Colorado Hands & Voices is dedicated to supporting families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing without a bias around communication modes or methodology.
We're a parent-driven, non-profit organization providing families and the professionals who serve them with the resources, networks, and information they need to improve communication access, social and educational outcomes for their children.
Our outreach activities, trainings, parentprofessional collaboration, and advocacy efforts are focused on enabling children who are deaf or hard of hearing to reach their highest potential.
Affirmed by the CO H&V Board, June 2020
Colorado Families for Hands & Voices started a worldwide movement of parent-to-parent and true parent participation in the medical and educational systems that serve our deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Twenty-five years ago, the organization formed with a small group of dedicated parents and professionals who knew that there could be a better way to support families than within the traditional lines drawn by communication methods. As the nonprofit was formed into a 501(c)(3) and its influence grew, parents from other states wanted to join in, asked to sponsor presentations from the Colorado group, and began asking the question: "How can we start a chapter in our state?" At the current time, 44 other US states or countries have chapters in some level of development and there are 20 Guide By Your Side programs and 14 Advocacy Support and Training programs. Hands & Voices on a larger level hosts a chapter-wide conference, publishes the quarterly Communicator with support from the Colorado organization, and assists Guide By Your Side Programs throughout the world. The organization's larger website can be found at www.handsandvoices.org. In Colorado, the Guide By Your Side Program served 174 new families last year, reaches 1200 families and professionals on an eblast list monthly, and connects with 1100 families on a mailing list quarterly.
Parents, professionals, and deaf/hh adults involved with the Colorado organization represent parent perspectives on many statewide and local task forces and boards, schools and community groups. We have ensured that more families who want hearing aids for their children can afford them through a hearing aid insurance coverage mandate in 2009, passed a newborn hearing screening legislation in 2018 to better organize screening, diagnostics, and connection to quality intervention for babies birth to three statewide. We support families with kids birth to 18, and host resources like a Parent Resource Guide, the Bridge to Preschool, and a Parent Funding Toolkit, giving parents the strategies they need to approach their insurance company, ERISA plan, or charitable organizations for their children's amplification and equipment needs.
We'd love to have you join our grassroots efforts!
"Your support is gold to me." Alisha Boykin, mom to a young child who has a progressive hearing loss, Denver.
"I just received the Hands & Voices newspaper. The new issue always seems to come just when I am struggling, and it always gives me the strength to do more." Heather Huffaker, mom to a child with later-onset deafness.
"You have been so incredibly helpful. I was feeling so bleak (especially after the newborn screening and having to wait so long for the real testing) and you helped me see that no matter what the results showed, Charlie is still Charlie and we'd still be able to do so many things that are important to us. I had a new vision of getting as comfortable with his hearing loss as you are with your daughter's deafness. For the first time after talking to you, I thought: We can handle this!" A new mom from Pueblo
"I wish I had known about you when our son was first identified. I learned so much as this retreat! (Moms Nite Inn) Gina Straight, mom of an elementary aged student who was late-identified, Peyton, CO.
"I am always glad when I see a Hands & Voices advocate at a school meeting. Then I know that this parent is well informed and ready to take their place on the IEP team and I can expect a great discussion of needs and goals." Allison Bobzin, Teacher of the Deaf, Colorado Springs
"We learned so much and feel good about the process. Our parent guide and advocate had great points to consider and the team learned from her, too." Krista and Aaron Ingram, Cherry Creek