Make Room For The Stuttering

Friends Who Stutter

Posted on: July 21, 2010

I will be leaving today for my 3rd Friends convention, held this year in Chicago, IL. If you have a child that stutters, Friends is a wonderful support organization that focuses on acceptance of self as is. There is nothing better than to see kids, teen and young adults spend time together, laughing and loving each other and themselves.

This is a parent driven organization and it is clearly evident when you participate in a Friends event. The convention details are handled by families from the host city, and attendees feel welcome and supported the minute you walk in the door.

Parents are the backbone of this organization,  under the guidance of Director Lee Caggiano. Lee is the mother of a son who stutters, and the whole Caggiano family is deeply involved in Friends. Dad Tom helps with all kinds of logistical things, including chief photographer during events. Daughter Jessie, herself a Social Worker, works with the kids and runs a siblings group every year.

People ask me how come I attend both conferences, NSA and Friends. They are so close – within two weeks of each other. It can be expensive. My response is always: how can I not.

When I first met Lee four years ago, her unconditional love, support and respect for people who stutter came shining through. She made me feel that my stuttering has purpose, value – before her, no one had made me feel that way about stuttering.

I went to the Friends conference in New Orleans in 2008, and was warmly embraced. Literally. When I walked in to the Friends area in the hotel, a parent of two kids who stutter, Gloria, warmly embraced me and made me feel so welcome. I will never forget that. I have been hooked since.

Countless times I wonder what my life would have been like if I had something like this when I was little girl, feeling so alone and scared with my stuttering. If I had known other kids my age who sounded like me – I know things would have been very different for me. I would not have felt like I had to fight the demons all by my self.

If you stutter, even as a adult, or know someone who stutters, take an opportunity to check out Friends. You will see why it is such a special place for kids and thier families. There, they are not kids who stutter. They are just kids. And we adults become kids at heart.

Visit Friends today. You will be happy you did!

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2014.
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