COVINA—Despite a bit of unanticipated precipitation, 17 families gathered in Cougar Park on Saturday, September 12, as California Hands & Voices successfully hosted its first ever picnic for Microtia Atresia, Deaf and Hard of Hearing families and friends. 

“Most Californians get scared with even just a little rain, but Californian DHH parents have thicker skin,” proclaimed Yiesell Rayon, the event’s organizer. “It rained on us for about half an hour during our Microtia Atresia DHH picnic, but not a single family left.”

An attendee of the event gets her face painted by an artist.

The picnic, which lasted from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., was co-sponsored by Cochlear™, which provided a face painter and balloon artist.

Cochlear™ is a leading company in the United States for providing Deaf and Hard of Hearing people with cochlear implants and has served hundreds of thousands of people in the past three decades. A cochlear implant is “an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear (cochlea) […] to provide sound signals to the brain,” according to the company website.

Cochlear co-sponsored the event, providing resources to families about cochlear implants.

The event also featured a barbecue hot dog lunch, arts and crafts, parent-to-parent support opportunities and various resources and information.

Although this was the first ever Family Picnic, California Hands & Voices has been hosting events aimed at bringing together the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities across California for years. The parent-driven, non-profit organization is “dedicated to supporting families’ choices in language, communication modality and methodologies without bias,” according to their mission statement.  All of their “outreach activities, parent/professional collaboration, and advocacy efforts are focused on empowering parents so that their Deaf and Hard of Hearing children can reach their highest potential.”

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California Hands & Voices is a part of the larger national organization Hands & Voices.

They currently serve nine regions across the state, from Humboldt to San Bernardino. To find out about various events, resources and volunteer opportunities in your region, click here.  You can also become a paid member of California Hands & Voices, or volunteer your time by clicking here.

California Hands & Voices is a subdivision of the larger, national organization Hands & Voices. For more information, visit