Recently, I attended a training event that discussed membership and support. The talk was much of what I have heard before…but what occurred to me is that these two things are interrelated, but often thought of as two very separate things. I am changing my approach and I would like to encourage each of you, from the national to the state affiliate level, to do the same. The important idea I walked away from the meeting with was a message of the Power of One to One.
This is how LDA was born, from a group of parents who came to together and worked together One to One in 1963 to get recognition and services for their children. Together, these parents were a force. It was about the relationship that they built with each other and then the relationships that went forth from that first conference in Chicago.
So, as we move forward, I would like to encourage each of you to think of the Power of One to One and how it relates to you. I would like for each of you to think about the individual reasons you are a member of LDA and how LDA has impacted you. Individually we each have the power to make a difference for LDA and we have the ability to influence others to join with us.
There was a time, which seems like long ago now, that a former board member of LDA and one of my state affiliate board members reached out to teachers at a training to join LDA. I had never heard of LDA, but I heard this one person speak and it spoke to me. As a professional educator, I joined. Years later in life, my younger child was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities and other comorbid disabilities. My reasons for joining LDA evolved and were not the reasons I stayed. I stayed, because for all the years I had been a member and for all the special education I had, I needed LDA. LDA provided me with advice and resources. In the last five years or so, my son has been with me to enough LDA conferences, and related events, that he now speaks locally occasionally about his LD. He talks publicly about how to advocate for oneself as a student and how he struggled and what he does for success now. LDA has given my child a voice about his LD. My son is a stronger advocate for himself, because of LDA.
I joined LDA for professional reasons. I needed to stay years ago for resources. I stay now for personal reasons. Why did you join LDA? Why do you stay? What is your story? What is your testimony? Your testimony will make a difference. Your story has an impact and has power.
As we move forward this year, I encourage each of you to reach out to one person to share with them about LDA. By building a relationship with others, we support LDA. By supporting each other on a relational level, we help to build LDA. You can be the force of Power of One to One for LDA.
In addition to being Co-Chair of the LDA Membership/Affiliate Support Committee, Analisa Smith, Ed.D., is a member of the LDA Board of Directors, State President of South Carolina LDA, and is professionally an educational consultant and distance education professor.