Get to Know the Volunteers at the Canadian Stuttering Association!
The Canadian Stuttering Association is entirely run by our motivated, committed and compassionate volunteers. Here are a few words from our volunteers about who they are and what the Canadian Stuttering Association means to them. Check back for more profiles soon!
As CSA's national coordinator, my role is to help set our general direction and broaden our support base. I also lead on our conference planning, which I find highly energizing and motivating.
Seeing people's lives changed by connecting with other people who stutter is what I love most about CSA. It is absolutely unique in creating opportunities to connect with people who stutter and overcome fear and isolation.When stuttering was a huge barrier for me 20 years ago, it was the hard work of others who organized events that helped me to make new friends and get started in life. My background is in the not-for-profit sector in the UK, though I currently work in the home improvement industry in Toronto, and on Monday nights I sing with a choir, the Annex Singers.
I got involved with CSA when I helped out with the National conference in 2007, as I had fond memories of the conferences I attended in the 1990s. I had been involved with the British Columbia association (BCAPS) when I lived out there, but moved back to Ontario in 2000. Originally I was just going to create a website for the conference. At that time, however, there was some disunity within the organization, and I thought a general organizational website could be a tool to bring people together and attract new people.
People have access to so much virtual connectivity and information, so I think one of the roles of CSA is to enable in-person engagement. That's why the conferences are, to me, the most important thing we can do. Youtube videos are great, but real-life encounters with other people who stutter are what is truly life changing.
I think it's remarkable that CSA has been around for so long purely on the dedication of volunteers.
Besides trying to understand the internet and web development in my spare time, I work as a graphic designer. I've also been known to fiddle around painting, writing, reading and doing yoga.
My name is Casey Kennedy. I live in Toronto, and I’m a speech-language pathologist who stutters. I am on the Board of Directors of the CSA as the SLP Liaison. Growing up with a stutter sometimes made me feel frustrated and isolated. I felt as though no one else understood how it felt to stutter. When I first stumbled into the world of stuttering self-help support groups in 2013, it was such a life changing experience for me. That’s why I am involved with the CSA – to help connect Canadians who stutter, because I know how important it can be. I love hearing people’s stories, and sharing in our similarities and differences. I love that when I’m around other people who stutter I feel even freer to stutter to my heart’s content. Being involved in the stuttering community continues to normalize stuttering for me, which helps me in my personal journey of acceptance. Fun fact about me – I’m into genealogy (family history) and have traced back my family tree to the 1500s! Oh, and I can recite, on demand, the first 40 digits of pi. Go ahead. Ask me.
My name is Alexandra D’Agostino and I have stuttered since I was 7. I am an undergraduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University, working on a combined honours in Psychology and Anthropology. Music is one of my passions, (I play 7 instruments!), and I am hoping to pursue a Master’s degree in Music Therapy one day. Another passion that I have is helping people and volunteering. I have spent the past 5 years volunteering with the National Stuttering Association in the United States, where I spent 3 of those years serving on their Teen Advisory Council. When I was invited to be on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Stuttering Association I was thrilled to be able to volunteer with an association that is closer to home. Being on the Board of Directors has been such an extraordinary, and honouring experience to have the opportunity to help to revitalize the CSA from the ground up. By volunteering with the CSA and NSA, I hope to change other people’s lives the same way that the two stuttering associations did for me.
My name is Danielle Moed and I am the Communications Coordinator and E-Newsletter Editor at the CSA. By day, I work as a research analyst at a tech-startup in Toronto and by night, I’m a blogger and a content writer. I’m also an alumna of the University of Toronto’s Master of Arts in Linguistics programs where I specialized in psycholinguistics. My Master’s thesis tackled the idea that what you say can effect what you remember (and it does!).
Having been a stutterer as a child, I understand what it’s like to grow up stuttering and feeling isolated from all your classmates who didn’t stutter. Because of this, when I came across the CSA and the supportive stuttering community they are building, I was inspired to volunteer. Being able to connect Canadian who stutter, along with their friends, family and speech therapists is so important to the self-development of all of these individuals and growth, not only as individuals, but as a knowledgeable, supportive, community.
With the CSA, I hope to be able to reach more of these individuals with our stuttering news, events, opportunities and more via our e-newsletter & social media channels. A little fun fact about me – I love going to concerts where I don’t know the bands (often they turn out to be awesome!).
I'm a mostly retired business executive who held senior leadership roles across all sectors, largely dealing with the marketing/communications functions.
About three years ago, I determined that my business experience, coupled with my life-long stuttering journey, might be of interest and possible value to the CSA. As I have a keen interest in operational and strategic planning, I offered to facilitate and develop a strategic rethink of the CSA's core programs and services, as part of its business revitalization effort. I've been on the CSA Board ever since. It's quite wonderful to have such a remarkable opportunity to give back, and to work with my CSA colleagues in helping others deal with the rather intriguing mystery of stuttering.
Beyond the CSA, I sit on several other Boards and national committees, but always find time for my two dear granddaughters. I've also published several books of poetry and perform spoken word art and my one-man show, Infinite Sequels, throughout central Ontario.