by: Kristina Scott, State Presidents’ Representative
Welcome home from the LDA National Conference! It was a great conference with a lot of networking and sharing in each other’s accomplishments. There were many affiliate accolades and volunteers to recognize this year. This article looks to provide you with a recap about each of these projects and highlights some amazing volunteers this year!
Georgia, where our 2018 annual LDA conference is to be held, has been working tirelessly on a “Revitalizing Georgia” campaign. They have begun this campaign by focusing on new branding and new marketing to rejuvenate their current membership and get the word out through advertising at resource fairs around the state. One such event generated twenty vendors, and over one hundred participants that were new to LDA of Georgia. This revitalization also focused on expanding the Board and bringing on four new board members with different areas of expertise. This campaign is ongoing and is creating a lot of buzz around the national conference in 2018. We are all excited about seeing the fruits of this activity next February in Atlanta!
LDA of Illinois has also been very actively generating funds in the 2016 year. They have shifted efforts from large scale money making projects to smaller more focused community give-backs. Funds are important to provide the fiscal means to maintain their current office, send quarterly newsletters to all members, and maintain their website. These fundraising activities have consisted of: having an LDA night at a local restaurant, sponsoring re-sale drives through Savers, sponsoring silent auctions at community events, and working with area businesses for sponsorship.
LDA of Minnesota celebrated its 20 years of services in urban Minneapolis and the St. Paul schools. The Learning Connections Program, run through LDA of Minnesota, provides strategic small group academic support to students who are struggling with grade-level curriculum for students in grades K-12. The Learning Connections Program now works with 36 schools, and in the last year has worked with over 500 students to help them make academic gains.
LDA’s Healthy Children’s Project was the catalyst for Oklahoma’s Herb Festival. This herb festival encourages youth to get involved in gardening at a young age. The community comes together at this festival to learn about gardening, food, and to share in reading books about this past-time.
South Carolina and its student organization, Learning Disabilities Association of the Citadel, were awarded the affiliate accolade of the year award. The students at the Citadel, with the help of their instructor, established a mentor program at their local charter school. These college students worked with high school students at this local charter on a weekly basis, helping them set both personal and academic goals. These goals were then worked on in both academic and social realms.
LDA has had a number of all-star volunteers that deserve recognition for all they have done this past year! Here is just a brief recap of all the activities some of our all-stars have been involved with this year: Indiana’s Sharon Harris has given her institutional expertise to the LDA of Indiana Board since 1990, helping to advance the mission of LDA of Indiana. Anne Fogel also has a history of 25 years in LDA. She is an active member of LDA of South Carolina and has engaged in numerous outreach efforts to network with other learning organizations throughout the state, always advocating for the needs of individuals with learning disabilities. Beverly Holden Johns of LDA of Illinois has an extensive resume of work for and on behalf of individuals with learning disabilities. Bev consistently gives back to the state and LDA of Illinois through providing workshops to educators, parents, and individuals to help deepen their knowledge of research-based effective practices and current legislation. The volunteer of the year from LDA of Georgia is Dr. Betsy Box. Betsy, although not in the limelight often, is a master organizer and facilitator that make events, like the Star Expo that occurred in Georgia this year, happen! New Jersey recognized Fern Goldstein as their 2016 volunteer of the year. Fern has worked on and with numerous events to make LDA of New Jersey stand out. She has helped create the LDA of New Jersey logo, served as a vendor at many conferences, organized and planned conferences, and given presentations on many topics, as well.
Kristina Scott, in addition to being LDA State Presidents’ Representative to the Board of Directors, is the state president of the LDA New Hampshire affiliate and an assistant professor of special education at Salem State University.