In Press Play we converse the people behind NYXT’s video content partners. In this edition, we talked with Taro Alexander, Founder of the Stuttering Association for the Young. S.A.Y. is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the confidence and the communication skills of young people who stutter, with many activities in NYC and throughout the country. You can find their videos at nyxt.nyc/say/.
How do your personal goals and passions merge with S.A.Y.?
I have stuttered since I was about five years old, and I grew up not meeting anyone else who stuttered until I was 26. Growing up with stuttering as a challenge was really hard. I grew up feeling alone and isolated, I always felt like the odd person out, and, I didn’t even know this back then but I think that a thing that I wanted so badly was to be around other people that understood what stuttering was like.
So when I got into my mid-twenties I started to think what was out there for kids. I didn’t see anything like S.A.Y. I didn't see anything that was really fun and creative, and community building. I wanted young people who stuttered to know that there is place where they can come and feel great about who they are, and know that who they are is good enough. And that you can be someone who stutters and still achieve anything you want in life.
Other than S.A.Y., what organizations here in NYC do you support?
One of my favorite non-profit organizations is called the 52nd Street Project, which is actually where we are right now. I have volunteered with the 52nd Street Project since I moved to New York in 1991, and they are a wonderful non-profit that creates original theatre with kids in this neighborhood.
What is next for the Stuttering Association for the Young and how can people get involved?
We have a lot of really exciting things coming up at S.A.Y. We do a two weeks Summer Camp called Camp S.A.Y., that takes place in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, at the end of July. Before that we are doing a one day version of Camp S.A.Y. in Houston, Texas. And we are also doing the George Springer Bowling Benefit, in Texas as well. In then in the fall we also have some exciting activities, we will be doing a Paul Rudd Bowling Benefit here in New York City, as well as our One Act shows, where three of four teenagers write and direct their own original shows that are performed by professional actors. We are also doing a short version of Camp S.A.Y. in California and a short version of Camp S.A.Y. in Tennessee. So a lot of really exciting things going on in S.A.Y. over the next six months, if you are in any of those places I hope you come and check it out!
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