MARCH 2-5, 2021

(Virtually the same conference, without elevators, airplane tickets, or hotel room keys)


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Irma de Juarez Sanchez

A 500-word essay does not do justice to explain the magnitude of the type of nurturing impact that Irma de Juarez Sanchez, a mother of three Deaf sons, has made on countless Latino families with Deaf and hard of hearing children. Dr. Fernandez, a professor and researcher at CSUN, wrote that Latino families with Deaf children are the future in Deaf education. With Irma de Juarez Sanchez's work supporting Latino families, especially those with infants and young children, the future is already here. Approximately 70% of newborn babies identified through California's Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program are from Latino families. As some people described her as a blessing to the world, Irma's energy is beyond amazing because she loves her three Deaf sons so much and wants other Latino families to have a positive experience raising their Deaf & Hard of Hearing children as she did and being able to help those children achieve their dreams. Below is an all too brief highlight summary of Irma's parent leadership accomplishments in supporting Latino families locally, statewide, and nationally:

1) Founder of Deaf Latinos Y Familias: Irma noticed that there wasn't adequate family organizational support and services for Spanish speaking families. In 2010, Irma founded Deaf Latinos y Familias, a family organization to serve Spanish speaking families. She also served as the president until 2018, until there was a solid enough community foundation for the organization to be self-sustaining without her. https://deaflatinosyfamilias.org      https://www.foxnews.com/world/take-action-mother-of-deaf-sons-revolutionizes-a-community

2) California ParentLinks: ParentLinks is a long-standing California program supporting families of infants identified as Deaf or Hard of Hearing during California's Newborn Hearing Screening referral process. The program continues its support to ensure that the children and families successfully enroll in Early Start. Irma has been a mentor in long-term service with the organization. As a trilingual mentor, she is critical to the program supporting Spanish speaking families. Her passionate and deep involvement continues today with ParentLinks which is now part of California LEAD-K Family Services (the statewide EHDI grant awardee). Irma also helped with the Spanish translation of several family resources included this link: www.leadkfamilyservices.org

3) EHDI Program Presenter: Wanting to improve the outreach to Latino Families on a larger scale, Irma presented at the national EHDI Conferences in San Diego, California, and Atlanta, Georgia. Irma shared her in-depth knowledge and strategies for improving family outreach, and connection with Latino Families.

4) "Second Chance" Movie Creator: Irma made a film exploring common Latino issues using the Marlton School, a Day School for the Deaf in Los Angeles Unified School District as the backdrop. The film was written and produced by the students. Irma was in the movie as a parent advocate. One of the staff at the school said, "This short film examines the relationship between a Mexican hearing family and their Deaf daughter, Ruby. Ruby's hunger for communication conflicts with her mother's idea of raising a Deaf child. Their lives come to a turning point where they find themselves with a question, "Is it too late to start over?" The movie was shown at the Toronto International Deaf Film and Arts Festival. (note: this nomination was shared to the 500 word limit)