Volunteer of the year
Individual or Team Nomination?
In these challenging times, nominators were asked to show how the nominee had demonstrated the following qualities:
- Exceptional work ethic - going above and beyond their job description, especially in the past 12 months.
- Outstanding achievement/s in work or outside of the organisation where relevant.
- Drive for innovation and proactive leadership in these challenging times.
- High level of interpersonal skills, such as kindness, empathy, loyalty and thoughtfulness to staff and patients.
- A resilience considering Covid to their role and to the health and wellbeing of their colleagues.
Nominee's story :
Over the last year, Jolie has kindly volunteered her time to present stammering training that is run by our service for staff in our local schools. Throughout her school life, she has experienced teasing, microaggressions, people laughing at her, commenting on her speech, or imitating her stammer. She has received these reactions from both peers and school staff. Negative reactions from others often lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, isolation, fear, anxiety or frustration and can make people who stammer feel the need to hide their stammer. When Jolie first came to speech and language therapy, she hid her stammer as best she could by not talking, not saying the words she wanted; she didn't want to talk about stammering, or for others to even know that she stammered. She had lots of shame and embarrassment, and her stammer consumed her thoughts, preventing her from living her life how she wanted. It is this that has motivated her, been her drive to better educate others about stammering, to raise awareness, and to share the idea that it is okay to stammer so that other children don't have to experience the things that she did. She is a passionate advocate for stammering acceptance and strives to create an environment that is accepting of communicative diversity.
By volunteering to share her experiences and insights as a person who stammers, Jolie adds an extra- important component to the training session. We have received excellent feedback from attendees who mentioned her presentation specifically as a highlight. We know that our attendees gain so much from hearing her personal story as someone who stammers rather than a speech therapist who doesn’t stammer.
It's really important for people learning about stammering to hear stammered voices. This helps to reinforce the message of stammering acceptance, helps to normalise stammering and breakdown negative stereotypes. Jolie is super aware that her voice is powerful for this purpose.
During one of the training sessions, she was asked what could staff do to make a difference. She talked about the fact that she had never seen a poster in her school about stammering as she had for other differences. She felt that schools needed to speak about stammering more and make it more visible. This sparked the idea for a poster campaign designed by young people who stammer in our local area in collaboration with the charity Action for Stammering Children. It has now been launched nationwide.
We are so grateful that she wants to share her beautiful voice to benefit others and of her commitment to making a difference.