This is a story about a man who, when he was 5 years old, found out that he was different from other children. He discovered that every time he tried to talk because his words wouldn’t come out or if they came out at all, they were in the form of a “stutter” or a “stammer”. He became very sad because many other children made fun of him. His parents took him to speech pathologists, hypnotists, and special classes. Nothing helped.
And the bullying only got worse. The little boy became angry and he got into lots of fights, all through elementary school, junior high school, and high school. It seemed that it was an unusual day when he didn’t end up in the principal’s office; even the principal didn’t understand why the boy was fighting because the little boy, then the preteen and then the teenager couldn’t talk well enough to explain it. Eventually, the boy became very lonely and took to his books, his music, and many sports; (he even became a junior boxer) where he didn’t have to talk.
There were still one or two friends that liked him and didn’t make fun of him, as so many others did, so he was able to socialize a little, but there was always someone who thought his malady was “funny” and made fun of him. Some nights, the boy would go to bed and pray to God that he wouldn’t wake up in the morning so he wouldn’t have to endure another day of feeling “different.”
The teenager went to college and graduate school and noticed something wonderful. Not everyone made fun of him, but would give him a chance to get his words out. Soon the man became more confident and his speech patterns began to change and when he got his first job, his new employer hired him BECAUSE of his speech and how brave he thought he was.
The boy, now a man was able to meet a fine woman, get married, have children and his confidence and career rocketed skyward. The man became a VP of a Fortune 200 company and then, after some years, struck out on his own and formed his own marketing consulting company where he helped many clients to reach their dreams. And he became known as a speechmaker, a seminar giver and an innovative presenter of ideas. “God does have a sense of humor”, the boy – now the man – would often SAY.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Many years later he became involved with a group called S.A.Y., The Stuttering Association for the Young. And now that same boy, who is all grown up, is asking you to support this organization that does so much to help children who stutter.
That little boy grew up to be me. Fred Kaplowitz.
Over 70 million people stutter on a daily basis, including 5% of all children. Young people who stutter often face unimaginable fear and cruelty from a world that doesn’t understand them. Over time, they may recoil from the world, silencing themselves to hide their stutter, embarrassment and shame. Young people who stutter may also feel incredibly isolated and alone, and many face daily ridicule, teasing and bullying.
The Stuttering Association for the Young is a non-profit 501(c)(3) and since 2001, SAY has offered comprehensive, innovative programs that address the physical, social and emotional impacts of stuttering.
For 14 years, so many incredible children have come to our programs in despair. We have been lifted by their courage and have witnessed the transformation that occurs when children who stutter develop the self-confidence, lasting friendships and support they need to express themselves fully and follow their dream.
We believe that every young person who stutters has a voice that matters and it is a voice that deserves to be heard.
When you support SAY, you make anything possible in the life of a child who stutters. You help us continue to offer Camp SAY Summer Camp, Confident Voices After-School & Weekend programs, Speech Therapy, SAY: Storytellers and more, and help ensure that SAY can provide financial aid to families-in-need, so that all children have access to our innovative programming. This year alone, SAY will award more than $400,000 in financial aid and to date, no child has been turned away due to a family’s inability to pay.
Please help me to raise money for this organization that does so much to help kids who stutter; to make sure that, even if they have to deal with the shame, embarrassment and humility of other kids, they’re not alone…and will not have to do as I did, and pray to God every night to take them because they can’t bear it any longer.
If you go to www.SAY.org and hit the donate button. I know you’ll do the right thing.
No matter the dollar amount you give, thank you so much, in advance, for your contribution.
Fred Kaplowitz, President, Kaploe Marketing Group