Welcome to Hands & Voices Fostering Joy for Families!

Fostering Joy: cherishing intentional moments of daily magic and connection

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"Joy is watching my children explore the world together and see the adventure and excitement in their eyes."

Why Fostering Joy?

Because we know what it means to be the family of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.  You may be overwhelmed, feel alone, worry about your child’s communication and what you need to do next. 

AND as parents, we know how important it is to just celebrate your child!  To see all the many gifts your child brings, to take time to enjoy each other, and to share your joy with others that understand.  THAT is what we mean by Fostering Joy!

Join the Celebration!  We are so glad you’re here!

Parents Share their Joy in the Journey

What is “Fostering Joy”?

Fostering Joy Principles:

Fostering Joy is:

Are you a professional?

Check out the Fostering Joy for Professionals webpage.


What Does Research Say?

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"Joy to our family is like jumping off the high dive for the first time. The unknown is scary, but once your feet leave the platform, you get to experience a level of joy known only to others who have jumped off, too."

How Can I Foster Joy?

Connecting with other families to celebrate the joys of raising our amazing kids is a great place to start!

Join our Joy Community of Families on Facebook!

Follow us on Instagram too!


Keep our kids safe

Find out more about the Hands & Voices O.U.R. Project that helps support the efforts of the Fostering Joy Project. - Link to the O.U.R. page -

The O.U.R. logo

Check out our Fostering Joy Family Tip Sheets 

Fostering Joy should be easy, fun, and something you can do as you go about your everyday activities.  Here are a few tips, offered by families, for finding joy everyday - taking time to celebrate milestones, connecting with your children, and letting the lights of their love shine through.

Download Tip Sheets Translated Into These Languages:

Tip Sheet cover page

Fostering Joy Tip Sheet in American Sign Language

Introduction to the Tipsheet

Fostering Joy Tips in ASL

Fostering Joy Journal for Families

This journal is designed for parents and families to intentionally make time to focus on the joy their child who is D/HH brings and capture thoughts on paper.  Created by parents of children who are D/HH, the journal helps parents tend to their child’s positive emotional development and the parent’s own well-being.

Check out our Fostering Joy Journal! (Available in English and Spanish)

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"Joy means watching my children succeed and overcome obstacles that most take for granted."

Fostering Joy Journal for Kids 

This journal is designed for kids who are D/HH to journal about their joys and accomplishments with a grown-up, ideally an adult who is D/HH themselves. Created by trained Hands & Voices D/HH Adult Guides, the journal is a place where kids can capture all the great things they have done, to celebrate how special they are, and to share with their families that their story is so much more than their hearing difference. Check out our Fostering Joy Journal for Kids!

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Work with Families? 

The two-sided images below can be used to share information about Fostering Joy with families, and your professional colleagues as well. (English & Spanish)

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Spanish card front
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Want to Become a Joy Ambassador?

Our JOY MOVEMENT encourages you to become a Joy Ambassador.  Parents, caregivers, professionals, adults who are D/HH, anyone who…

If you want to learn more about how to become a Joy Ambassador in your role as a parent leader, D/HH leader or professional, check out this webinar about the Fostering Joy Project here.

Feel free to reach out to our Fostering Joy Team Leads:

Parent Ambassadors, contact:
Janet @handsandvoices.org

Professional Ambassadors, contact:

Who is the Fostering Joy Core Team?


Janet DesGeorges

Janet DesGeorges, Executive Director, Hands & Voices HQ

"When I think of the journey of raising my daughter who is deaf... not knowing what this meant in the beginning...to being a confident parent with a strong sense of who our daughter could become... to living through the different stages and ages of her life...to now enjoying seeing her thrive and succeed in her life as an adult...really, the only word I can think of right now is... joy."


Amy Szarkowski

Amy Szarkowski, Psychologist, LEND, Boston Children's Hospital; Harvard Medical School; Children’s Center for Communication/Beverly School for the Deaf
“My moments of greatest joy involve my own children - when I am truly attending to their curiosity and noticing their 'ah-ha moments', when I allow myself to let go of my own agenda and delight in what they are doing and how they are growing in the present moment, and when I fully embrace and reciprocate their demonstrations of love. I wish to live in a world where all caregivers and families - including and especially those with children who are deaf or hard of hearing - can foster that kind of joy of being.“


Stephanie Olson

Stephanie Olson, Family Consultant for Children’s Hospital Colorado

"I find joy connecting with people in the great outdoors. One of my favorite parts of life is planning a family camp for families with children who are also deaf/hard of hearing and making it as accessible as possible. Mini flashlights, lots of light at the bonfire-every activity needs to be seen, heard, felt, and accessed by the whole family.  I want to say to families and their children, ‘Come on!  Let’s go outside and play!’”


