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Help FRIENDS reach more families of kids who stutter

 

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The impact

You may be reading this because you know someone who stutters – perhaps a beloved member of your family, a colleague at your workplace, or a friend from your childhood. Perhaps you are simply curious to learn more about stuttering and how it can impact a person’s life. Or perhaps still, you stutter, and you know firsthand the unique challenges of growing up speaking differently than others. To all of our readers — Welcome to Friends.

Here are some fast facts:

1) 1 in 100 people stutters. That’s millions of people across the world.

2) Stuttering affects the physical act of speech, but is often misunderstood as an indicator of low intelligence. This is a stigma.

3) Beneath the surface, many children who stutter experience feelings of shame, inadequacy, and fear. Even children as young as 3.

4) Support and community are the single most important factors in building confidence and self-esteem in children who stutter.

Imagine what a safe and accepting environment can do for young people who are uniquely vulnerable each time they speak. Think about what non-judgment and unconditional acceptance often does for those who feel alone and misunderstood. From a tentative smile, to several steps out of one’s comfort zone, we can tell you that the transformations are incredible. This is the magic that happens every year at Friends.

Friends is a place where young people who stutter and their families come together to provide support, empowerment, and education to one another. Our programs provide young people with the skills they need to advocate for themselves, become empowered, and learn to live well with their stuttering. Thanks to our generous volunteers and donors, we have touched the lives of thousands of young people who stutter over the last 20 years. Now, we turn to you to ask for your support. Would you help us do the same for the thousands more who are still feeling isolated and alone? Join us in reaching out to all the thousands more who are still feeling isolated and alone.

Your gift can help Friends continue the work that we do. When you donate to Friends, you help organize more conferences around the country, helping us reach more young people who stutter. You ensure that more parents are able to provide support for their children who stutter. You provide the resources that will spread awareness and education about stuttering. You help us to continue our beloved programs, each uniquely designed to provide support and empowerment to children and families. Please donate today.

Real-life changes witnessed at Friends

  • Feeling more confident about introducing themselves to a new person
  • Ordering food at a restaurant, without a parent or friend ordering for them
  • Finding the strength to ask someone for a date without being stopped by fear of ridicule
  • Running for student office while bravely and proudly telling their class that they stutter
  • Learning that stuttering does
    not need to define the course
    of their lives

While people who stutter may experience embarrassment, anxiety, stress, and fear regarding speaking, stuttering is NOT an emotional or psychological disorder.

After participating in Friends events, children and teenagers shared that …

  • They built strong relationships and a sense of community in a safe environment
  • Hearing and sharing personal stories increased self-­acceptance and acceptance of others
  • Living with stuttering can be hard, but the convention helped normalize stuttering
  • Collaborative learning facilitated personal growth
  • Communicative & cognitive changes persisted beyond the convention

More than support

 I went to Friends because I wanted to figure out how to deal with my stuttering in the least painful way possible. Instead, Friends showed me how to wield my stuttering as a strength. Every year at Friends I hear strength and courage sound like a hundred different things, and I relearn that the best voices are not the ones that are untroubled but the ones that don’t stop trying.

– Mary McLoughlin

In 2019, we plan to reach more children and provide more continuous support by increasing the number of one day conferences, broadening locations of one-day conferences, and repeating our presence in certain cities. 

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