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.

Attention Professional

California Hands & Voices would like to thank you for working diligently to support families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in new and innovative ways due to Covid-19. This has been a challenging period of time for everyone. Most importantly we hope that you and your family are healthy and safe. If we can support you in anyway please do not hesitate to contact us. Today. Next Month. Next Year. We are here!

Over the last few weeks we have heard from families at various stages of the journey. Some of the concerns that families have shared include:
  • Feelings of isolation and confusion.  
  • Concerned about how their DHH child will access distance learning. 
  • Upcoming appointments cancelled. (Audiology etc.)
  • Families are in need of everyday support not related to DHH. (food, money...)
  • etc.
We are honored to provide both emotional support and the resources that can help families through this period of uncertainty. 
Please contact us if know a family who would benefit from connecting with another parent. We have a referral form directly on our  website

We have hosted several virtual events over the last few weeks. If your families are experiencing a particular area of need that we may be able to focus on in an upcoming webinar we would love to hear from you. 

Professionals and Parents are invited to become a member click to become a member or you can join our mailing list (free)  click to join our mailing list.
Attached: California Hands & Voices flyer (English/Spanish) (those reading our blog can contact us for copies of the flyers. 
Hands & Voices Covid-19 resources:     visit today 
Making Online and Phone Meetings Accessible.     click to download
Children's Safety Toolkit. Please share this with parents and professionals http://handsandvoices.org/resources/OUR/index.htm
Connect via social media:  click to see the many options

Follow  Instagram @DHHFosteringJoy and use #DHHFosteringJoy
Fostering Joy is a family/professional effort celebrating the joy of raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH). More info on Fostering Joy and how to get involved please visit:  the H&V website.
Parent-Professional collaboration is part of our mission and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with you. If you are not familiar with California Hands & Voices we hope you will take a moment to visit our website.   History, Mission and Vision.

Thank you again for your dedication to DHH children. We will get through this together.

Cora Shahid
Executive Director, California Hands & Voices

The upcoming ASTra training in Sacramento on February 8th.  We are hosting a one day/ 8 hour class for parents, professionals and community members to increase knowledge and skills to advocate for their own child, and/or students they work with. The Hands & Voices ASTra Program is designed to empower parents, promote self-advocacy of students, and build collaboration between families and schools. More information will be released soon or contact the Coordinator at  for more information. 

Complete details and to register please visit https://cahandsandvoices.org/family-support/astra


Dear California Hands & Voices Community,

On November 10, 2019 the California Hands & Voices Board met to discuss the vision and strategic plan for our organization.  In addition to those activities, a consensus decision was made to allow Apryl Chauhan and Cora Shahid to pass along the roles and responsibilities as President and Vice-President to a newly elected leadership team.  This transfer of leadership has now become effective. The following is a message from both the former and incoming leaders of California Hands & Voices:

Apryl Chauhan- California Hands & Voices Former President 

As we head into a new year, the time has come for an exciting change in our leadership. We at California Hands & Voices pride ourselves on being a diverse organization of parents and professionals from all regions of the state. With each change in leadership comes fresh ideas and unique experiences. I have had the pleasure of serving on this board and being a part of the leadership team since 2012. In these eight years I have met and worked with families from one end of the state to another and I can tell you the greatest truth I’ve learned is that regardless of how we choose to raise our children, we all want to accomplish the same goal. Happy and successful Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. Knowing this is at the root and soul of everything, I have realized we are far more alike than we are different.

Rosabel Agbayani- California Hands & Voices President

Differences is what makes our community unique and beautiful!  I have walked this journey alongside California Hands & Voices since 2012.  At the time I wasn't ready to be a leader. I didn't realize it then, but I see now, that being a part of California Hands & Voices helped shape me into who I am and the work I am able to do!  I was given opportunities to learn the value of creating relationships, connecting with the community understanding the uniqueness of our culture, and acquiring the skills to be an advocate for families and professionals to facilitate quality improvement. I truly believe that the power of who we are as individuals lies in the team of people who guide, support, and empower us to be a better version of who we are in order for us to be the person we are meant to be! I am grateful for having the opportunity to grow as a parent leader because of CA H&V! 