Jennifer Clark

Jennifer Clark, Early Childhood Deaf and Hard of Hearing Specialist, Hawaii

D/HH Fostering Joy is an intentional mental shift for parents and professionals. We get wrapped up in achieving goals, coming up with strategies, attending meetings, etc., and forget to delight in the joy filled moments unfolding right before our eyes. Refocusing on joy, helps us to refocus on what matters most…the kids.”


Cora Shahid

Cora Shahid, Executive Director, California Hands & Voices

“I have been blessed with the remarkable gift and great privilege of parenting three incredible individuals for the last 30 years. I learned early on that my children respond positively to optimism and in our home we make a conscious effort to spot joy each day. We dish out compliments, shake off the little things and we start our day with acknowledging what we are grateful for. It takes focus but it is definitely worth practicing each new day.  As a chapter leader I feel inspired by the joy families experience through our programs and I am incredibly honored to walk this journey with them.

"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.’” -  Henri J.M. Nouwen


Beth Jones

Beth Jones, GBYS Coordinator, Nevada Hands & Voices

"As a mom who had two of my three young children identified as being Deaf/Hard of Hearing on the same day, I struggled with finding the joy at the beginning of our family's journey. Meeting other parents and professionals within Hands & Voices helped me take breaks from the stress of appointments, assessments and the fear of missing milestones, and truly helped me focus on and celebrate the joyful memories of raising my children."

Portrait of Susan with two kids

Susan Mumby Gibbons

Susan Mumby Gibbons, Audiologist, Boston Children's Hospital

"I choose to foster joy because it is a critical piece to the care we as professionals provide to patients and families.  There is such a positive effect on others when they are reminded of joyful moments or find joy in the moment; it is almost as if it presses a "reset" button on our mental state. To share in someone else's joy makes life worthwhile." 


Emily Burke

Emily Burke, Psychologist, Texas H&V Board Member,D/HH Infusion Co-Coordinator - Hands & Voices HQ

"I am constantly on a journey of joyfulness, capturing pieces of wonder and joy everywhere I go. Gratitude is one of my core values, something I am practicing every day. Being Emily in the present moment requires reminders to seek gratitude, in the good times and hard times, because that leads to joy and the ability to cope in many circumstances. As a mom, I am responsible to replicate a mindset of gratitude and joyfulness onto my two kids."


Candace Lindow-Davies

Past Member: Candace Lindow-Davies, Director of Outreach, Hands & Voices HQ
“As the parent of a young adult who is Deaf “Plus” (many health challenges), practicing the art of Fostering Joy is essential to daily life.  When I feel my son is hitting roadblocks, slowing down and shifting the focus to his strengths and reveling in all that he has accomplished is just the ticket to help him push on through. I seek joyful moments every day to keep filling my reserve!”


Rashaun Davis

Past-Member: Rashaun Davis, Parent Advocate, Delaware Hands & Voices

“As a parent of a DHH child we encourage Maddison to break barriers and shatter limits. Maddie has many accomplishments, 3x published author Including a national book tour, she speaks Mandarin, plays soccer, basketball, gymnastics and is very active in school and church. We are her biggest advocate! Her smile, energy, and passion for life brings us joy.“



Marilyn Sass-Lehrer

Past Member: Marilyn Sass-Lehrer, Professor Emerita, Gallaudet University

“I am inspired by families who have children who are deaf or hard of hearing. I see joy in their faces and love in their playful interactions. Families are awesome, and I am grateful to be part of a movement that celebrates them every day.”


Linda Lytle

Past Member: Linda Lytle, Professor, Department of Counseling, Gallaudet University


Sarah Honigfeld

Past Member: Sarah Honigfeld, Parent Infant Program Director, The Learning Center for the Deaf

“As a Deaf person with hearing parents, I am fortunate to have a strong and positive relationship with my family. This wouldn't have been possible without their love and acceptance for me as a whole person with multiple identities. This positive experience led me to join Fostering Joy, to share my experience with families with Deaf children.”


Nicole Hutchinson

Past Member: Nicole Hutchinson, Parent-Infant Program Coordinator, The River School, Washington DC
“I am Fostering Joy because I love watching children and parents bond through joyful moments together. I'm excited to help families focus on the joyful moments of everyday interactions with their kiddos who are deaf or hard of hearing. “



Karen Putz

Past Member: Karen Putz, Author, International Speaker, Life Coach

 “As a mom of three deaf kids who are now adults, I often tell parents not to blink, because the parenting journey unfolds quickly! It’s a reminder to find and create those joy moments throughout the journey.”



How Do I Get More Information?

Parent Ambassadors, contact:
Janet @handsandvoices.org

Professional Ambassadors, contact: