Sharing Fears, Dreams, and Journeys: Guides Can Make a Difference

Posted by Michaela Hamaker on 5/21/2021 8:15:00 AM

A partner of the Statewide Outreach Center since 2010 working with families across the state, Texas Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side (GBYS) is a family support program providing unbiased guidance and information to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing through peer-to-peer support, matching “guides” directly with families. 

Research shows there are positive outcomes for children when educated and involved parents receive information and support, parent-to-parent guidance, and exposure to other adults who are deaf and hard of hearing. 

A natural comfort level exists when relating to another who has walked in our shoes. These guides have been there, and can help to understand and navigate a system of resources. 

One family who was matched and received support from a guide shared this feedback.

“I wanted to make sure you knew how thankful I am for your guidance and support over this past year. You were there for me through some tough times with my son’s school situation and for that I will always be grateful.  We were at the height of our stress and frustration when I was connected with you and it really, really helped us get through it. Having your support made the difference. 

Our son has been doing so much better at his school. He has shown improvement and is growing in ways we haven't seen before., and he is supported so well by all the staff.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for always being there for me and for keeping me informed along the way. You were wonderful for our family and we were blessed to be matched with you. 

We are so thankful to our guide and for your wonderful program. Having her by my side was what I needed. Advocating for our children can be very difficult especially when we felt we were being pushed aside. She helped my husband and I find our voice for our son., and I saw a side of me emerge that I didn't know was there. Standing up to a district when you know your son's needs are not being met, even in the most basic ways, is a sure to get the “mama bear” instinct to kick in! Without her lending her ear, guidance, and encouragement, I don't think our ARD meetings would have been as successful. I am SO thankful we are all at a better place now!”

This family’s experience is what the GBYS program hopes for all families. With guidance and support, families experience a sense of empowerment in the choices they make, and learn to position their child for success.

Are you a family who could use support? Are you a professional who knows a family who could benefit from the interaction with a guide? 

Reach out to us and we can connect you!

It’s quick and easy to enroll in the GBYS program,  in English or Spanish