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Helping those who need to regain their voice

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Jillia Epp, who is studying linguistics, likes helping clients at SpeechWorks.</p>


Jillia Epp, who is studying linguistics, likes helping clients at SpeechWorks.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/3/2016 (496 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For Beda Drury, volunteering at SpeechWorks Inc. is always positive.

"Every time I go, there’s an experience that’s uplifting," Drury says. "You see growth and development, and that’s always exciting to see. It’s very gradual, but you do see it."

Drury has volunteered at SpeechWorks for five years. Founded in 1996, SpeechWorks provides specialized diagnostic and treatment services to clients who have communications disorders.

Drury volunteers at SpeechWorks two Thursdays each month, assisting with a group program in which clients meet with speech-language pathologists and volunteers for conversation.

"I’m very impressed by the courage it takes to do what they’re doing," Drury says of the clients.

Jillia Epp agrees. Epp has volunteered at SpeechWorks for the past nine months, and has been struck in particular by the bravery of one client, who has trouble reading and writing as a result of a stroke.

Watching the client persevere when he’s having trouble and getting tired is powerful.

"He doesn’t give up in trying to progress and sound out words and learn to read and write," Epp says.

Epp got involved at SpeechWorks because she wanted to get hands-on experience in the field of speech pathology. She hopes to study communication disorders at the graduate level.

She is studying linguistics at the University of Manitoba, an interest that was sparked by a course she took.

"The professor was very enthusiastic about what she taught, so I decided that’s the route I wanted to take," Epp says. "She inspired me."

Epp, Drury and the other volunteers do important work, says Allison Baird, president at SpeechWorks and one of the organization’s speech-language pathologists.

Volunteers can help when family members aren’t always able to.

"If someone has a stroke… it’s devastating for the partner," Baird says. "We can teach the partner what to do that will promote conversation post-stroke, but sometimes they’re so overwhelmed with their own grief and loss that it’s hard for them to take what we give and use it."

Volunteers are removed from the situation, so they can help more easily.

Baird says the organization’s volunteers are remarkable, and adds she is constantly amazed by the work she sees them doing with clients — work that goes beyond speech therapy.

"It’s just about life and having a connection," Baird says. "And that’s more likely to happen with someone who’s not a speech-language pathologist or family member or friend."

SpeechWorks is looking for caring people to join the organization’s group of volunteers. Anyone interested can call Mara Manzato at 204-231-2165.

Epp has high praise for the volunteers at SpeechWorks.

"There are many wonderful people who contribute their personalities, friendship, time and effort," she says.

Drury adds the clients and staff are exceptional, too. "It’s a fun group. I enjoy my Thursdays there," she says.

If you know a special volunteer, please contact aaron.epp@gmail.com.




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