Hands & Voices Regional Coordinators

Each Regional Coordinator is a Hands & Voices Chapter or program parent leader who lives in the region in which they are assigned, (Coordinators may temporarily support neighboring regions when a position is open). Each Regional Coordinator may focus on different aspects and activities based on the needs in their respective region(s), including Canada. We continue to grow this organizational leadership as a forum to support:

Map of US Canada with colored regions reflecting Coordinators territories

Our goal is to enhance and expand the leadership roles of recognized Parent Leaders in the Hands & Voices organization who model strong and diverse skill sets within their respective Chapters/programs, as well as throughout the overall organization. The Regional Coordinator provides and facilitates opportunities for Chapter leaders to come together in a smaller group setting on a quarterly basis within their geographic region(s) for peer-to-peer support, to share knowledge and build relationships. The value of the organic interchange of experiences, knowledge, creativity, and skills between leaders is exponential. Having access to timely, relevant information; connectivity to peers, and strong leaders; and peer-to-peer mentors, leads to the sustainable continuity and health of our Chapters/programs, as well as the organization.

Activities include:

This project meets a need within our organization and systems to continue to develop and enhance collaborative partnerships which will lead to better outcomes for children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. Learn more about how to connect and engage with the Chapters and Programs that you share borders with, and how to receive support and resources from YOUR Regional Coordinator!

Find more information about what Hands & Voices Chapters have done collaboratively, in their respective regions, in the 2022 Annual Regional Coordinator Report.

Questions? Email Terri Patterson, Director of Chapter Support at terri@handsandvoices.org

Meet our Regional Coordinators

Michelle John, MS, CEOLD: Region 1, 2 & 3 Coordinator (ME, VT, NY, RI, CT, MA, NH, NJ, DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV)

Vermont Hands & Voices Board President
michelle.john@hotmail.com

Michelle holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and sociology from Hofstra University, and her Masters of Science degree in community counseling and psychology with a specialization in addictions counseling from Springfield College. She also earned her certification as an End-of-Life Doula through the University of Vermont. Currently, she is in the final portfolio stage of becoming a certified DeafBlind Intervener. She is also a Newborn Screening Ambassador for Expecting Health, works closely with the National Center on DeafBlindness, and is a governor-appointed member of the VT Developmental Disabilities Council.

While spending many of her beginning adult years enjoying pursuing higher education, and proud of these accomplishments, she's just as quick to share life sent her in a divergent direction; her highest achievement comes from raising and educating her 3 children by being a stay-at-home parent. She is all things medical, educational, coordination and physical care to her 9-year-old DeafBlind+ (Plus) child who has a variety of significant medical complexities, and willing teacher to those with questions and readiness to learn—most often her other two children.

Michelle has been the President of Vermont Hands & Voices since 2018. In this role, she sits on a variety of Boards, Committees, Coalitions, Panels, and Councils to further the identified needs of children birth to adulthood, who are D/deaf/hard of hearing/plus and their families. She is passionate about inclusion of choices, D/HH/Plus adult infusion, all volunteer-organizations, NASDSE Guidelines, parents as paid caregivers to medically complex children, DeafBlind Plus needs, and siblings of D/d/hh/Plus individuals, as well as the vastly differing needs of families in rural living. Spending time in webinars, meetings, trainings, as well as presenting at and fully attending various conferences yearly keeps her up to date on best practices and technology available, as well as able to meet a variety of stakeholders who can become a resource to families across the US and Canada.

In her middle of the night “spare time”, she enjoys reading autobiographies, creating wild goals that sometimes seem unattainable, watching reality television and “American Greed”, and pretending to get some sleep.

Anita

Kodi Ogle: Region 4 Coordinator (FL, AL, NC, SC, TN, KY, MS, GA)

Tennessee Hands & Voices Executive Director
kodi@tnhandsandvoices.org

Kodi resides in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and their three children who are Deaf with Usher Syndrome type 1 B. Each child has their own preferred mode of communication that works best for them. Through her efforts to educate herself on the best way to support each of her children, she found a home in Hands & Voices. Her family truly embodies Hands & Voices motto, “What works for your child is what makes the choice right.”tm

In 2010, the first South East Regional Early Hearing Detection and Intervention conference was held in Knoxville, TN. Kodi attended the Hands & Voices dinner at this conference, where she felt a deep connection to Janet DesGeorges and Terri Patterson’s presentation on Hands & Voices unbiased support and resources. Soon after, Tennessee Hands & Voices was established in September of 2011. Kodi became the Executive Director of the Chapter in 2015. It has been an honor for Kodi to serve families of children who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf Blind in Tennessee through her role with Tennessee Hands & Voices. Through this role, Kodi is a strong advocate for families within the state. She is involved with the Tennessee Council for Deaf, Deaf Blind, and Hard of Hearing, serves on the Advisory Council for the Tennessee Deaf Blind Project. It is important to her that she partners Tennessee Hands & Voices’ efforts with agencies serving families in our state like TN EHDI, TN Schools for the Deaf, the TN Deaf Mentor and Parent Advisor program, Tennessee Early Intervention, and many more.

In her free time, Kodi and her family enjoy hiking in the mountains, traveling, and exploring. Her youngest son aspires to be a farmer. To encourage his dream, she has recently started a small farm, complete with chickens and ducks.

She is excited to begin her new role as the Regional Coordinator for Region 4. “I look forward to working together with the great leaders in our region. This will provide an opportunity for growth as we learn from each other.”

