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.

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.

Please join us in welcoming two new members to the California Hands & Voices Board! 
Brianna Meshke McLay (Oceanside)  and Elizabeth Harlan (Lakeside) will be Co-Representatives for San Diego/Imperial County (Area 8). 
We are so excited to have you both a part of the team!

More information will soon be released about both Brianna and Elizabeth. 

Rosabel Agbayani was hired as the Hands & Voices Consultant for Underserved Populations. Congratulations Rosabel. 
If you have any suggestions, comments, resources that touch on outreach to our Underserved Populations (referring to race, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation, family structure, and socioeconomic status)  or would like to be involved please reach out to Hands & Voices directly at

Click Link to September 21, 2020 Press Release

Press Release: 9-21-2020 from Hands & Voices Headquarters 

I am humbled by this opportunity to serve Hands & Voices as the Consultant for Underserved Populations.  I am so excited to have this opportunity to blend my life’s experience with my career in helping others.  As I have been preparing for the important work to be done, I've spent some time reflecting on why I am here and what I hope to accomplish in my role as the Consultant for Underserved populations. 

We are in a period of time right now where things are moving and paused at the same time.  This is forcing all of us to look at things from a different perspective.  We are all witnessing how institutions like healthcare and education have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and it has forced both systems to react to the circumstance and rebuild the way services are delivered.  Hands & Voices as an organization are also called to look at the families we serve and find opportunities for us to strengthen our capacity to support our chapters, give families meaningful resources, and seek out ways that we can show that we understand how difficult this time is for everyone especially our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community. 

As a public health professional, I look at the community in terms of Health Equity.  Equity should not be confused with Equality.  Equality emphasizes everyone gets their equal share, however EQUITY breaks down those silos that divide ourselves within a community and makes sure that everyone gets what they need.  Fairness and Equity requires us to look closely at those social determinants of health and make a conscious effort to include those in underrepresented populations (e.g. rural, urban, race, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation, family structure, and socioeconomic status) that can influence a community’s ability to access the necessary resources and support for successful and healthy human development.  Health equity is more than one intervention; it’s a lens through which all of our work in human services should be viewed.

Over the next 4 years, Hands & Voices 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. Hands & Voices has established the Gold Standard for supporting families with children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  We want to expand our outreach and continue to support our local chapter leaders to find those opportunities to reach out to our Underrepresented Populations.  Everyone deserves an opportunity to find the gift of being connected to Hands & Voices.  Here at Hands & Voices we want every family of a Deaf or Hard of Hearing child, at all stages of their journey, in all walks of life, to know that they BELONG in our community and we are here to support, encourage, and empower them the best way we know how! 

Contact Rosabel at 

Thank you to Erika Leonard & kidpower.  
October 9th 2020 

We cannot thank you enough for your two-part workshop on Bullying Prevention and Healthy Relationship Skills. The parents and the teachers who participated learned so much. The 5-step process to stop bullying and unwanted touching was realistic and easy to teach to children. It was simple to see how the process could be adapted to a child of any age or communicative ability. We appreciate that the skills are taught in a “coaching” manner. One of the parents who attended told us that she had already observed her child putting the skills into practice! The presentation style was easy to relate to, and the visuals and the movies were great. 

For more information on kidpower please visit their website at https://www.kidpower.org/

If you are interested in collaborating with California Hands & Voices we would love to hear from you. 

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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