Hands & Voices Regional Coordinators
Each Regional Coordinator is a Chapter leader and lives in the region in which they are assigned, (Coordinators may temporarily support neighboring regions when a position is open). Each Regional Coordinator works on different aspects and activities based on the needs in each of their regions, including a Canada. The Regional Coordinators meet with one another by phone/virtually tri-annually and face to face annually. We continue to grow this project as a forum for:
- Support to families
- H&V Chapters and Start-up efforts
- Other regionalized activities with partner agencies such as AAP, as well as the NCHAM regionalized network of support for the EHDI system
We incorporate leadership from our H&V Guide By Your Side (GBYS) Programs and Advocacy Support and Training (ASTra) Programs to continue cohesion efforts between Chapters and programs. Our goal is to increase awareness among all of our Chapters to help them understand the support offered and provided through this project.
Activities may include:
- Providing ongoing technical assistance to Chapters within designated regions
- Creating a network amongst states/provinces within region for interaction and collaborative events/trainings
- Representing the H&V HQ organization at regional events in assigned regions
- Providing a platform for Chapters, in their respective regions, to interact and connect (ex. Yahoo Chapter Leaders’ group, Facebook group or page; phone/virtual meetings, etc.).
This project meets a need within our organization and in the EHDI system to continue to develop collaborative partnerships which will produce better outcomes for children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing.
Questions? Email Terri Patterson, Director of Chapter Support at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet our Regional Coordinators
Tammy Breard: Region 1, 2 & 3 Coordinator (ME, VT, NY, RI, CT, MA, NH, NJ, DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV)
Connecticut Hands & Voices Board President
Connecticut Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side Coordinator
Tammy has been involved in advocacy for families with children who are deaf/hard of hearing in Connecticut for the past 6 years. Tammy also works as a Reading Interventionist and provides academic supports for high school students. She resides in Wethersfield, CT with her husband Jay, and two children, Sydney (14) and Noah (11). In 2008, while living in Maine, Noah was diagnosed with bi-lateral sensory neural hearing loss. Shortly after his diagnosis the Maine Chapter of Hands & Voices was started, and the Breard family became members. In 2010, Tammy and her family relocated to Connecticut. With support from the Family Support Network and the Connecticut Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program, Patti Silva and Tammy Breard co-founded the Connecticut Chapter of Hands & Voices in 2011. As the new Regional Coordinator for regions 1, 2, 3, Tammy is looking forward to working with other Chapters in supporting families with children who are deaf/hard of hearing.
Anita Dowd: Region 4 Coordinator (FL, AL, NC, SC, TN, KY, MS, GA)
Kentucky Hands & Voices Board President
Anita Dowd, profoundly deaf since childhood, is the Executive Staff Advisor at the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Frankfort, KY. Not only is she an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing community in her professional life, but as the mother of two girls who also have a hearing loss, she is also extremely passionate about promoting awareness of various deaf and hard of hearing issues in her personal life as well.
Though she has lived with a hearing loss since a young age, it wasn’t until she became an adult and had two children with a hearing loss that she truly recognized and understood the diverse issues that deaf and hard of hearing individuals face today. She advocates a multi-faceted approach to these issues as she firmly believes that there is no “one size fits all” solution to the struggles that deaf and hard of hearing people face in their lives. She is passionate about working with families who have deaf and hard of hearing children and is the current president of the KY Chapter of Hands & Voices.
She loves butterflies, art, music and animals. She considers herself a hippie at heart and recently moved to a farm where she has five dogs, nine cats, one lizard and will soon be adding chickens and perhaps a goat or two.
Tabby Belhorn: Region 5 Coordinator (MI, IN, IL, OH, MN, WI)
Ohio Hands & Voices Executive Director
Tabitha (Tabby) Belhorn is a lifelong Ohio resident and currently serves as Executive Director of Ohio Hands & Voices. Previously Tabby has worked as the parent mentor at the Ohio School for the Deaf and as the family information specialist at the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education at the University of Dayton. While serving in these capacities Tabby has attended more than 100 IEP meetings in support of families with deaf and multi-disabled children. She is considered by many as an expert in the development of educational programs that ensure appropriate resources and opportunities are provided to students.
Personally Tabby has a 13-year-old daughter who is deaf. Working as an advocate for her own daughter has served as the impetus for pursuing fair and equal education for other student. Tabby lives with her husband, three children, two dogs, and a cat in the Columbus area. She enjoys running (although not quickly), exercise and fitness, and spending time with her family.
Kellie J Berger: Region 6 Coordinator (TX, LA, AR, OK, NM)
Texas Hands & Voices Executive Director
Prior to becoming the Director or TX Hands & Voices, Kellie was also a GBYS Guide and a board member. She is excited to be leading the Chapters in Region 6 and looks forward to multi-state events and creating platforms for the states to share resources and support with each other. Currently Region 6 is working to set up a region training for board development.
In 2000, Kellie moved with her husband and children to Texas. She and her husband have two daughters and a son and both daughters are hard of hearing. Kellie has been involved with Hands & Voices since shortly after the Texas Chapter was formed. Among other jobs, Kellie has worked as a teacher, a Mother’s Morning Out director, a Parent Guide, a newborn hearing screener and volunteered as the Parent Representative for the NICHQ collaborative project for Texas IHSIS.
Outside of the office, she spends much of her time shuttling her kids to activities and loves camping, road trips, cooking, playing with her dogs, swimming, art, music, church, reading and gardening.
Wendy Hewitt: Region 7 & 8 Coordinator (KS, IA, MO, MT, UT, ND, SD, WY, CO, NE)
Wyoming Hands & Voices Executive Director
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!
TBD: Region 9a Coordinator (HI, CNMI, Guam, Pacific Islands)
Helen Cotton Leiser: Region 9b & 10 Coordinator (ID, OR, WA, AK, AZ, CA, NV)
Oregon Hands & Voices Interim Director
Hands & Voices HQ Director of Development and Fundraising
Providing parents with the right resources and information is critical to Helen. As former Executive Director for Hands & Voices of Oregon and Guide By Your Side Coordinator for Oregon’s EHDI program since 2009, Helen has built relationships statewide and nationally, professionally and with other parents.
In her first year Helen organized the first bi-annual statewide Parent Conference providing parents’ education in several arenas. Advocacy is a passion for Helen and attending IEP’s fuels that passion. Through Helen’s experience in starting her own non- profit and working in fund development for non-profits of all sizes, Helen also has a passion for ensuring Chapters have a good solid foundation so their organizations can thrive. “Non-profits are businesses and should be run with that thought in mind. The right people are needed on the board with the right understanding of what their role is as a board member.”
Helen sits on her State Interagency Coordinating Council and works closely with her Department of Education and educational services around the state ensuring the right services are being delivered.
“I don’t consider this a job. My girls are deaf, providing me an avenue to direct my drive and passion. I am grateful to them for that and very grateful to the families that let me into their lives!”
KIM SHAUER: Regional Coordinator-Canada (Alberta, British Columbia (BC), Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador)
BC Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side Coordinator
BC Hands & Voices Board Member
BC Early Hearing Program Parent Coordinator (EDHI)
As the Regional Coordinator for the Canadian Hands & Voices Chapters (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba & Ontario) 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. We are currently setting up a collaborative training on the topic of board development for our Chapters.
I have two school-aged children – the youngest has a bilateral severe, mixed hearing loss plus complex medical needs. As the GBYS Coordinator in British Columbia, I am passionate about providing parent-to-parent support opportunities, as well as connecting families to resources in our province. My professional background is in Marketing Communications, Conference/Event Planning and Special Education.