Western Illinois University Students Raise Over $10,000 to help Non-Speaking Students in the Region

Pictured are the top fundraising students, Megan Bieber ($2,575), left, and Elizabeth Rennolds ($760), right.

The Western Illinois University Speech and Hearing Clinic recently raised $10,250 in 10 days to purchase iPads with communication software to help non-speaking students in regional school districts.

The Gifting a Voice Campaign ran from Oct. 10-20, which had an initial goal of $5,000, with money raised by students in the WIU Speech Pathology and Audiology program.

The Western Illinois Speech Clinic is an on-campus clinic that serves people of all ages with a myriad of communication deficits. However, the clinic touches more than just the clients who attend the on-campus clinic. Additionally, the Speech Pathology and Audiology program has a number of contracts with surrounding school districts. Recently, student clinicians and supervisors have realized a great need for augmentative communication.

“As speech-language pathologists, it is our duty to find ways for these children to communicate and connect,” said Speech Pathology and Audiology Instructor Nicole Pierson. “Everyone deserves access to robust communication.”

Haleigh Ruebush, the Speech and Language Clinic Coordinator, partnered with Pierson and other members of the Speech Pathology and Audiology faculty, to raise money to purchase iPads and communication software. Ruebush brought this endeavor to the graduate students and challenged them to raise $5,000 in 10 days. Although the bar was set high, they exceeded the goal by double, raising $10,250.

“This is a true testament of the caring and dedicated professionals that we are sending out into the field of speech pathology,” Ruebush and Pierson said.

“Looking ahead, our graduate students will have the opportunity to prepare these devices for specific children, meet with teachers and paraprofessionals, and even host some ‘parent university’ nights to help parents learn this new mode of communication,” said Pierson. “We are so proud of our students for having such a huge heart for this marginalized population, and working so hard to make sure that they have a voice.”

For more information about WIU’s Speech Pathology and Audiology program, visit wiu.edu/cofac/spa.

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Western Illinois University Students Raise Over $10,000 to help Non-Speaking Students in the Region
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.