By Chanel James and Dayna Gury
Our TMoM team is happy to kick off a new series of blogs today! “Doing Good Things” will focus on locals who are giving their time, effort, and personal funds to others. We have found so many women in our area whose hearts are huge and whose vision is coming to life by bringing hope, love, and resources to those who many need it most. We thank Chanel and Dayna for writing our first blog in the series today and sharing with us your amazing program called The Speech Bus! ~ Katie M and Rachel H
The Speech Bus, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded to meet the educational/language/literacy needs of preschool aged children in the Winston Salem/Forsyth County area who do not have the opportunity to attend preschool or daycare. We serve children ages 2-5 years old, providing free language circles/activities and offering free books for kids, as well as info for parents.
As the founders, we are board certified and licensed speech language pathologists who know that our organization not only teaches turn taking skills, increases vocabulary, and builds confidence, but can also lessen the educational gap for these kids and improve school performance. Early exposure to language and literacy can reduce long term learning difficulties, and ultimately result in higher graduation rates. This produces young adults who are better prepared for higher education as well as better employment opportunities. It’s a win-win!
Both founders have worked with high risk preschoolers for years, providing speech therapy services to children with various needs, in various settings. We were noticing an all too common pattern of children dropping out of programs like Head Start or NC Pre-K due to lack of transportation. In addition, children who attend regular daycares often stop attending because of financial hardships. These children were not only missing out on their speech therapy, but they were missing out on necessary exposure to language and literacy. Children entering kindergarten are expected to already have a strong foundation including knowledge of shapes, colors, letters, and pre-reading skills. Not attending an early childhood education program greatly reduces the chances that they will be ready.
Our ultimate goal is to acquire a mobile unit to go into neighborhoods and provide “circle times.” Finding funding for a bus has proved more difficult than we anticipated, and we knew we couldn’t wait on a bus to get this “rolling,” so we started implementing circles in March of 2015. We initially partnered with Winston Salem Recreation and Parks Department to provide our circles in recreation centers throughout the city. We have since partnered with other non-profit preschools, and have held circles in neighborhoods and apartment complexes.
What does The Speech Bus circle time look like? We sing songs, read a book, have the children participate in a craft activity, eat a snack, and just have a good time! Each participant takes a free copy of the book and craft home. Thanks to donors, we have also been able to give plush toys, puzzles, and dry erase activity boards!
The Speech Bus is governed by a board of directors who also share the vision of improving language and literacy in young children.
The Speech Bus operates on donations, and 100% of the money donated goes directly to the kids and programs! Circles are lead by, and activities are carried out by Chanel, Dayna, and volunteers.
Want to “get on the bus?” We love volunteers! In addition, we are always looking for youth groups or service organizations to help us with crafts, or help with fundraising efforts!
We feel so lucky to be able to do this, and hope that others will give, so we can continue to give! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and visit our website at www.thespeechbus.com. You can also visit our Go Fund me page and donate!
You can also email us; firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
Don’t miss the bus!