June 2012

Spotlight on Volunteers

A BIG thanks to all the volunteers at New Voices! Each and every volunteer makes an enormous difference. The volunteers do a variety of tasks and extend the reach of New Voices far beyond what it would be otherwise. While the number of individuals who give freely of their time and talents is too great to enumerate, the Extra Voice newsletter will “spotlight” a few individuals in each edition.

  • Dawn Selby represents New Voices on the Special Education Advisory Council of Wake County Schools and is helping New Voices with its Facebook page and upcoming Blog. Dawn is the mother of Josh Werner, who is featured in the award winning video, Certain Proof.
  • Terri Allen helped coordinate the visit of award winning author, Sharon Draper. Terri works with Wake Tech and is a former principal with Wake County Schools and also has experience in the business world as a manager.
  • Mary Jon McWhirter serves on the steering committee for the New Voices Awards for Excellence and Advocacy that will be given next spring. Mary Jon is a former nurse and teacher.
  • Brenda Poirier is advising New Voices on arranging health support services that enhance education inclusion of New Voices kids. Brenda is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Duke Medical Center specializing in schoolbased health approaches to supporting special needs children.

If you would like to explore volunteer opportunities at New Voices, contact Missy Lohr at LGLohr@yahoo.com.

Book Drive Put Out of My Mind in North Carolina Schools

Help New Voices stock North Carolina’s school libraries with Out of My Mind, the well-received book of a New Voices type child whose world is opened up when she receives a communication device.

You can receive a free copy of Out of My Mind and also have two books placed in any school of your choice. To donate, visit our website – www.NewVoicesNC.org.

Out of My Mind ranked second in the top ten of Children’s Paperbacks in the New York Times for April – May 2012. Children, teachers, parents and professionals are lauding the great story.

The book’s author, Sharon Draper, is a two-time Coretta Scott King award winner and former National Teacher of the Year. New Voices and Quail Ridge Books hosted Ms. Draper at a book signing in Raleigh on May 1st. Ms. Draper also appeared on UNC-TV’s Bookwatch with DG Martin. The program will air in August.

Students who read Out of My Mind will meet eleven-year-old Melody, who has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school—but NO ONE knows it. Most people don’t think she’s capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows. But she can’t. She can’t talk. She can’t walk. She can’t write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind—that is, until she is given a device that allows her to communicate for the first time. At last Melody has a way to be a part of her world.

Stedman Gives Commencement Speech

Don Stedman, co-founder of New Voices, gave the commencement speech at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. Way to Go, Don!

In addition, Don was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award during Commencement ceremonies.

“Donald Stedman has led an outstanding career that has uniquely integrated scholarship, governmental and private sector service and administration,” said Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody. “Most importantly, he has applied his considerable knowledge and skills toward the betterment of others’ lives, including teachers and learners and those with special needs.”

“It’s exactly 50 years since the day I received my degree from Peabody and that makes it even more special. “ Stedman said, “It’s a great thrill and honor to be recognized by my alma mater.”