ILLINOIS HANDS & VOICES
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jean Carroll - Deaf Adult
My name is Jean Carroll, and I have been a board member since 2020, after my audiologist put my name forth as a candidate. I was born with a bilateral, moderate/severe hearing loss. As the oldest child born to hearing parents, a lightbulb went on for my mom when, at the age of 3, I told her to look at me because I was trying to talk to her, and she asked me why she had to look at me, and I replied, because that's how you hear me. She then realized that I had been reading lips to "hear", and that my speech and vocabulary was not where it should be. I was such a proficient lip-reader that I was able to answer all the questions put forth to me by my pediatrician. Undeterred, my mom insisted I was reading his lips, so he covered his face, and of course, I had no idea he was talking to me. Thus began my parent's journey into advocacy for me. Our experience was before newborn hearing screenings, before ADA and IDEA were passed as law, and before assistive technology was commonplace. My parents were told that I could "get by" with one hearing-aid since they were expensive. I didn't get my second hearing-aid until I entered high school. As an adult, I gradually lost my residual hearing and my wonderful audiologist put me on my path towards cochlear implants, which I wear bilaterally today with great success. I would not be where I am today without my supportive, loving family!
Anita Cervantes Bowen - Deaf Adult, Parent and Guide By Your Side
My name is Anita Cervantes-Bowen. I grew up with my deaf parents and had a hearing loss early in my life. I have four children who taught me their special, unique individuals as one was born Deaf, one with Spina Bifida at birth, three of which had hearing loss later in young ages and one became Deaf-Blind included a various usage of special communication modes. Individually, they taught me to recognize every potential in their lives to accomplish their goals. I have my BS in Human Development and Family Science from Illinois State University. My seven years of experience working with DHHDB clients whose emotional and behavioral problems helped them to stabilize in their everyday lives. I have served as a Statewide Deaf Parent Guide of Guide By Your Side since 2012. I enjoy working with families whose children are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In 2014, I become a Director of Illinois Deaf Campers. By 2020, I am pleased to be on the Illinois Hands & Voices Board of Directors to identify potential resources, organize events and assist families with our projects.
Tina Grieco-Calub - Professional
Tina Grieco-Calub, Ph.D., CCC-A is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. She is a certified audiologist and is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of auditory experience on children’s spoken language development. She has a passion for helping every child reach their fullest potential. Tina lives in Highland Park, IL with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.
Crystal Johnson - Parent
My name is Crystal Johnson. I have became a board member in January 2020. My husband, Todd, and I are adoptive parents of a wonderful 4 year old boy with Down syndrome who also happens to have a unilateral hearing loss. I also had a daughter in March 2020. My children are my life and I enjoy every milestone with them!
I am a special education teacher at Early Childhood in Quincy, Illinois. I specialize in working with children with Autism and have been the Autism classroom teacher for 9 years now. I love to work with kids and find things that help them live their life to their fullest potential.
Ramona Martin - Parent
My name is Ramona Martin. I live in Illiopolis, just 20 minutes from Springfield. I am a full time Social Worker in an alternative High School in Springfield. I joined Guide By Your Side in 2020 as a Parent Guide. My husband, Andrew, and I have 2 sets of twins. Our first set, Hannah and Hunter, were born in 2008. Hunter was identified through the newborn hearing screening and diagnosed at 2 months as having bilateral mild-moderate hearing loss. Our second set of twins, Owen and Noah, were born in 2011. Owen was also identified through the newborn hearing screening and diagnosed at 1 month as having bilateral mild-moderate hearing loss. Both boys have been aided since 3 months and 2 months, while their twins both have normal hearing. I have been blessed with children who want to help others and advocate for others. We have progressed through this journey together, learning as we go. I have sat beside Hunter and Owen as they bravely speak to legislators on behalf of all children in Illinois and I am honored to be their mother. I believe that all children have a voice and are the best to teach us what they need. I love seeing children advocate for themselves and I enjoy learning from them!
Christen Nolfi - Parent
Christen Nolfi lives with her family in Prospect Heights, IL. She is the mother to an eight year old son, Noah, who was born deaf. Christen was a parent guide with Guide By Your Side for 6 years. She enjoys meeting families who have children with hearing loss and connecting to share stories and tips. Christen is a special education teacher in District 23.
Dan Roche - Professional and CODA (Child of Deaf Adult)
My name is Dan Roche, and I joined the Illinois Hands and Voices Board of Directors in the spring of 2018. I am a coda, a hearing child of deaf parents. Of course, I am a grown man now, but that experience of growing up in a deaf culture home, while being hearing myself, provided for me a different way to look at the world, the majority hearing world.
Currently I work in early intervention for the state of Illinois focusing on families with infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. I find the work extremely rewarding.
Jaclyn Urbanksi - Parent and Guide By Your Side
My name is Jaclyn Urbanski. I live in Libertyville with my husband Steve and we have 3 adult children: Alison, Ethan and Ella. I’ve been on the IL H&V Board since 2016 (6 years). I’ve been on the IL Guide by Your Side team since 2010 (11 years). Ethan is 23 years old and wears bilateral CIs. In May 2020, Ethan graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis with a degree in HealthCare and Business. He currently works full time as an Associate at Eli Lilly and Company. Zeppelin, his chocolate lab can always be found by his side or in the kitchen ;) My journey with Ethan has taught me so many amazing things and I’ve meet so many wonderful people. I enjoy having the opportunity to share my experience and to help others who are now traveling the path of raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Parents should always feel comfortable, safe and supported in the decisions and choices they make for their families.
Laura Wolf - Professional
Hi! My name is Laura Wolf and I am a second year graduate student at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago pursuing my doctorate in Audiology. I started my position in March 2020 and I am very excited to plan great events that bring families together. I really love the motto Illinois Hands and Voices projects and I look forward to helping families make the right choice for them by providing resources and options!
Bess Wolff - Parent
I’m Bess Wolff; I live in Champaign, Illinois with my husband and son, Marshall and I work in lending. I joined Illinois Hands & Voices and Guide By Your Side when my toddler was diagnosed with mild bilateral hearing loss and I felt overwhelmed by the slew of appointments, worry, research and general unpreparedness. We still have so many unknowns and we may always, but thanks to Illinois Hands & Voices I have the resources to tackle the unknowns. I am happy to share my knowledge and experiences with anyone that’s feeling overwhelmed. I joined Illinois Hands & Voices to help my family get answers, but I joined our Board of Directors to help other families feel connected, informed, engaged, and heard.