Guide Regions and Bios
Spanish Parent Guide
Hola, soy Mayra Nunez Soltero. Soy mexicana, vivo en Shakopee con mis ninas y esposo; tengo dos hermosas hijas Laila y Camila de 5 y 3 anos respectivamente, Camila tiene sindrome Down, y desde nacimiento diagnosticada con audicion unilateral, tiene perdida auditiva profunda en el oido derecho. Laila es la mejor hermana que ella puede tener, participa de manera activa y eficaz en las terapias y educacion de su pequena hermana a la cual ama profundamente. En casa nos comunicamos en Espanol, Ingles y lenguaje de senales americano. Soy Licenciada en Educacion Preescolar, lo cual me ha servido mucho para apoyar en el desarrollo y educacion de mis hijas. Me encanta leer, hacer manualidades y crear pequenos cuentos infantiles para mis ninas, disfruto mucho pasear en bicicleta con mi familia y escaparnos a Mexico cada vez que nos es posible. Estoy muy emocionada de formar parte de la familia de MN Hands & Voices y espero que todas las familias de la comunidad hispana podamos formar un gran equipo!
Hi, my name is Mayra Nunez Soltero. I am Mexican and live in Shakopee with my girls and husband. I have two beautiful daughters named Laila and Camila who are 5 and 3 years old respectively. Camila has Down syndrome, and since birth was diagnosed with unilateral hearing loss. She has severe hearing loss in her right ear. Laila is the best sister Camila can have. She participates actively and effectively in the therapies and education of her little sister who she deeply loves. In home we communicate in Spanish, English and American Sign Language. I have a degree in birth to six year education, and this background has been really helpful in the education of my girls. I love to read, make handcrafts and write story books for my daughters. I enjoy bike riding with my family and escape to Mexico each time we have an opportunity. I am very exited to be part of MN Hands & Voices family and I hope to create a great team with all the families of the Hispanic community!
Family Support Coordinator
Candace is the mother of a son who is profoundly deaf. Besides being the Coordinator for MN Hands & Voices since its inception, Candace has served on the MN Dept. of Health's Newborn Hearing Screening and Newborn Screening Advisory Committees. She has also served as Co-Chair of the Center for Disease Control's Parent-to-Parent Committee, developing parent materials for national use. She is a Board member of the national and international organization, Hands & Voices. She has presented at national, state and local conferences. Prior to her work at MN Hands & Voices, she worked for 8 years counseling families in crisis.
Interests: Children who are deaf and hard of hearing plus medical concerns, educational advocacy, and legislative policy.
Metro MN- Laura Godfrey
Lead Parent Guide- Metro
Laura Godfrey lives in Scott County, and is a parent of a son who is hard of hearing. She joined the MN Hands & Voices team in 2009 and in 2011, took on the role as Lead Parent Guide.
She serves of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board.
Metro MN- Robin Coninx
Metro Parent Guide
Robin has 4 children, two in college and two in high school, 3 boys and 1 girl.
All three of Robin's boys are hearing and her daughter has a profound hearing loss and is medically fragile. She served on the MN Hands & Voices' Advisory Committee since 2004 and after having worked for the program before, is now back as a Parent Guide again.
Interests: Legislative issues, educational advocacy, volunteerism.
Central MN- Brenda Hommerding
Central Parent Guide
Brenda Hommerding lives in Rice, MN, and is a parent of twin girls. Amanda and Ashley were born in 2001 and have different degrees of hearing loss. Brenda is also hard of hearing and has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993. Brenda has been the central region parent guide of MN Hands and Voices since 2006. She serves on the St. Cloud area DHHS Advisory Board. She is a part of the region’s SNAPS (Socialization, Networking, Advocacy, and Parent Support) group and provides events for families locally.
Interests: Educational issues
Southeast MN- Mary Ellen Bondhus
Southeast Parent Guide
Mary Ellen lives in Faribault, MN and is the parent of twin boys. Paul & Mary Ellen have been married for over 15 years. They have twin boys with hearing loss. Their family uses both Spoken English and American Sign Language to meet the needs of our children. She joined the MN Hands & Voices' team in 2009.
Interests: Mary Ellen is involved in the Region 10 DHHS Advisory Board, Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf Site Council and Parent Teacher Houseparent Alumni Association, Divine Mercy Home & School Committee, Christ Through Hands Ministry Board and Faribault Deaf Club. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering at the boys’ schools and her church.
Northwest MN-Shannon Horhman
Northwest Parent Guide
Shannon lives in Fergus Falls, MN and is the mother of two boys. Her oldest son is a student at Concoridia College in Moorhead and her youngest son Nicholas is 11yrs old , born profoundly deaf. He has two cochlears implants. He uses both oral and ASL communication.
Interests: District Curriculum Review Advisory Committee, EHDI Advisory Committee, DHHS Advisory Committee.
Southwest MN- Kris Hemstock
Southwest Parent Guide
Kris lives in Mankato area. She is the mother to three children, including a twelve year old son who is hard of hearing. She currently serves as a member of the Region 9 EHDI team, sits on the MNHV Advisory Board, and has served on the DHHS Advisory Board. She has an academic background in psychology.
Interests: family support, particularly the social-emotional health of children and families experiencing hearing loss.
Upper NW MN- Leslie Carnegie-Hilde
Upper Northwest Guide
Hello my name is Leslie Carnegie-Hilde I live in Norman County with my two daughters. My oldest daughter is 12 and was born with congenital Atresia to her right ear, leaving her with single sided deafness plus (Bi-polar). She currently has the BAHA Implant. My second daughter is 6yrs. At birth she had an injury that left her with a Brachial Plexus injury to her right arm and shoulder. Both of my girls have as big a heart as they do a smile.
Life gets busy for us but we always find time to enjoy it as a family. Whether its headed to the lakes or doing some sightseeing away from home but not to far.
We all have our own special needs and my family is no exception! With a strong support system and wonderful resources such as MN Hands & Voices it has our journey just alittle easier.
Northeast MN - Marie Pank
Northeast MN Parent Guide
Marie has an education in psychology and counseling. She also has a background in accommodating different abilities and learning styles in educational, personal, and everyday settings. She has 2 children with special needs including deafness, autism, and other delays.