HNH History

history

Hand-N-Hand of Northeastern Wisconsin, Inc. (Hand-N-Hand) provides support and facilitates resources for families with children experiencing hearing loss.  Since 2002, Hand-N-Hand has been the voice that makes a difference in the lives of families who have children with hearing loss throughout Northeast Wisconsin.

Hand-N-Hand is a non-profit organization which provides support and facilitates resources for families with children experiencing hearing loss.  In 2002, Hand-N-Hand began as a playgroup; in January 2004, it became a non-profit organization.  Our vision is that in NE WI, all babies and young children who are identified with hearing loss will have a centralized resource. This centralized resource would combine the existing efforts from Hand-N-Hand and create a regional alliance with other agencies that provide services for families with children experiencing hearing loss.

Before Hand-N-Hand was started, no social programs existed north of Milwaukee for children younger than school age. Now opportunities occur weekly for young children with hearing loss and their families. Hand-N-Hand promotes language, early literacy, and social and emotional development as well as provides information and resources about hearing loss. Weekly communication groups, summer outings, parent and community education workshops and sign language classes for children and adults, outreach presentations, a lending library, and scholarships are offered at Hand-N-Hand.  Classes are taught by individuals educated in the Deaf & Hard of Hearing field as well as Deaf individuals. 

Jenny Geiken is a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, a Birth to Three Consultant for infants and toddlers with hearing loss and a PPCI (Professional Preparation in Cochlear Implants) alumni. As a teacher in Wisconsin, she witnessed the need and desire for connections among children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families with other families who have a deaf or hard of hearing child. With Universal Newborn Hearing Screenings occurring in the majority of hospitals in the state, children are being identified with hearing loss at a much younger age than in the past. Jenny realized that families need the opportunity to have fun, socialize with their child who is deaf or hard of hearing and other families, and gain unbiased information about hearing loss. In 2002, Jenny founded Hand-N-Hand as a playgroup; in January 2004, it became a non-profit organization.

From a community and statewide perspective, Jenny has demonstrated leadership in developing Hand-N-Hand. This organization has expanded since its inception over twelve years ago, to include educational seminars and classes, providing additional support for families, children, and providers.  Jenny has sought out various financial resources to support the organization in the form of grants at the community and regional level.  Through this process, she has educated others about the importance of intervention and education for deaf and hard of hearing children, raising the community’s awareness of the impact a hearing loss may have on a child’s and family’s development.

Hand-N-Hand is the voice that makes a difference in the lives of families who have children with hearing loss throughout Northeast Wisconsin.
 

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