Carrie Balian: Region 5 Coordinator (MI, IN, IL, OH, MN, WI)

Illinois Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side Coordinator
ilhvgbys@gmail.com

Carrie Balian is the mother of five children.  Her oldest child, Jack, was born deaf.  Carrie and her husband, Andre, have been married for over 25 years and reside in Island Lake, IL.  She has been the Coordinator of her state Parent to Parent support program, Guide By Your Side (GBYS) for 12 years.  In continuing her ventures of representing families of children that are deaf and hard of hearing, Carrie has presented to groups nationwide and co-authored several publications including the NCHAM e-book. Carrie is currently serving as a board member on the Illinois Genetic & Metabolic Diseases Advisory Council and Illinois Hands & Voices.  She is also an editor for JEHDI (Journal of Early Hearing Detection & Intervention) publications, participated on the Illinois Universal Newborn Hearing & Screening Advisory Board and Illinois Deaf Task Force.  She has also participated as a parent professional on the NICHQ (National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality) national and statewide learning collaborative teams.

Carrie graduated from the Hands & Voices L2L (Leadership-to-Leadership) Program 2021 cohort. Carrie has also been recognized and awarded both nationally and locally for her support, commitment, and leadership in the field.  Her most recent recognition was the 2022 Family Leadership award during the annual EHDI conference.  Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management.

Angelina

Angelina Myers: Region 6 Coordinator (TX, LA, AR, OK, NM)

Arkansas Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side Coordinator
angelina.gbys@arhandsandvoices.org

Angelina was born in Indiana but grew up in Northwest Arkansas. She lives in Centerton, Arkansas with her wonderful husband Joshua and their four children (Alexander 14, Austin 12, Brayden 12, and Brylee 7). Angelina stays busy as an agent for a local insurance agency and acting principal of Myers Homeschool Academy. 

Our journey to Hands & Voices began when our identical twin boys became candidates for hearing aids and cochlear implants. I was flooded with questions. How would they function in a hearing world? How would I parent them to become successful members of society? Would they ever be able to go down a slide or ride in an airplane? Am I making the right choice for their future? With the support of Hands and Voices and my team of professionals, I learned that: Yes! The choices I made for them were the best choices. Why? Because they were what worked for my family!

Wendy

Wendy Hewitt: Region 7 & 8 Coordinator (KS, IA, MO, MT, UT, ND, SD, WY, CO, NE)

Wyoming Hands & Voices Executive Director
Wendy@wyhandsandvoices.org

My name is Wendy Hewitt and I live in the southwest corner of Wyoming in a little town called Mountain View.  I am the mom of 3 awesome kids Dallie, Ruger and Kassidy.  Both Ruger and Kassidy were born with profound, bilateral hearing loss.  So began the journey I never imagined I would take -learning about hearing aids, cochlear implants, ling sounds, speech therapy, IEPs, early intervention, and the list we all know too well.  As Ruger prepares to become a freshman, and Kassidy, a 7th grader, they are both doing great in school, they have many friends and are involved in way too many activities.   Ruger loves rodeo, basketball and sister tormenting.  Kassidy loves rodeo, soccer, basketball and wants to be on American Ninja Warrior!

In May of 2006 some of the professionals in our state talked Deb Hovde and I into starting Hands & Voices in Wyoming. So off we went and with the support of many organizations we became an official chapter in September of 2006.  We are currently celebrating our 10 year anniversary!  It has been amazing to see the changes and growth that have come in 10 years.  Hands & Voices is a great support organization and that I am proud to say I am a part of.  As I become a Regional Coordinator, I hope to help states in Regions 7 & 8 to learn and grow from each other’s trials and successes.  I am excited to take on this new adventure! 

HV logo

TBD: Region 9a Coordinator (HI, CNMI, Guam, Pacific Islands)

Christine Griffin: Region 9b & 10 Coordinator (ID, OR, WA, AK, AZ, CA, NV)

Washington State Hands & Voices Board President
Washington State Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side Program Coordinator
christine.griffin@wahandsandvoices.org

Christine and her husband live in Washington State and are the proud parents of two young adult children. Her family began this journey in 2001 when both children were identified deaf and hard of hearing six months apart from one another. Through their journey her family has accrued many supporters as they have encountered barriers and steep learning curves along the way. 

In 2008 Christine found a home with Hands & Voices. She became their Chapter’s first Guide By Your Side Program Coordinator in 2010, and in 2019 became the Board President for their Chapter.

To formalize her experiences as a parent and help increase services and leadership opportunities for families in her state, Christine earned a MEd degree in Adult Education in 2017 with a focus on parents as adult learners. She works as a contractor with the Early Support for Infants and Toddler (EI) program with Washington State Children, Youth and Families as part of a training team for first year Family Resource Coordinators. She is a member of the Hands & Voices O.U.R. Children Safety Project, Washington State’s EHDDI Advisory group, and local ICC Advisory group.

In her work Christine most enjoys collaborating with and supporting others.  Away from her desk, she most enjoys live theater, walks with family and friends and taking pictures along the way.

KIM SHAUER: Regional Coordinator-Canada

BC Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side Coordinator
BC Hands & Voices Board Member
BC Early Hearing Program Parent Coordinator (EDHI)
KShauer@cw.bc.ca

As the Regional Coordinator for the Canadian Hands & Voices Chapters (British Columbia, Alberta) I am thrilled to provide a platform for our geographically vast regions to interact and communicate with one another to ultimately provide better support and outcomes for deaf and hard of hearing children in Canada.  We discuss ideas on planning events and opportunities for families, offer support and share our valuable networks with one another.

As the GBYS Coordinator in British Columbia, I am passionate about providing parent-to-parent support opportunities, as well as connecting families to resources. Our family benefitted in participating in many support services and groups over the years, which helped us feel more empowered, less isolated and gain knowledge to raise our children. We are now parents to a young adult and have lost our deaf/hard of hearing child with medical complexities. My professional background is in Marketing Communications, Conference/Event Planning and Special Education.