What People are saying about GBYS

 

Professionals: 

"As a professional, we like to think we have all the answers.  However, we will never know what it is like to "walk in the moccasins" of the parent or family.  That is why the parent -to -parent support is so critical.  Parents will ask other parents questions that they may feel uncomfortable asking a professional.  It gives a parent hope to talk to another parent whose child is now older, and has "made it."  Parents need to be part of the network of support for families with a newly diagnosed child.  It is certainly a ‘best practice.’

  • Cindy Toppin, Vice President, Lifetrack Resources, Inc., and agency partner for MN Hands & Voices/GBYS

"It has been so wonderful having the support of the national staff at Hands & Voices, as well as people from the various existing GBYS programs, as we are getting up and running.  Every time I have a question, I have someone to turn to, and I don't feel as if we have to ‘reinvent the wheel.’  So far the response to Guide By Your Side in B.C. has been very positive...the professionals have been very supportive, and every parent that I've talked to has said the same thing, almost word for word...’Oh, I wish we had that when our child was diagnosed.’ "

  • Teresa Kazemir, GBYS Start-Up British Columbia, Canada

"Guide by Your Side Program, a program of MN Hands and Voices, is an essential part of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program.    The program is a trusted resource in our community.  The provide support and unbiased information about communication and educational choices to parents with babies and children newly identified with hearing loss.   Their leadership and staff are parents and their services are top notch. I don't know how they do all they do with the limited resources they have. If I win the lottery, they are on the top of the list to get my first million."

  • Mary Hartnett, Executive Director, MN Commission Serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

As a professional, it is extremely helpful to be able to suggest the GBYS program for new families. I don't pretend to understand what it must be like for them, I am just grateful that they are able to get the emotional support from someone who has walked in their shoes. 

  • MI Professional

"What is so great and exciting about the Guide By Your Side program/Hands & Voices is connecting all families to a NETWORK of parent-parent support.  It really is about complementing all the pieces:  medical, educational, financial, etc, by adding the parent perspective.  You provide support that only someone who's been there can truly give:  the message that ‘you're not alone’.  You guys really do important work!"

  • Nicole Brown, MN Department of Health’s Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Follow-Up Coordinator

"Our region’s Parent Guides have not only been guides and support for our parents of deaf/hard of hearing children; they have been guides for me, as a teacher, in working with parents.  The Parent Guides and Lifetrack Resources MN Hands and Voices, are the first contacts that are given to our parents, so that they can establish a relationship with someone who's been there and done that.  I was ecstatic when I found out that they would continue their services in MN after last summer's legislation.  Before the GBYS program, we as teachers were doing our best to connect families.  It was the piece that was fragmented or missing when a newly identified baby and family came to us.  They have filled the gap.  I believe that we have only just begun this already successful journey of parent-to-parent connections."

  • Jill Rohman, Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, SW/WC MN Service Cooperatives

 

Parents:

"We were so relieved to speak with another parent who had ‘been there.’  Our parent guide helped us realize we were not alone on our child's journey with hearing loss."

  • WI Parent

"The best thing we did for our family after diagnosis was to get involved with the GBYS program.  It made a huge difference in our knowledge & outlook regarding our daughter's future."

  • WI Parent

"Our Parent Guide was outstanding in every aspect.  She made us aware of programs and gave us support to pursue them.  She was the boost we needed to find resources for our daughter.  Thank you for offering the GBYS Program!"

  • WI Parent

“It is a very nice feeling to be able to give good quality non-biased information to families at such a critical time, and to reassure them that there are options that will help their child succeed.”

  • WI Parent

“The Parent Guides were very knowledgeable and have lots of contacts.  We like that we can get connected with people quickly and that they provide lots of information about education and events that I wouldn’t be able to go out and find quickly with a new baby.”

  • MN Parent

“I never felt like I was alone during a difficult time.”

  • MN Parent

“The Parent Guide talked like hearing loss was normal.  I want to be like that.  I want to feel like my son’s hearing loss is normal.  I’m so much better than I was before.

  • MN Parent

“Guide By Your Side has been an amazing help.  I must call my Parent Guide three times a month.  When I have a question, she is the first person I call because I know I will reach her right away.  It really helps when a parent who doesn’t know anything about hearing loss can ask another parent anything.  She’s more like a friend, someone who understands, another mom who knows.  If I didn’t have someone to talk to, I’d be lost and not aware of where to go for help.  This is a great connection.  I know I can call her anytime.  The program has helped me so much with my daughter.  I love it.  Of all the programs out there, this has been the most helpful.”

  • MN Parent

“The GBYS program offered me support that I could relate to.  After meeting with a Guide, I just knew everything was going to be okay.”

  • MI Parent

“Once I knew I was not alone, I was prepared to do whatever was needed to help my child.” 

  • MI Parent

“My Guide listened to my concerns; she didn’t have an agenda for me to follow. I felt like I could share my concerns openly with her.” 

  • MI Parent

"When my son was diagnosed we wanted to get as much information as possible. We wanted to meet other families who had deaf or hard of hearing children and learn about their stories." 

  • MI Parent

"I was excited to learn about all the resources that were available to me and my child."

  • MI Parent

"I cried for a while with my parent guide, dried my tears, and said what do we do now...?"

  • MI Parent

"Who would've thought what a wonderful world was waiting for me?"

  • MI Parent

 

Parent Guides:

“The families make our jobs so worthwhile and make us realize why we are the chosen ones for these positions.  I am beginning to realize the reason why I have a hearing loss and why my girls have a hearing loss is that we are able to share our stories with others and help them too!  As I have told my families countless times, please keep calling with questions, because it is through those questions that I learn too.”

  • Brenda Hommerding, MN Parent Guide, GBYS/MN Hands & Voices
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