We want to share with you the uplifting stories of people making a difference in the lives of many. In this nonprofit spotlight, we chat with Executive Director Beth Jones for our current nonprofit partner Nevada Hands & Voices. Beth's involvement with Nevada Hands & Voices began out of necessity for resources after learning that two of her three young kids were diagnosed as hard of hearing. Beth, being the incredible human she is, then made it her mission to help other Nevada families facing the same issues.
How long have you worked with Nevada Hands & Voices?
10 years (and counting!)
How did you become involved with Nevada Hands & Voices and what made you want to become a part of the organization?
I was first introduced to Nevada Hands & Voices (NVHV) in the fall of 2012. About a year and a half before I learned of NVHV, two of my three young kids (my newborn and 4-year-old) were diagnosed as hard of hearing. I spent most of my free time looking for much-needed resources but never felt I found what I really was searching for. At a speech therapy appointment in 2012, I luckily met another mom who was helping to bring Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) services to families in Las Vegas, as the statewide NVHV chapter only had representation in Reno at that time. The idea of parent-to-parent support is what drew me in: the opportunity to connect with others who understood our immediate needs was the thing that was lacking in the other resources that were being offered. I began as a volunteer and quickly became a Parent Guide to assist other families like mine. In 2020 (at the height of the pandemic), I became Executive Director. At that time, families were being isolated from other DHH families, and our services became even more critical than when my children were younger. I was thrilled to help our organization grow and thrive in the variety of services we offer, especially in an unprecedented time.
(Photo courtesy of Beth Jones)
Wow. While 2020 was a challenging time for everyone, I cannot image the additional challenges and increased isolation felt by the DHH families. I commend you on recognizing the need and stepping up to do something about it. So, tell us why is the organization's mission important to you?
For me, the mission of NVHV speaks volumes. As a parent with many decisions that needed to be made for my children, I wanted to be educated on my options, not told what to do. I wanted the support to make choices that were best for our family without judgment. I wanted to be encouraged to know that my kids can (and will) achieve anything.
(Popcorn Play Dates - Photo courtesy of Beth Jones)
I've been fortunate enough to meet your kids, and there is no doubt that they will do amazing things and achieve whatever they set out to do. You should be so proud. You've done an incredible job and seen success with your own children. How does Nevada Hands & Voices measure their success?
As with most organizations, NVHV collects data on everything: from how many clients we serve annually, to the ages and locations throughout the state of clients, to how many clients meet national goals of getting services before six months old. However, the best measure of success I have experienced through my many years in NVHV is the stories that can’t be quantified. The look on a child’s face at an event when they see other kids who have cool hearing devices like them. The sighs of relief when families find other people with whom they can learn and practice a new language within a safe place with no judgment. Success is the tears of joy from a mom after being able to advocate for her child at a school meeting. To me, these moments are more impactful than all the facts and figures.
I agree with you. Data, no matter how extensive, cannot fully capture the emotions of acceptance, relief, and empowerment that come from the impactful and meaningful work of your organization. What is the biggest misconception people have about the work of Nevada Hands & Voices?
The biggest misconception people have about NVHV is that we only advocate for a particular mode of communication. More than 90% of DHH children are born to hearing parents. NVHV is a parent-driven organization, and therefore the majority of our staff are hearing parents who use spoken English. However, as we are non-bias, our trained staff, which now includes parents, DHH adults, and professionals, provide resources for all languages and device usage (if any), as well as strive to have a diverse representation of individuals from many lived experiences and backgrounds. We truly believe in our motto, “What works for your child is what makes the choice right.”
(Moms Night - Photo courtesy of Beth Jones)
I love that! Can you share with us how Nevada Hands & Voices has impacted the families you serve?
Our Hearing Device Loaner Program is one of NVHV’s most impactful programs that relies solely on donations. Studies show that those who can benefit from hearing aids do best when they are utilized as early as possible for language development. For many families, navigating insurance, as well as the out-of-pocket costs of hearing aids, can delay getting kids the help they need. NVHV’s program gives temporary loans to children ages birth-3 years old, which for many families is life-changing. Just think: how would you feel if your child could not access language because you couldn’t afford the unexpected cost attached? We don’t want any family to be forced to choose between language and the cost of devices, especially in those critical years.
That is an incredible program! What is the best way to support your organization?
The best way for people to support Nevada Hands & Voices is by learning more about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and its history, languages, and culture. Visit www.nvhandsandvoices.org to learn more, get event updates, or donate.
(Moms Night - Photo courtesy of Beth Jones)
Amazing! We've also linked your website and social media pages here for anyone who would like to get more information, are interested in volunteering, wants to donate, or want to connect with Nevada Hands & Voices. Ok Beth, I've got one final question for you. What does kindness mean to you?
It’s said a lot, but I truly love the quote “Be kind, as everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. Compassion and caring along the way for everyone is so important. Even if you may not understand or agree with someone else’s journey, kindness is the key that helps spread the love. 🤟❤️
I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you, Beth, for taking the time to chat with us. We are so grateful to be partnered with incredible organizations, like Nevada Hands & Voices, who are making an impactful difference in the lives of many in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Thank you for the work you do!
If you'd like to learn more about Nevada Hands & Voices, click here. Through April 30, 2023 you can shop our Kindness Collection in support of Nevada Hands & Voices. Don't forget to sign up for our emails so that we can notify of you of our upcoming Cause Collection with Nevada Hands & Voices.