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.

March 18, 2021
In response to the shootings and untimely death of 8 people in North Georgia, 6 of who were Asian and all women, California Hands & Voices is grieving the loss of life and acts of injustice. 
We recognize that across the nation and in our state of California, there has been a rise in incidents against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) since the Pandemic hit the United States. As a community, we acknowledge the lasting effects and traumatic impact that this may have on families that are connected to our organization. Our hearts are with the victims in Georgia, this past year, and beyond, as well as their families, friends, and community they touch.
Below are some resources for parents, caregivers, and professionals to better understand our Asian and Pacific Islander Children and Families and the impact that COVID-19 has had on the APIA community. 
PTA.ORG- Asian American Children and Families
MGH Institute of Health Professions- Let’s Talk! Supporting Asian and Asian American Students through COVID-19
Society for Research in Child Development- Supporting Asian/Asian American Children and Youth during the COVID-19 Pandemic
We at California Hands & Voices extend our care and compassion. We are grieving WITH you and we are here to support you.
Rosabel Agbayani, MPH
President- California Hands & Voices

In tonight's parent break out (during the LEAD-K Family Services webinar), so many expressed the need for more emotional support in navigating their child's identification.

Some expressed that during this time of COVID it is exceptionally difficult.

"I hope you know our community of parents is here for you. On your good days and on your bad days. We get it, we've been in those trenches too, and we aren't afraid to crawl back in and go through it side by side with you.

I shared this resource, because of the healing effects it had on my grieving mama heart. And helped me process all I was going through. "The Silent Garden by Paul Ogden. A couple of weeks after finishing the book I had the honor and surprise of meeting Paul in person. I burst into tears of gratitude.

We are here for you, your CA H&V regional reps are here for you, our members are here for you." 

Quote from Johanna Wonderly. 
ASTra Coordinator (Advocacy program)  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CaliforniaHandsandVoices

May be an image of 4 people, including Johanna Wonderly, people standing and flower

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.

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 Cora Shahid
15274 Andorra Way
San Diego CA 92129


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