2017 CSA and Member Highlights
- Category: Personal Commentary
- Published: Thursday, 28 December 2017 15:32
- Written by Eeva Stierwalt, CSA National Coordinator
Hello CSA Family! As we approach 2018, I thought that it would be nice to review some of the highlights from 2017 as experienced by the CSA and some of our volunteers and members.
New Volunteers and our Newsletter
Our volunteer team grew in 2017. In October, I was elected the new National Coordinator, taking over for Andrew Harding, who worked hard and dedicated a great deal of time, energy and expertise to the CSA over the years. Thank you Andrew!
Pertinent to this newsletter, Christina Spicer and Julia Palozzi joined us as our new Monthly Newsletter Co-Coordinators. We’re very excited to have them on board and I think you can agree that they are doing a great job on the newsletter! In fact, it is growing in popularity and as of December 2017, we have 311 subscribers.
Thank you to our Social Media Coordinator, Alexandra D’Agostino, who has done a great job this year! On a personal level, being passionate about the stuttering community, she has also volunteered at the H. A. Leeper Speech and Hearing Clinic’s Speech Fluency Camp for children who stutter at Western University again for the 4th year in a row. In addition, she graduated from Wilfred Laurier University with a combined Honors B. A. in Anthropology and Psychology and has now entered into a post-graduate Nursing Scholar Practitioner program at Nipissing University in their Toronto location.
We had a successful conference on Saturday, October 28, with just over 100 people in attendance, some of whom travelled far to attend, including a delegation from the Association des Bègues du Canada (ABC) in Québec.
The following is a heartwarming highlight statement I’d like to share, written by our volunteer Conference Co-Coordinator, Program Coordinator, and Speech and Language Pathologist Casey Kennedy:
It was my great pleasure to again act as program coordinator and MC for this year's conference! I was particularly thrilled to see so many more teenagers and young adults this year, and I hope that trend continues next year. In the weeks that lead up to the conference, so much work needs to be done, and it's easy to wonder if it's all worth it (keep in mind that the entire staff at the CSA are volunteers who also have full-time jobs, families, and other commitments!) However, seeing the affect that we're having on the lives of people who stutter - creating an in-person space to meet, discuss, connect, share, and encourage - is so powerful, and inspires me every year. In particular this year, Kim Block's keynote speech was amazing. Her words broke me down, and took me back to when I was 7 years old, unsure why I talked this way, feeling so alone, scared, and frustrated. I still feel so fortunate to have found this community and the support I need - I know my 7 year old self would be so proud of what we're accomplishing together.
I’d like to thank our volunteer Conference Planning Committee for your dedication, expertise and long volunteer hours preparing for such a successful conference:
- Casey Kennedy (Co-Coordinator and Program Coordinator)
- Lisa Wilder (Co-Coordinator, Marketing)
- Alexandra D’Agostino (Media, Assistant coordinator)
- Carla Di Domenicantonio (Registrations, Assistant coordinator)
- Melina Etienne (Volunteers, Assistant coordinator)
- Andrew Harding (Assistant coordinator)
- Arun Khanna (Finances)
- Dan Leca (Technical assistant, Assistant coordinator)
- Daniele Rossi (Audio Visual)
- David Stones (Assistant coordinator)
- Mary Wood (Assistant Registration Coordinator)
Here’s a video of the CSA 2017 Conference Highlights! prepared by Daniele Rossi! Thanks Daniele.
Some of our members also attended the National Stuttering Association’s Annual Conference in Dallas in July.
Personal Highlights of our Members
As Casey mentioned, one of the big highlights of the Conference for many of us was Kim Block’s Keynote Speech! CSA Member Kim Block writes wonderful children’s books in a series called Adventures of Stuttering. Her newest book is called Adventures of a Stuttering Superhero. Kim Block was also interviewed on International Stuttering Awareness day by the BC Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists.
Samuel Dunsinger, board member: “For me, my personal highlight is my improv, which I'm continuing to pursue. I graduated from Second City's improv program, and I'm starting to do drop-in classes and perform in drop-in shows. Two weeks ago, I performed in that live storytelling event, which was a lot of fun!”
Daniele Rossi, Digital Strategist, Author and Cartoonist: Being a cartoonist, he participated in #inktober for the first time this year, where he drew something in ink every day in October, hashtag with #inktober. He tailored each drawing about stuttering and got a lot of likes, comments and shares and even a few commissioned illustrations. He also added some commentary to each drawing which allowed him to further reflect on the various topics. He’s hoping to make a book about these drawings and commentaries in 2018, so keep a lookout for it!
Daniele shared another highlight: ”When I went to Montreal and Quebec, my intention was to speak French only. I tried to refresh my rusty knowledge in the months ahead of my trip and when I reached my destination... I realized I was aware of how much time I was taking trying to remember certain words and grammar whenever I spoke. Then it dawned on me how much this relates to stuttering. Here I was not giving myself time to speak!”
Daniele was also interviewed on a radio station: CJAM on a show called Handi-Link hosted by Cam Wells. Handi-Link focuses on disability issues. Host Cam Wells compares similarities and differences between disabled and able bodied life and talks to those from the disabled community. Daniele spoke for about 10 minutes about the freedom and benefits of overt stuttering and also mentioned the CSA.
Brian Jason Woo got accepted into the Science of People Body Language Trainer Certification program and talked about it in an open Mic at our Conference.
Richard Holmes, who is doing his Masters of Health Sciences in Speech and Language Pathology at the University of Toronto, participated in his own Walk n Talk Fundraiser. “I post a video each day providing insights from the world of stuttering to share with the general public! My goal is to raise $1000 over two weeks to help fund someone who wants to attend therapy at the Speech and Stuttering Institute but is otherwise unable to for financial reasons.” He raised $1,640!
Others of us have been working hard at our jobs, taking dance (Lisa Wilder), opera (Eeva Stierwalt) and piano (Alexandra D’Agostino) lessons, speaking (Toastmasters), meeting in groups (ABC, Ottawa Support Group for People who Stutter, The Demosthenes Society, amongst others) and many other activities.
As you can see, our members have been busy and it has been a great year for the CSA. We look forward to a SUPER 2018! On behalf of the CSA Board and the Conference Planning Committee, we all wish you the very best in the new year and we hope to see you at our 2018 Conference in Toronto on Saturday, October 20th. Add it to your calendar!