American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

NSSLHA Takes Big Step to Fund Small Steps in Speech

Group Helps Kids With Speech & Language Disorders

(Rockville, MD - October 31, 2013) Monday, November 11, is Veteran's Day, a time when we honor all of the military members who have bravely served our country. For the next year, the NSSLHA Loves campaign will sponsor Small Steps in Speech, an organization with strong ties to the military and its veterans. Veterans Day presents chapters of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association with a great opportunity to raise awareness about NSSLHA sponsorship activities.

A national organization, Small Steps in Speech assists children with speech and language disorders by funding an array of speech-related treatments. It memorializes U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marc J. Small, who was killed while serving his country in Afghanistan in 2009. Marc and his fiancée, Amanda Charney—a school-based speech-language pathologist specializing in early childhood development and developmental disorders—had long shared a dream for Amanda to open her own private practice. Before his death, Marc had come up with the name "Small Steps in Speech" for her practice, including Amanda's soon-to-be last name and highlighting the incremental steps children must take to build their communication skills.

Over the past 23 years, NSSLHA chapters have raised more than $500,000 to support organizations like Small Steps in Speech. This year promises to be the best sponsorship year ever.

Here are some small tasks, based on tips from ASHA's Public Relations Handbook [PDF], that can help NSSLHA chapters plan successful fundraising events:

  • Timing is everything. Host your NSSLHA Loves event during the month of November to highlight Small Steps in Speech's military ties. (If November is not convenient, host your event in the month of May, which is Better Hearing and Speech month, or on Memorial Day, another veterans-related holiday.)
  • Conduct an Internet search to locate contact information for local print, radio, and television media in your community. Read, listen, or watch the outlets to find the journalists who handle human interest stories. Mondo Times provides a list of all media outlets by state.
  • Using the sample pitch letter on page 15 of the ASHA Public Relations Handbook [PDF], create your own initial pitch to a specific journalist(s) for media coverage; send the letter 3 to 4 weeks before your event. Follow up with a phone call or e-mail 4 or 5 days after sending your pitch message.
  • Create a news release for your event using the sample on page 16 of the ASHA Public Relations Handbook [PDF] and send it to local media outlets 2 to 3 weeks before your event. Follow up with a phone call or e-mail 2 or 3 days after sending the press release.
  • Create a media advisory using the sample on page 17 of the ASHA Public Relations Handbook [PDF] and send it to media outlets 2 or 3 days before your event. Follow up with a phone call immediately after sending the advisory.

We hope all NSSLHA chapters will participate in this year's NSSLHA Loves campaign for Small Steps in Speech. Please share your media coverage on the NSSLHA YouTube channel or post your press mentions on Facebook and Twitter.

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