Staff & Board

Meet our Staff

California Hands & Voices Executive Director

Cora and her husband are proud parents to an adult daughter and two sons. Her oldest daughter was born with gastroschisis and her sons were both born with a moderately severe hearing level. Cora is a founding board member of California Hands & Voices and a graduate of the Hands & Voices Leader to Leader to Leader Program. She previously worked as a Parent Mentor with Parent Links and as an Interpreter at Wichita State University. Cora was awarded the 2014 Lee Katz Award (ASDC) and 2017 Parent of the Year award (CAL-ED) in honor of her commitment to ensuring no family walks this journey alone.

email cshahid@carescprc.org


Finance Specialist

Kat and her husband Stan live in Redding, California, and they have 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren. Dylan is their youngest child and is Deaf. Kat recently retired as the Executive Director at Rowell Family Empowerment of No. California, a non-profit, IDEA funded Parent Center that provides support, information and training to families who have children with diverse abilities. Kat currently volunteers as one of the California Hands & Voices ASTra Advocates.


Bilingual Parent Guide (Spanish/English)

My name is Patricia Gomez and I am a Bilingual Parent Guide at CARES. I am a mother of four, 2 boys and 2 girls my oldest is 21 and my youngest is 7. In January 8, 2008 my oldest daughter was diagnose with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia she has a learning disability due to all the chemotherapy treatment she received. My biggest achievement in life is being able to understand and help my daughter thrive, and have the knowledge to become a better parent for my kids.

I graduated from UEI collage as a Medical Office Specialist in October, 2020. I love to learn and I’m always opened to learn new things. One of my Goals is to be able to help parent who has kids with disabilities and share the knowledge I’ve learn thru the years. My second goal is to acquire more knowledge to be able to grow professionally in this career. My favorite hobby is to bake and cook. My dream is to help others and be able to be a support them emotionally.

“Each child Shines in its own way it is up to us to us as parent to help them shine.”


Bilingual Parent Guide (Spanish/English)

Catalina Partida joins the CARES CPRC team as a Bilingual Parent Guide serving both Imperial and San Diego Counties. She is a wife and mother of two beautiful children with special needs who brings extensive professional and personal knowledge to our team. Mrs. Partida obtained her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University. She also has worked with individuals who have multiple disabilities in numerous settings covering various demographics that range from pediatrics to geriatrics. She strives in helping individuals reach their maximum level of independence in their homes, communities, and educational settings by engaging individuals in meaningful activities. Mrs. Partida’s passion entails the empowerment of families to become the voices of their children.

“All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and someone who believes in them.”   -Magic Johnson


Contact the Board President: Rosabel@carescprc.org


Meet our Board

Board President

Rosabel is a parent of 3 children, an adult daughter age 26 who was diagnosed in 2017 with Bipolar Disorder, a 13 year old deaf child, and a 11 year old identified with Specific Learning Disorder and fluency issues.  She has been an advocate in the community for over 20 years, including working for the rights of low income families and all families with children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Her career in Healthcare Administration helped branch her knowledge and expertise in Quality Risk Management and Clinical Research. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development, Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders & Deaf Education, and a Masters in Public Health Specializing in Health Promotion. Rosabel has extensive experience in public speaking including Raising a DHH Family and a Diversity Panel that presented both at the 2017 Hands & Voices Leadership Conference and the 2018 EHDI Conference. She was the Unit President for California PTA at Park Village Elementary and currently serves as the Chair of the Special Education Community Advisory Committee for Poway Unified School District. She currently works for Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego as the Lead Clinical Research Coordinator for the Department of Rheumatology.


Board Member

Brianna Meshke McLay lives in the North County of San Diego with her husband and their three kids. She has extensive experience working with Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams, both as a parent and a professional. One of her children is hard of hearing and has apraxia of speech secondary to a chromosomal deletion, and currently receives services through an IEP. Along with working as a school psychologist at the high school level, Brianna recently completed her Ph.D. in Education. She also serves on the board for California Hands & Voices as a co-representative for the San Diego/Imperial County area. As someone who has worn both hats, she strongly feels that parents should be equipped with the knowledge and resources to advocate for the needs of their children with confidence.


Board Member

My name is Nita Jha, I was born in Mumbai, which is one of the most multicultural cities in India. India itself is one of the most multicultural civilizations in the world with more than 22 official languages and almost 650 spoken languages with each language having its own script. I am one of 5 siblings and along with my cousins and other family members live in a large joint family. I learned Marathi, Hindi, English, and Gujarati languages and have a degree in medicine from MUHS one of the renowned medical universities in India.

I was married to my husband who holds a Ph.D. degree in Micro-Electronics in 2007 and moved with him to Taiwan. That was a completely new place with Mandarin as an official language of communication with Taiwanese as a local dialect. I stayed in Taiwan for 4 years and during that time my Son Eashan was born in Taiwan. I had started learning Mandarin in Taiwan and volunteered for companies’ health centers and preschools. We have made a lot of friends in Taiwan, with whom we are still in touch, and visited them a couple of times in the last 8 years while we are in the US.

We moved to the US in 2011 and stayed in Bay Area till 2017. We moved to San Diego the same year when my child went to second grade at a PUSD elementary school.

My Son was diagnosed with high functioning ASD

I had been advocating IEPs for my Child Since 2014.

One of the most important ideas I believe in; is to create an equal platform to respect each and every cultural/social/emotional background. I have various volunteering experiences; I was a field trip coordinator in my son’s school at Santa Clara Unified school district where I experienced how hands-on activities are important in the learning and growth of children regardless of their learning abilities. I had chaired the 2019 heritage fair. Organizing such events with our excellent PTA team and creating an equal platform for children of all abilities is my most important goal and my channel to serve our global community. I work as an IA and co-teach In an RSP class. I work with students with all and different abilities where I can broaden my vision swells help the students achieve their goals.


Board Member

Joe Goyos has spent the last 20 years in the disability field in many roles and capacities.  At the age of 12 his father had an accident and suffered a spine injury which left him with limited mobility.  His family was non-English speaking Cuban immigrants, as a result Joe translated at all appointments for his mom. That experience set him on a path that led to positions as a Paraprofessional, Teacher, Director of Structured Day Program for adults with Traumatic Brain Injuries, Special Education Advocate, and Coordinator of a NYS Dept. of Ed. Parent Center.  In 2010, his family moved to California where he worked at Support for Families in San Francisco as the Community Parent Resource Center (CPRC) Program Director till the family moved again in 2020 to San Diego and he joined Exceptional Family Resource Center.  In 2021, CARES was awarded a US Department of Education CPRC grant for Southern California and Joe joined the team to bring those needed services to San Diego and Imperial Counties.


Open Board Positions

We are looking for enthusiastic individuals who live in San Diego and Imperial County to serve on our board. We seek board members with a broad variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and experience. Individuals with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities and educators are encouraged to consider applying.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this position please contact our Board President, Rosabel Agbayani, at Rosabel@carescprc.org

More info Volunteer – California Hands & Voices CARES CRPC (carescprc.org)

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