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Update on Ottawa self-help group
Written by Norm McEwen   
Saturday, 21 April 2012 16:27

ottawaThe fall and winter months have been relatively quiet for our smallish, but active group. On second thought, smallish is an incorrect term; probably moderate is a better word.

When we first formed the Ottawa Association for People Who Stutter in 2010, our numbers were really small.  We possibly had 3-4 people on a good night.  Now 4-5 is a so-so night, and when everyone is through exams and back from the sunny south, our numbers hopefully will be in the 8-10 range.  To this, we owe some thanks  to the great attitude of the people that have joined OAPWS as well as to the great location we have at Lakeside Gardens for our meetings and how helpful the staff is. Having an "assured" located at a very reasonable cost has been a prime factor in our group's stability.

This year, we expect to be fairly active in the areas of fund-raising and raising public awareness of stuttering.  David, Tania, and Norm will participate in the Race Weekend for the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.  We’re part of Kara Beck’s stuttering clinic team.  David will be in the 5k race while Tania and Norm will be in the 2k.  We are approaching our friends, acquaintances and whomever else we can think of to sponsor us.  All the monies we raise will be directed to the Ottawa Hospital’s Marie Poulos Bursary Fund to assist those who can not afford speech therapy.

To raise funds for our own group, we are having a lawn sale at the end of May, and are presently collecting rare items from various sources that people will flock to buy.  These funds will be used to help pay for our meeting room.

We meet with each graduating class at the Rehab Centre and explain who we are, why we are, and our philosophy on self-help – to help ourselves maintain our techniques while at the same time helping others.  We invite the members of the graduating classes to come to our group and see ‘if it is for them’.

One of our members, Wayne, is an up-and-coming musical artist.  Wayne both writes his songs and performs them at an open-mike at one of our  local pubs.  From this, he and another chap (not a PWS) have scheduled their first concert early in May.  You can get a sample of Wayne’s talents if you go to www.myspace.com/waynelyrette.

Another of our member, Erick, who is a student at the University of Ottawa is trying to get information available through the school to students who stutter about what is available, and how to get the help.

One of our members, Beverly Ann Barclay, lost her father a few months ago, and has had to put her mother into a home because of health problems.  Bev is an amazing lady; she is coping, but it is difficult.  May this year be a much better one for her; she deserves it.

David and Tania are constantly thinking of ways to get our name out to the public about who we are and why we are there for other PWS.  Jo-Ann, who has been in the sunny south for quite some time, has agreed to translate our brochure for the francophone population who stutters.

Not enough thanks can go to Stewart who initiated and has maintained our website, and we have had several inquiries because of it. All of our members are quite eager to maintain their skills while at the same time, in their own way, get the message out there that help is available.

For information on our group, please go to our website at www.oapws.ca.