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EHDI: Early Hearing Detection & Intervention | NTRC: National Technical Resource Center

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Collaboration between Deaf Mentor Family Services and MN Hands & Voices = Successfully Supported Families

When: August 17, 2023 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT


Families benefit from connecting with adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. To help ensure the families have adequate connections with DHH adults, Parent Guides from the MN Hands & Voices program provide families with options of connecting with a DHH guide through the MN Hands & Voices program and/or with a deaf mentor through the Deaf Mentor Family Services Program based on the family’s requests. This presentation will allow you to identify key differences between the two programs in conjunction with the similarities of the two programs.

Participants will be able to collect ways our programs collaborate to serve families. In addition, the presentation will list processes of how we do referrals to the respective programs, how we collect data, and how we report the data to our respective grant sources.

Learning goals for the webinar include:

  • Identify 4 key guidelines of each program.
  • Examine 3 similarities between programs.
  • List 2 ways the programs collaborate.


Brenda Hommerding lives in Rice, Minnesota with her husband, Lynn. They are parents of twin girls that are now adults. The girls along with Brenda cover the whole spectrum of high frequency sensorineural hearing difference from mild to profound. Brenda also has two grandsons that are profoundly deaf. Brenda is currently working with the Minnesota Commission service Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing individuals to evaluate the statewide system of dissemination materials for families with children Grade 5 through 8. Brenda has served as a member and then the co-chair of Minnesota's Department of Human Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Board (Central Division) for 10 years. In 2017 Brenda received the Miss Congeniality Award. In 2019 she completed the first Leadership-to-Leadership Program from National Hands & Voices. In 2022, Brenda and her chapter received the Data Geek award at the National Hands & Voices Leadership Conference. Her passion to collaborate with community stakeholders has been instrumental in connecting families with their parent guides and deaf/hard of hearing guides.

Heidy Nazario lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband, daughter and 2 dogs. She is profoundly and bilaterally deaf, and her hearing difference is genetic--many family members on her dad's side are DHH (deaf or hard of hearing). She serves as the DHH Guide Program Coordinator for Minnesota Hands & Voices. Heidy has been supporting DHH families--including Spanish-speaking families-- since 2016. Heidy has a bachelor's degree in Preschool and Elementary Education and an associate degree in Tourism. She has experience teaching in Puerto Rico and Minnesota, and has had the opportunity to present about the DHH Guide Program in various platforms including schools, Hands & Voices chapters, and other organizations.

Emily Smith-Lundberg serves as the Director of Deaf Mentor Family Services at Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota. Prior to becoming director, Emily was a Deaf Mentor in the same services for nine years. Emily also has been a camp director for the last two decades and is currently running Camp UBU - You Be You, a youth camp for campers who are Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing in the Midwest. Emily has a bachelor's degree in Deaf Studies and a master's degree in Sign Language Education, both from Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. In 2018, Emily received the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans Achievement Award, and in 2019, Emily received the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens Robert Stokes Achievement Award.