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Learning Ally Launches YES! in Massachusetts

Categories: Press Releases, Students

Groundbreaking Dyslexia Advocacy Initiative for Students, Powered by Students

Ambassador with Member 2BOSTON, MA – Learning Ally, a national nonprofit organization supporting students who read and learn differently due to dyslexia, blindness and other disabilities, announced that its groundbreaking children’s dyslexia advocacy initiative, the YES! Program, is launching across Massachusetts. YES! stands for Youth Examples of Self-Advocacy, and is made up of students aged 9 to 18 and their families. Each student has dyslexia or related learning differences that make reading and succeeding in education challenging.  The program was developed several years ago in Denver, Colorado and became so popular and successful that it has begun expanding into other states, including New Jersey and now Massachusetts. The purpose of YES! is to enable students with learning differences to succeed by encouraging them to embrace their strengths and weaknesses; help them develop the skills they need to learn and become strong self-advocates; and provide a community of peers to help them see that they are not alone. “The YES! program adds a powerful new dimension of student-student support that strengthens our major initiatives with parents, teachers and schools,” says Andrew Friedman, Learning Ally’s president and CEO.  “As the program grows, it’s exciting to see kids tap into the power of peer-to-peer connection, develop into confident self-advocates for themselves and become helpful role models for others. Jeremy, a 16-year old student who is dyslexic, says that the program has helped many students and touched many lives in his home state of Colorado. “YES! is important to me and my fellow Ambassadors because it proves we can make a difference.  No one should feel alone in their journey with dyslexia.” “Across the country, parents have heard about the program and are reaching out to us with requests to start YES! hubs in their states,” adds Lissa True, YES! Program Leader. “There is a groundswell of interest in Massachusetts that we’re responding to with steps to inform the public and help families and their kids get involved.” On February 11 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, True and other YES! leaders will lead a public informational webinar for families, providing an overview of the program with details about how students can get involved, apply to become Ambassadors, and much more. "We are thrilled the YES! Program is launching in Massachusetts,” says Nicole McCarthy, a parent from Canton who is co-leading the rollout of the new hub. “Dyslexic students struggle on a daily basis in school and this is their chance to get insight into their learning styles, connect with other students like themselves and feel part of a larger community.  They will learn important skills like effective communication, self- advocacy and how to use assistive technology.  And as YES! Ambassador leaders, they will use their experience and strengths to make a difference in the lives of other dyslexic students." Registration links and details about the February 11th webinar can be found HERE. For more information, contact YES! program leader Lissa True at lTrue@LearningAlly.org.   About Learning Ally Founded in 1948, Learning Ally supports K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom read and learn differently due to dyslexia, blindness or visual impairment, and other disabilities. Through its extensive community events and support programs, Learning Ally enables parents, teachers and specialists to help students thrive and succeed. The organization hosts live and virtual events for families and teachers; provides instructive webinars led by experts as well as peer-to-peer sessions led by students; personal consultations for parents; and professional development workshops for educators. Learning Ally’s collection of 80,000 human-narrated audio textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded by students using their smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world. 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 https://learningally.org.