I have been a volunterr with PEN for the last three years, primarily assisting with the Lecture Series and writing a blog on each of the lectures for the PEN website and mine: dyslexiadiscovery.com.
The care given to the selection of speakers results in a broad specturm of topics that are germane to dyslexia, ADHD and other learning challenges. Parents, teachers and others have a unique opportunity to listen and learn from specialists. I have found it fascinating how lecturers on the topic most often have a unique approach to the topic. Parents who commit to attend many of lectures have an opportunity to asses what might work for their child.
I am dyslexic and hyperlexic and learn each time so much more about my challenges. This is a unique group of serious minded leaders providing excellent resources to a very challenging field.
SAFE has taught me to became an advocate. Both for the LA/ADHAD community and for myself. I have learned to propperly voice my needs and wants for my education making my education a better expierence which without SAFE would have been less enjoiable.
I have been part of an organization called SAFE Voices for about three years. I'm looking forward to being part of Project Eye to Eye this year and helping younger kids through some difficult stages of the LD.
My son was diagnosed with speech and language processing challenges in pre-school, and later with language-based learning disabilities. When he was young, I took advantage of PEN's wonderful speaker series' to broaden my knowledge and understanding of my son's needs and how I could support him both academically and emotionally. Now, at 16, my son is an active member in SAFE Voices and is learning how to advocate for himself. The knowledge I gained from PEN's activities, and more importantly, his involvement in SAFE Voices and the annual EdRev conference, have been instrumental in helping him learn how to be successful in school and beyond.
I joined SAFE, the student wing of PEN three years ago. This was an opportunity to butt in on the third person dialogue surrounding people with learning disabilities. I've been given the opportunity to educate and empower students, families, and professionals about the strengths and challenges of LD/ADHD people through:
PEN is extraordinary collaborator and I've had the opportunity to network and collaborate with other like minded people and organizations. I see the impact of our work when I'm recognized thanked by strangers everywhere imaginable: public meetings, city streets, parties, and traffic stops. PEN is on the forefront of the giving empowering our silenced people to stand up, speak out, form communities, and advocate for the tools we need for success.
Before PEN, the discovery that your child "can't keep up" or "needs special help" left parents frighten, anxious about the future for their child. Information and guidance was rare. What was abundant was panic about how to understand the problems, find and implement solutions, and get schools and teachers to understand and help. I know, because in 1993 I was that parent. I worked with the founder of PEN in the early days. And today I still volunteer at events and share the strategies, successes and failures my daughter has experienced.
I feel that PEN's most important function is providing a platform to receive, assemble, present and distribute information to parents, teachers, tutors, learning specialists, occupational & physical therapists, and medical & scientific researchers. I know this sounds like an extraordinarily long list of participants, but in fact PEN is an extraordinary organization.
Review from Guidestar
I have been with PEN as a volunteer since the beginning.
The constant focus at PEN is always questioning what is best for the kids to succeed and how can students, educators and parents gain the knowledge and insight to help attain that success.
PEN is not a "we will get everyone into college" type of group. Success is not a fixed goal, it is whatever it is for that particular child. PEN is helping kids get through, over or around barriers that block them from their full potential, whatever that may be.
PEN is there to help the kids do what needs to be done but NOT do it for them because, at the end of the day, they need to be able to advocate for themselves and make use of tools and coping strategies.
There is no ego from the adults that work/volunteer for PEN. To quote a line I often use, "Lest we forget, our primary duty is to support the kids".
My youngest is 20 so you might think that my commitment to PEN has waned. Quite the contrary, I am just as committed now as I was at the beginning (7 or so years ago) to making sure the children, parents and educators that are coming up the ranks behind us gain the same insights.
I have been working as an advocate for students with learning disabilities for several years and this organization (PEN) has the best and most holistic approach. Their outreach to the student community offers them opportunities and a community that truly empower them and has made a significant impact on their self esteem and outlook for success in school as well as in life. Their work to educate and connect parents and teachers is the missing link that most other organizations ignore and that is why I have chosen to volunteer my time with this group. They will be the cornerstone and model for all other groups to follow in the years ahead as our movement grows.
Review from Guidestar