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GBYS Annual Training

Submitted by Christine Moody

We often get asked what kind of training the Guides in the Texas Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side Program (GBYS) receive.  Well, although some training occurs regularly throughout the year at our monthly staff meetings and through attendance at webinars, workshops and conferences, our most in-depth training occurs once a year in Austin.  We recently had our annual training in mid-November.  Twelve of our 14 Guides drove and flew from all over the state to gather for this special chance to see each other face-to-face, to learn from each other, and to learn how to better support families of deaf and hard of hearing children in Texas.  The training was expanded this year and we kicked off the training with a special event the first evening complete with calories and a Keurig machine.  At the end of the evening Guides wrote on signs to explain in one word what TXH&V GBYS means to them.  The next full day was dedicated to outside presenters such as Jean Origer, Program Specialist with the DARS Division for Early Childhood Intervention, other presenters from various family involvement programs at the Educational Resource Center on Deafness, and National Hands & Voices required training presentations. At the end of the day, Guides were presented with their Leveled Recognition Program Certificates for their work throughout the previous year.  The highlight of the day was presenting Jean Origer with a GBYS Champion Certificate recognizing her for her collaboration and commitment to family involvement and support.

The second full day of training included a morning breakout training for the Deaf/HH Guides led by Pam Farley a Level 3 Deaf Guide who was one of the first Guides with our program back in 2011.  The Parent Guides focused on outreach, event planning and program protocols. When we came back together, we dedicated the entire afternoon to resources, parent support and everything that entails.  Each Guide left with a flash drive full of training materials, renewed focus, and an appreciation of the knowledge and support that they can obtain from one another.  We’re only a phone call or email away from each other until next year’s training.