Meet the Parent Guides

A Parent Guide is a specially trained parent of a Deaf or Hard of Hearing child who work as a “Guide” directly with families who have just learned their child cannot hear, or who have older children and are in need of the unique support that comes from someone else who has walked this path him/herself and can share from direct experience and wisdom.

Lisa Pettit

Lisa Pettit

I was born and raised in Tucson. I live there with my husband Lee, my son Riley (born in 2000), and my daughter Sabrina (born in 2005). Sabrina is hearing. Riley was born 12 weeks early and spent the first 7 weeks of his life in the NICU. He passed his newborn hearing screen but at age 4, was diagnosed with moderate to severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and Auditory Neuropathy. He has worn hearing aids ever since. Because he was diagnosed so late, he had learned to lip read and was oral. Because he had a speech delay, he was enrolled in Early Intervention and received speech therapy since he was a baby. I am so thankful for that because, without that, he could have been so behind in language, as we did not know he was hard of hearing.  Riley has helped guide us on this journey with what works best for him.  Riley is attending Pima Community College and pursuing a degree in Digital Film Arts. We are very proud of the young man he is becoming.

I have been a member of Arizona Hands & Voices and a Guide by Your Side Parent Guide since 2008. I was so happy to find this organization and to know that we were not alone. It has been a great experience for my son to meet other kids who are similar to him. It has been wonderful meeting other parents and supporting and learning from each other.

 Cheryl Gilroy

I have a Masters in Arts in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Education from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in Deaf Studies. My Bachelors of Science is in Special Education and Rehabilitation from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in Speech & Hearing. I am an Arizona State Certified Teacher of the Hearing Impaired (birth-12). I have more than 20 years experience working with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children and their families. I was a preschool teacher for 5 years at Phoenix Day School for Deaf (PDSD) and I also taught toddler class for several years as well. For more than 15 years I worked as a Hearing Specialist with AzEIP, Arizona’s Early Intervention Program; working with D/HH children and families in their homes.

My husband and I have 5 beautiful children, our youngest son was adopted from the foster care system.  He was born bilaterally deaf, and wears cochlear implants. My passion is working with deaf plus children and their families. I am a strong advocate who supports families on their journey by helping them navigate the complicated state system hence the reason I became a Parent Guide. My vision is empowering families and D/HH children with knowledge in order to reach their fullest potential.  My favorite motto is, the Hands & Voices motto: “What works for your child is what makes the choice right.” ™ I also enjoy volunteering as a Parent Leader with Raising Special Kids, camping, swimming, and hiking. 

Toni Vega

Our journey started in 2009 with the birth of our daughter, Isabella. At birth, Isabella did not pass her hearing screening and since then we have been on this journey. Now, our family of 5 includes myself, my husband Nathan, Isabella (11), and our two boys, Roman (6) and Nathanael (3) who are both hearing.

Isabella is deaf and what we call a total communication kiddo. Bilaterally implanted, she uses her voice when she chooses but considers American Sign Language to be her primary mode of communication. Over the years, she has learned to advocate for herself and her communication preferences. Our family has learned, and continues to learn, sign language to communicate with her. Isabella attends a dual enrollment program here in Tucson and is happy and thriving. She also plays sports and participates in the deaf community at Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

I joined Hands & Voices with the desire to support parents – especially Spanish-speaking families. My family believes every child is unique and so are their needs. Meeting and interacting with other families like mine is a blessing and a huge support.

Liliana Herrera

I am a mom of three, Sofia (6), Yovani (3) and Jonathan (1). Sofia and Jonathan are both hearing. Yovani is Hard of Hearing Plus, which means he has multiple challenges. He has late-onset hearing loss. At 18 months, he was diagnosed with ZTTK Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. When he was 2, he had surgery for his third set of ear tubes and a sedated ABR. It was there that he was diagnosed with a hearing loss. He wears hearing aids and has miraculously kept them on since day one – I’ve been told that’s not always the case. Yovani attends a developmental preschool, which has helped him progress so much developmentally and socially. His teacher wears an FM system and we use one at home as well. He is a little guy full of life that loves to play with his sister and brother. I am still learning what it means to be on this journey and I continually see how my son has inspired me to have a new understating of life.

I became a parent guide to provide support to families and let them know that even though our paths might be different, they frequently cross each other. Being able to meet new families and gain new friendships and perspectives along the way has been priceless. 

Laurie Sang

I am a native to Arizona. I attended Arizona State University where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Biomedical engineering and a minor in psychology. I currently work as a Regulatory Program Manager for a large medical device company. I have 2 children, Colby (13) and Brendan (5). We live in Gilbert with my partner, Matt. Brendan is deaf plus, meaning he has other medical challenges. He currently has had 18 surgeries for multiple things including being born with half a heart. Brendan has bilateral hearing loss and wears BAHAs. 
We had a deaf/hard of hearing guide when Brendan was younger and it made such an impact on our family that I knew right away that I wanted to be able to give back to other families as well. I became a parent guide in November of 2020 and my passion is now helping other families navigate through the challenges of having a child with hearing loss as well.  

Our journey is still going and we are learning together. Working hard and thriving.