DENVER, CO – Learning Ally, a nonprofit organization serving individuals with visual and learning disabilities, announced that it has reached an agreement with the Rocky Mountain Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA-RMB) to absorb YES! – a children’s dyslexia advocacy initiative that started in Denver – into its national programs.
YES! stands for Youth Examples of Self-Advocacy. It was launched several years ago by IDA-RMB and has grown into a local group of over 100 youths aged 9 to 18 and their families in the Denver metropolitan area. Each student has dyslexia or related learning differences that make reading and succeeding in education a challenge.
The purpose of YES!
is to train young people with learning differences to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, to help them build confidence, and provide them with the tools to become strong self-advocates. Each student is assigned a Youth Ambassador who acts as a resource and provides guidance and inspiration.
“Bringing YES! into our program adds a powerful new dimension of child-to-child support that complements our major initiatives with parents, teachers and schools,” says Andrew Friedman
, Learning Ally’s president and CEO. “Here in Denver, watching kids develop into confident self-advocates for themselves and helpful role models for others, we’ve witnessed up close the power of peer-to-peer connection. We’ve recognized that this has potential to grow into a national presence that will be incredibly helpful for thousands of kids and their families.
“Building on the work of IDA-RMB locally, we look forward to expanding YES! into other hubs around the country, incorporating our talented Ambassadors into our dyslexia awareness events, and giving them a strong voice within our virtual communities of parents, families and teachers,” Friedman adds.
“Since its inception, the YES! Program
has grown within the Rocky Mountain Region in leaps and bounds by providing opportunities for students with dyslexia to inform, inspire, and model the power of self-advocacy,” says Karen Leopold
, president of the IDA-RMB. “With the transfer of this inspirational program to Learning Ally, the entire IDA-Rocky Mountain Branch Board of Directors is delighted that it can continue to grow throughout our region and even nationally.”
“We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to bring the benefits of the YES! Program to a much larger group of students,” says Lissa True
, Youth Service Coordinator, who recently joined Learning Ally after helping IDA-RMB launch YES! in Denver. “We have seen firsthand how empowering strong self-advocacy skills have been in our own children, and can’t wait to bring those same tools to other families who need this support.”
, a 16-year old Denver student who is dyslexic, adds that the program has already helped many students and touched many lives. “YES! is important to me because I can
make a difference. No one should feel alone in their journey with dyslexia.”
For more information, contact YES! program leader Lissa True at lTrue@LearningAlly.org
About Learning Ally
Founded in 1948, Learning Ally has served millions of students in K-12, college and graduate school, along with veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to learning differences like dyslexia; blindness and visual impairment; and other physical disabilities. Learning Ally’s programs enable parents, teachers and schools to help students with print disabilities succeed in education and prepare for productive careers. The organization offers integrated learning management systems and professional development for teachers, as well as support for parents through personal consultations, webinars and other tools. In addition, Learning Ally’s collection of 80,000 human-narrated textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded on mainstream smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world. Several thousand volunteers help to produce the educational materials, which students rely on to achieve academic and professional success. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Learning Ally is partially funded by grants from state and local education programs, and the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information, visit http://LearningAlly.org