President’s Message – 2012

by Shannon Howell It continues to be a pleasure serving on the Board of Directors for NCSA. The new Board reviewed the NCSA’s history and its current status at a fall Board meeting in Denver, Colorado, this past October. While I would like to say that the NCSA is excelling and growing, the truth is simply that both membership and revenues have been on a decline for the past four years.

There could be multiple reasons for this, including simply that the public increasingly views cueing as unnecessary due to the increase of cochlear implant recipients and other assistive technologies working rather well for the majority of recipients who are deaf or hard of hearing. It could also be due to the economy, the failure of many school districts to recognize its benefit, or failure to admit it due to the costs of training and hiring cued language transliterators (CLTs). Maybe it is a combination of factors, including the need for the NCSA to be more prominent in its role to educate the public and work closely with other deaf advocacy agencies to support legislation.

Whatever the reasons for decline, we strongly urge your support of the NCSA with your membership, your gift support, and your advocacy of Cued Speech in 2012.

As we look ahead, we see many opportunities to continue the outstanding service that past Boards and volunteers have provided, while broadening our scope and engaging in new activities, including:

A. In an effort to decrease the load on a few members, the current Regional Representatives will be asked to consolidate their workload to a smaller area, primarily their state of residence or within close proximity, and we are asking for other members to please volunteer to take on the role of “mentor” in your area. This will cut down on travel expenses for each person and allow each to focus more in the area he or she is most familiar with.

B. Fundraising will be a focus in 2012 so that we may continue our support of camps and other programs, as well as expand opportunities. If you have an idea for fundraising, or have experience in grant writing, we would like to talk to you.

C. We see a need to work closely with other advocacy organizations such as A.G. Bell, Hands and Voices, NAD, and others. We will identify “Directors at Large” to focus on each organization that we engage. Lisa Weiss, for example, was recently elected Director at Large for Hands and Voices, and we look forward to future projects with her.

I know that many of you have made huge contributions to Cued Speech and the NCSA in the past, and we thank you. But we also still need you. Please consider becoming involved in the aforementioned ways and let us hear from you. Also, if you know people whose membership has lapsed, please encourage them to re-join the NCSA, so that their voices can be heard as well.

Last but not least, our previous Executive Director, Sam Cappiello, has accepted a career position that will take him away from NCSA. Sam has done a great job for the NCSA and we thank him for his service. In a move to provide better administrative support to the Board as it becomes more engaged in the NCSA operations, the Executive Director position will be rendered inactive and an administrative assistant position created.

Thank you for your support of the NCSA so the we can better help you: our cuers and families.

Shannon Howell, President

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