I am both honored and excited to continue the work of the legacy of our leaders who are interwoven in our infrastructure with a diversity of knowledge and backgrounds as the heart of California Hands & Voices.  The hope is as a team the community we serve will be filled with the true spirit of inclusion. The true heart of our organization is FAMILY. It is my hope that EVERY family of a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Child finds that California Hands & Voices is a safe space and a place to feel like they belong. 

TOGETHER we grow!

California Hands & Voices is inspired to start this new chapter of our journey with a team of leaders who truly believe and live out the mission of  supporting families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in a respectful and non-judgemental manner regarding language opportunities, communication tools or educational approaches. 

As we grow and evolve as an organization, so do our leaders develop and grow!  To make room for the extraordinary goals we will be working hard to accomplish for our families statewide, we have shifted some of the roles and responsibilities to allow for our current board members to expand the level of services we can provide.  Two newly appointed leaders in our community include:  

Yiesell Rayon- Vice President California Hands & Voices 

Yiesell is the current Director of Latino Support for Hands & Voices Headquarters.  She is the Area 7 Co-Representative who tirelessly commits to being an advocate for deaf and hard of hearing children throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. In addition, Yiesell is the Camp Director for the Inland Valley DHH & Microtia Atresia Family Camp.  She is passionate about empowering parents to help their children reach their fullest potential.  

Cora Shahid-
Executive Director California Hands & Voices 

We couldn’t let our former Vice President, Cora Shahid, go without creating an important role to keep the heart of team beating strong. Cora is one of the founding board members of CA H&V.  As Executive Director, she will also continue to oversee the chapter’s social media presence as well as manage the growth and development of our parent and professional membership. Her goal is for CA H&V to flourish so that non-judgmental support can positively impact every family in California raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.

As we transition, our hopes as a team, and in partnership with our fearless leaders in our DHH Family Camp and ASTra Programs, work together to accomplish our goals providing greater outreach to our diverse community, continuing to build productive and collaborative relationships with educators and professionals, most importantly empowering a new generation of leaders (parents and children) who will someday shape the future of our organization.  

We hope that as a member of the community (parent, child, educator, professional, or stakeholder) you are encouraged to join us as we learn from each other and grow from our experiences to make a difference in the lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children throughout the state of California.  Because no matter where you are in your journey, you will always have a home at California Hands & Voices!

We are humbled by this opportunity and look forward to continuing to serve the needs of our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community! 


Your California Hands & Voices Executive Team


Rosabel Agbayani -President

Yiesell Rayon- Vice President

Nancy Sager- Secretary

Kat Lowrance-Treasurer

Cora Shahid- Executive Director

Apryl Chauhan- Past President

Tony Ronco- Founding President


Webinar on August 4th from 2:00p – 3:00p PST

Hands & Voices Observe, Understand, and Respond Project
Presented by Harold Johnson, ED.D., and Sara Kennedy.

The webinar will share insights, resources and strategies designed to assist the parents of 6 - 11 years children who are and the professionals they work with to:

1. Understand when, where, with whom and why are our children/students are at greatest risk for maltreatment, i.e., neglect & abuse.

2. Access informational and curricular resources that can be used at home and in school to inform and support parents and professionals to design, implement and monitor safe environments for our children/students.

3. Utilization of day-to-day observations, conversations, children's books, instructional designs and I.E.P. documents to plan, implement and monitor safe and nurturing home and school learning environments for our children.

Register in advance for this meeting: https://rchsd.zoom.us/meeting/register/3773b1adcf030706cde7dc3c8da9331e .

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

More info on the O.U.R. Project: https://cahandsandvoices.org/family-support/our-project

O.U.R. Logo

If you are on our Facebook Group and/or Page you saw that Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults, AND Professionals all showed up in Sacramento to show their support for AB 598 at the Assembly Health Committee hearing on Tuesday April 24th. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend AND To those who called /wrote letters in support of the bill. 
The measure passed committee unanimously! laughing
*If AB #598 passes, insurance companies will be required to provide hearing aid coverage for minors.
The next step is the Assembly Appropriations Committee! Stay tuned for more information on how you can help. 
If you live in San Diego we need your help within the next two weeks. Please contact if you live in San Diego and have a DHH child birth to 18 years old who wears hearing aids. 
Thank you for your support!

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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