Happy New Year 2024 to the Canadian Stuttering Association (CSA) community: our members, volunteers, supporters, generous donors and sponsors!
Thanks to all of you, the CSA continues to grow its reach as a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing support and resources to those who stutter, their families, and their allies and to promoting awareness and understanding of stuttering with the aim of helping persons who stutter live as effectively as possible with their stutter, and to achieve their full personal and professional potential.
Volunteers and CSA Board Directors
As a volunteer driven association, we depend on a dedicated and passionate team of volunteers, including volunteer CSA Board Directors, many of whom are persons who stutter, with a full-time day job, who generously donate their time, expertise, talent and sometimes funds towards meeting the CSA’s important mission. Each board director has an important and unique role in the association.
In 2023 we welcomed five new CSA Board Members, some of whom are professionals in their area of expertise related to their Board position. For the first time, the CSA recruited a career volunteer “fundraiser” whose expertise helped us to raise a much needed $17,100 in support of the annual conference and CSA mission! The CSA Board and volunteers form a powerful, talented and dynamic team! THANK YOU, TEAM!
Annual Conference: They spoke their own adventure!
One of the highlights of 2023 was the CSA Annual Conference, held at the historic Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa. The CSA continued its initiative to expand in-person conferences to multiple days and to host them in different cities across the nation. The Conference was a great success, with over 100 attendees, two illustrious and inspirational keynote speakers -- comedian and motivational speaker Joze Piranian and an author Daniel Allen Cox; a talented songwriter and singing performer, Berenice Edima; great food and networking opportunities; interesting workshops; family and youth programming; author signings; and most importantly, an opportunity for all to speak their own adventure. And they did! Read the article about Cynthianna, age 10, and how the CSA conferences have changed her life by helping her to speak, draw and even sing her own adventure! Don McLean has also written an article for our website describing his ‘aha’ moment at our conference.
Feedback from conference attendees was overwhelmingly positive!
Online Let’s Talk Events continue to be a success. We offered three of these in 2023, all of which were recorded and are available to view by registering:
- Self Advocacy for Back to School
- Trauma-informed Stuttering Therapy: What It Is and Why It Matters
- Stuttering and Cluttering – What’s the connection?
There are five Let’s Talk events planned for 2024. Some of the sessions are based on workshops given at the 2023 CSA Conference. Be sure to look for announcements in the CSA monthly newsletter and to check the Events calendar regularly.
International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD)
The CSA continued its initiative to light up Canada in Sea Foam Green for ISAD!
New Initiatives in 2023
The CSA created a few new initiatives in 2023 in line with its current strategic plan, such as the Schools Initiative, spearheaded by our Family and Youth Programming Coordinator. It was launched as a pilot in Ottawa schools, with the goal of raising awareness in schools about stuttering and offering support to teachers, school SLPs and officials. The Online Youth Support Group, a part of our family and youth programming initiative, was also launched and advertised in the Schools Initiative.
Thanks to our new Marketing and Communications Coordinator, the CSA produced its first CSA promotional video! The video was used for the Schools Initiative and is also earmarked for attracting sponsors and donors!
Infrastructure and Technology
The CSA also continued work on its infrastructure, developing policy, attracting much needed financial support, and, thanks to our volunteer Website Developer and Technology Guru, growing and securing the website and event registration systems. The CSA migrated to Microsoft 365 in 2023, beginning with CSA email and Microsoft Teams for internal meetings.
2024 Plans for the CSA
As the 5 year strategic plan “STEPPS” approaches completion, the CSA is gearing up to develop a new strategic plan. Board members already have some goals in mind that will help create the new plan!
The following are a few new projects that were recently launched or are planned to launch in 2024:
Outreach, Support and Awareness
- Expand the Schools Initiative to more cities and provinces.
- Grow our Support Groups, to include an Online Support Group for Parents, an Online Minecraft Childrens Group, and an Online Support Group for Teens, amongst others.
- Attract media coverage and find ways to reach individuals who are not already part of our community.
- Grow our social media reach and create a CSA Podcast “I Stutter’ with a possible tag line “It’s Just The Way We Talk”.
- Offer five new Let’s Talk Events, starting with Let’s Talk: Two Canadian Stuttering Studies: What? Why? And how? On January 21, 2024, 3-5:30 pm EST. In addition, past Let’s Talk Events are now available on-line with registration and a small fee of $10 per event. Enjoy!
- More documentary screenings.
- Plan and deliver a 2024 Conference.
- Implement new fundraising plan.
- Migrate CSA documents to Microsoft 365.
- Expand the use of Teams for online meetings.
- Use SharePoint for shared documents (real-time collaboration).
- Seek out and/or develop both Volunteer and a Fundraising Management System.
- Investigate VOIP.ms for phone system.
- Review and update the CSA Constitution.
- Review and update the CSA Bylaws.
- Succession planning for Board of Directors.
- Grow volunteer committees to support each Board Director.
- Complete policy review and development.
The CSA Board of Directors are geared up for a dynamic 2024. Our drive, motivation and sense of satisfaction come from knowing we are furthering the CSA’s reach, raising awareness, and supporting the stuttering community from coast to coast. We can’t do this without you, our volunteers, members, supporters, and generous donors and sponsors! Together, we can make our world a better place for those who stutter, a place where we can all speak our adventure!
On behalf of the Canadian Stuttering Association Board of Directors, I extend warm wishes to you all for a fulfilling, peaceful, happy and healthy New Year 2024!!!
CSA National Coordinator and Chair