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Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Deaf Mentor Family Program

The Deaf Mentor Family Program (DMFP) is offered to families who have a child identified as deaf or hard of hearing (DHH), ages birth to 21, with a focus on young children. DMFP builds a positive foundation for communication by facilitated early language through American Sign Language (ASL) and sharing valuable insight about the social-emotional development of children who are DHH.

How It Works

  • Deaf Mentors use the SKI-HI, a researched-based curriculum, which supports, teaches, facilitates, and models with families ways to promote communication and early language skills to best meet the needs for their child who is DHH.
  • Deaf Mentors are fluent in American Sign Language, but also have an easy communication style with family members who hear and genuinely enjoy working with children.
  • “Design Your Own Deaf Mentor Family Program” is provided for flexible scheduling.
  • Families begin with an introductory online ASL program to lay a foundation for DMFP visits.
  • Visits occur where it is most convenient for families, at home. This also provides a comfortable environment where children can learn best.
  • During visits, families learn ASL and other communication techniques unique to children who are DHH. In this relaxed setting, family members are encouraged to ask questions about ASL, Deaf culture, or daily life as an individual who is DHH.

Apply for the DMFP today!  Email your application form to  Someone will be in touch with you within 48 hours. Enrollment is dependent upon the availability of funds at the time of application.

Deaf Mentor Qualifications

Deaf Mentors have completed training using the SKI-HI Deaf Mentor Training Curriculum, offered by the SKI-HI Institute in Utah.  Deaf Mentors have been chosen based on their fluency in ASL, their ability to communicate easily with hearing families, their comfort with young children, and their ability to support family decisions.  The Deaf Mentors also receive on-going training to provide services in accordance with “A Plan for Mentorship of Minnesota Families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.”

Meet Lifetrack's Deaf Mentors.

Funding for the Program

Lifetrack’s Deaf Mentor Family Program is funded in part by the Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).


Danelle Gournaris, MA, MS
Deaf Mentor Family Program Manager
709 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55104

Mentoring Sessions & Family Testimonials

Get a first-hand look at a mentoring session (3.14.2016)
View one family's testimonial (6.14.2016)
Preview a mentoring session (10.8.2014)
An interview with the parents (10.8.2014)
Program Flyer

Lifetrack's Impact in 2018

  • Clients Served


  • Volunteer Hours


  • Families Served


  • Delta Dental
    Delta Dental
  • Collegis Education
    Collegis Education
  • Wells Fargo
    Wells Fargo
  • Associated Bank
    Associated Bank
  • American Family Insurance
    American Family Insurance
  • Marbrook Foundation
    Marbrook Foundation
  • Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation
    Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation
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