North Central Region

Our Service Area

The North Central Region encompasses the following states:


What We Do

Our regional offices bring HKNC resources to you. Your regional representative knows all about the programs and services that are available to DeafBlind individuals, their families and service providers in your state and beyond, and can help you find and access the ones that are right for you.

Whether you’re interested in learning about support services near your home, would like to take advantage of the technology available through the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program or want to explore the possibility of training at our national headquarters, your regional representative is your link to all that HKNC has to offer ─ consultation, advocacy, assessment, training, referrals and more.

Regional Representative

John Filek

On February 16, 2021, we welcomed John Filek, Region 5 services coordinator, covering IL, MN, WI, MI, IN and OH.  He will oversee Region 5’s DeafBlind specialists for IL, Joann Rushing, IN/OH, Kacie Weldy, MI/OH, Karlee Wascher and IL’s youth services coordinator, McKenna Liesman.

For the past six years, John served as Director of Programs at Vision Loss Resources, St. Paul, MN, managing three state and grant-funded programs - Rehabilitation Services, Community Services and DeafBlind Services Minnesota. He was Program Manager of the nationally recognized DeafBlind Services Minnesota’s Children, Youth and Family Services Program for 15 years.

A proud CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), he  worked in the Deaf and DeafBlind community for nearly three decades in various roles including being an interpreter, advocate and intervener.

John has a Master’s in Education from the University of Minnesota.

John has always dreamt of working with HKNC, and has had a long standing collaborative relationship with Region 5.

Welcome John!

Contact Information

John Filek (Regional Representative)


Carrie Benson (Administrative Assistant)


Voice: 516-497-1415

VP: 612-428-3194

Local Events

Are you interested in getting involved in the DeafBlind community in the North Central Region? Your regional representative can provide information about social gatherings, conferences, listservs and more. Check this space for announcements about upcoming events or contact your regional representative to request email notifications.

Local Resources

You need answers about what’s out there for you, and HKNC has them.

Ask your regional representative about:

  • The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
  • Local services and referrals
  • On-site assessment, consultation and training
  • Making connections with other individuals and families within the deaf-blind community
  • Technical assistance and in-service training
  • Plans for youth transitioning from educational programs to post-educational services
  • Educational materials and presentations about the capabilities and preferences of people with combined vision and hearing loss

If the services you need are not available in your area, you might want to consider exploring HKNC headquarters in New York as an option for assessment and training. Check out our FAQs and contact your regional representative for more information.

Local Organizations

HKNC maintains relationships with various government agencies and nonprofit organizations that serve DeafBlind individuals. Your regional representative can connect you with the best contacts at each organization