parent/professional collaboration, and advocacy efforts focused on enabling ALL children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing to reach their highest potential. 
Thank you for being a part of our California Hands & Voices Family! I wish everyone a Happy and Peaceful New Year! 
Rosabel Agbayani, MPH
California Hands & Voices Board President

We look forward to another busy and productive year ahead serving you.

On behalf of everyone at California Hands & Voices, I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year. This has been a challenging year with the weight of a global pandemic impacting each of us but it's also been a year that has included victories, milestones and moments of joy. 

The success and growth of California Hands & Voices has been extraordinary to witness year after year. That success is due to the support of our members, our volunteers and the many donors and stakeholders who support our work. I would like to personally thank you for your support, trust and encouragement.

As always, we are here for you and want to hear from you. Our parent driven origination is motivated by our goal that our support and services, collaborative relationships, advocacy efforts provide families with resources so that Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in California can reach their highest potential and to ensure that no family walks this journey alone. 

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and successful 2021!  

Cora Shahid
Executive Director
California Hands & Voices



With every end, comes a new beginning. Fill this New Year with great memories, and continue to pursue your dreams and aspirations.

About CA Hands & Voices

California Hands & Voices is dedicated to supporting families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in a respectful and non-judgmental manner regarding language opportunities, communication tools or educational approaches. We’re a parent-driven, non-profit organization providing families with the resources, networks, and information to improve communication access and educational outcomes for their children.

Support ♥

California Hands & Voices is a non-profit organization that depends on the support of its members to succeed. Please consider donating or becoming a member.

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Contact Us


California Hands & Voices
c/o Kat Lowrance
2844 Gunn Ct.
Redding, CA. 96001-5484, USA


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