ALTA's Community Outreach has been established to open doors and connect with other creative people and organizations. As partners, we hope to share our knowledge and expertise about Dyslexia and related learning disorders in unique ways, and to make reading a positive, powerful skill for all on life's journey.
Committee members include Joan Hogge, Chair, Kathy Gilman, Judy Echols, Dara LaForce Skelton, Carolyn Melton, Lucy Smith.
Currently, the Outreach Committee is working on the following projects:
During the month of April, The DCT has been performing productions of the play, hard 2 spel dad, about two dyslexic teenagers, which ALTA has helped to underwrite. ALTA members have been hostessing, ushering, and facilitating discussion after the performances, answering questions about dyslexia and our jobs as language therapists. Shelton, SMU and TSRH facilitated the weekend performances, and ALTA members facilitated the weekly morning matinées. The play has gotten rave reviews from students, therapists and parents, as well as an exceptionally touching review in the Dallas Morning News, in which Robyn Flatt, the Director of the Dallas Children's Theater shared her feelings as a parent when she learned her daughter was dyslexic, and how they supported and encouraged her creativity during her struggle.
The play's final performance for the public is April 25th, matinées at 1:30 and 4:30. There will be one final performance on April 30th at 7:30 for the ALTA Conference attendees. We look forward to the play and a dynamic discussion afterward.
A collaboration between ALTA, DCT and DBC
In September, 2009, the Outreach Committee met with the supervisor and some volunteers from Dallas Bethlehem Center, a Methodist- funded school for underprivileged children in South Dallas. They discussed the possibility of working together to produce a weekend focusing on literacy called STARLIT. Authors of children's books would be invited to speak and sell their books, and spend time in conversation with the children during lunch. We thought this fit ALTA's purposes beautifully, and suggested The Dallas Children's Theater might be a wonderful place to hold this event. Talks are currently underway, and will continue during the year. Out hope is to have STARLIT, a fun family weekend promoting literature, literacy, and creativity, at The Dallas Children's Theater in October of 2011. There will be many opportunities for ALTA members to help, which we will announce when discussions are further along.
On January 15, 2010, the philanthropic committee met with Michelle Bufkin, Lucy Smith, founder of Hope Literacy, and a CALT-QI, to discuss how ALTA might provide help to the children of women in prison and break the cycle of low self esteem, about and crime. As Lucy Smith told me, "This is my passion . . . we must break the cycle of low self esteem, illiteracy, and crime."
Since that meeting, the committee has gone to the prison to meet the women. We discussed making an Alphabet Quilt, and each were given a square of white fabric. They were asked to choose a letter which would illustrate how they might use their creativity to change their lives and help others when they are released from prison. Joan Hogge demonstrated a letter using fabric markers. The women decided to make a list of those participating and recruit others to help. Carolyn Melton, a friend of Joan Hogge's who quilts was there to show them how she would sew the pieces together when they were finished. They asked to see the finished product.
Several weeks later, Lucy phoned to say the squares were finished, and Carolyn picked them up. She and Joan picked colored fabric squares from a box provided by Lucy. Then, Carolyn pieced and sewed the quilt together.
On April 22nd, 2010, Joan Hogge and Carolyn Melton met Lucy Smith and her husband at Dawson Jail to take the completed quilt. The women were thrilled. They each signed their square on the back. The quilt is beautiful, and will be on display at the ALTA Conference. Tickets will be purchased to raffle the quilt off. It is our hope it will be displayed where many people can appreciate the spirit and creativity of the women and the opportunities offered by Hope Literacy. Proceeds will benefit Hope Literacy. We thank Carolyn Melton for sharing her time, and creativity so graciously.
Lucy Smith and the committee have other ideas about how ALTA members can help improve literacy at the jail. Opportunities will be posted on this site soon.