The Colorado Chapter has a long tradition of presenting the annual Families First Award to the parent or professional who goes above and beyond in their efforts to improve systems or services for families raising children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
2018 Awards: The Screening Bill is Law
Representative Millie Hamner, Senator Dominick Moreno, Representative Larry Liston, Senator Bob Gardner were recognized as the primary sponsors of the Modernizing Colorado Newborn Screening bill, HB 18-1006, which put into place the replacement of the statewide database, staff to oversee the EHDI program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the funding to support these important efforts. Representative Hamner was on hand personally to receive the award and to inspire us with a vision of what state government can do when stakeholders take their place as advocates.
While the bill has yet to be placed into the Rulemaking, we are hopeful that services will emerge as strong if not stronger than they were prior to 2016. Follow the rulemaking progress on the CDPHE website.
2017 Award Winner: Dianne Goberis
The 2017 Benefit attendees honored Dianne Goberis, teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, who has had a long an celebrated career in early childhood education. Dianne was the beloved preschool teacher at Mountain View Elementary in Adams 12 School District for 30 years, and served the Marion Downs Hearing Center as Director of Language/Literacy and Youth Programs. As such, she led the summer preschool intensive at Marion’s Way each summer among her other projects.
Dianne was instrumental in the success of the well-known preschool program at Mountain View, the longstanding Deaf and Hard of Hearing Track and Field Day for Metro Denver, involved in research on pragmatic language, published in the field, and was a frequent presenter and supporter of deaf/hard of hearing education statewide. She was often called upon to welcome out of state and foreign visitors to Mountain View, to mentor, to teach, and she was an inspiration to many of “her kids” to enter the field.
Liesel Thomas, our Assistant Director and Guide By Your Side Coordinator along with her daughter, Sophie Thomas, one of Dianne’s former preschoolers, took the stage to share about Dianne’s many accomplishments and not least of all, her vision for doing what works for each child. We heard from many past students who shared pictures from past events along with their congratulations to “Goberis” as she is called by those closest to her. Dianne’s family were in attendance and many parents and professionals came to honor her in particular.
Please join us in remembering Dianne who passed away on January 16, 2019. We thank her family for sharing her with us and remember her for her many contributions to excellence in early childhood education, deaf education as a whole, and her support of families. She somehow never missed one of her kids’ games, either! Dianne, from our board of directors, staff, volunteers and most importantly, from and on behalf of the families we serve, we thank you and are glad that you chose deaf education as your lifelong passion. We treasure your smarts, your generous sharing of resources and expertise, and your sense of humor.
Nominations for the Families First Award
Help us recognize the professionals and parents who pioneer on behalf of all our children. In every field, there are those who forge ahead with a tireless spirit to “make things happen” for our deaf and hard of hearing kids: they may be parents, professionals, or politicians or policy-makers.
Send in your nomination letter to recognize those who go the extra mile, who challenge the status quo, and who immeasurably enrich the lives of our children. Details about their service and impact are most welcome!
Nominations will be accepted annually until July 1st this each year. Please send nomination letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous honorees of the Families First award include: Dianne Goberis, Janet DesGeorges, Leeanne Seaver, and Cheryl Johnson (COHV and HQ founders), Annette Landes, Susie Broderick, Vickie Thomson, Cliff Moers, Shana Bokelman, Representative Mark Larson, Rob Frantum-Allen, Allison Sedey, Barbara Jean Wood, Stephanie Olson, Dinah Beams, Allison Biever, Donna Ewing, BJ Brubaker-Blocker, Denise Davis-Pedrie, Ruth Mathers, Cathy Noble Hornsby, Brian W. Smith, Cheryl DeConde Johnson, and Christine Yoshinaga-Itano.