As a child, I was fortunate enough to receive life-changing counseling services. Now, as an adult, I realize just how much getting involved in therapy strongly enhanced my future. It’s helped me evolve into a stronger version of myself and provided me with the tools I need to help handle life’s challenges.
My professional goals have always been wanting to help children achieve their own success as my counselor helped me with. As an SLP, I hope to assist kids in discovering communication tools that will foster their confidence and help them reach their full potential.
The Stuttering Scholarship Alliance
I’ve always actively enjoyed volunteering in my community. But because of the COVID pandemic, I was forced into finding nontraditional ways to get involved. During the past 2 years, I lacked community involvement and was searching for an outlet where I could help others . . . especially in a way that would help me as a future SLP.
The Stuttering Scholarship Alliance (SSA) reached out to my NSSLHA chapter requesting virtual volunteers to help operate their organization. This was just what I was looking for! SSA is an international nonprofit organization that strives to build a bridge of access to speech services at an affordable cost. Although hosting events to raise money and awareness is especially important, SSA also hosts workshops in schools to advocate for people who stutter and has built a growing network of SLPs, private companies, and universities.
Volunteering with the Stuttering Scholarship Alliance
SSA volunteers are organized into 5 different committees:
- Fundraising and Advocating
- Speech Therapy Services
- Financial Services
As a member of the marketing team, I was responsible for helping create engaging social media content to promote our organization, share information about stuttering, and recruit volunteers.
I’ve learned so much about stuttering while in this volunteer role—only fueling my desire to become an SLP and advocate for those who stutter. After seeing all that SSA is and does, I’m grateful to be part of an organization that offers so much for the stuttering community.
Impacts On My NSSLHA Community
My experience has not only helped me gain knowledge about stuttering but it’s enhanced my leadership skills too. This now translates into my work as event co-chair for my NSSLHA chapter. I’ve become more self-reliant in my abilities. I understand the importance of effective communication, keeping organized, and encouraging positivity within our executive board and chapter members. And I’ve learned important technological skills. The exposure I’ve gotten from working with others across the country and contributing to projects I normally wouldn’t have gotten to work on has increased my creativity—which I can then bring back to my NSSLHA chapter.
Overall, becoming an SSA volunteer has provided me with a variety of educational opportunities, given me tools to be a successful student and leader, and has allowed me to connect with other like-minded students all over the country!
If you’re interested in learning something new, growing your network, and gaining real-world experiences, I highly encourage you to volunteer with organizations like SSA. And if you’re curious about volunteering with SSA, specifically, please email Jenny McGuire and follow SSA on Instagram!