18th March 2021
Jack Dinsley updates us on his 'Be Kind Stammer Campaign', aimed at inspiring and motivating young people who stammer.
I thought it was time that I updated readers and the community about what has been happening with the Be Kind Stammer Campaign since my last article.
The campaign, which I set up in January 2020, is all about going into schools and helping to raise awareness with pupils and staff about stammering, and to inspire young people.
This January I reached my one-year anniversary of the launch, which was just fantastic. I never thought I'd be in a position where anyone would want to listen to me and my views on stammering, but here we are 14 months later.
Schools and beyond
When I go into schools, I create workshops and assemblies where I talk about my journey with my own stammer, from childhood to adulthood. Each school asks me to take a different approach to the subject. For example, one wanted me to focus on the subject of 'courage'. At another school I worked with a teacher to create games to get the students to talk about their stammers in a creative way.
Lots of students are in awe of the fact that I've worked for BBC Newsround, so I make sure to talk about that.
I originally aimed the campaign at primary schools but since the end of 2020 I've had a lot of requests to talk to colleges and universities, which is incredible. One of the talks was with Birmingham City University, where I talked to 60+ speech & language therapy students about my journey, founding the Be Kind Stammer Campaign and answering their questions. The response to that and the ones that followed has been so positive, I'm lost for words. It's definitely made me think about working with colleges and universities more in the future.
COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives in some way or another including the campaign, and I've been doing lots of sessions online via Zoom this last year. A lot of people have had a negative response to online learning but I have to say I have really enjoyed my Zoom sessions with the colleges and universities. They've allowed me to work with educational establishments I wouldn't have considered before due to their distance and how long it would take to get there.
The response to the campaign as a whole has truly been fantastic and I'm so honoured that parents, students and speech and language therapists are finding my work useful. Lots of students are in awe of the fact that I've worked for BBC Newsround, so I make sure to talk about that.
When I was growing up in the small town of Kirkham there wasn't anyone I could turn to. That's why I am creating content on Instagram and Twitter too, to help reach people who stammer online who feel isolated.
At the start of this year I was thrilled to introduce Erin, Alanna and Georgie to the team as 'Stam-Activists'. They're part of the online campaign and help spread the word on social media. Erin and Georgie both stammer, so it's great to have them onboard to share their stories. Alanna doesn't stammer but wants to see a change to the representation of stammering. Late last year I was delighted to welcome Thomas to the team too.
The response to the campaign as a whole has truly been fantastic and I'm so honoured that parents, students and speech and language therapists are finding my work useful.
They have all been a great asset, sharing their stammer journeys and tips. I asked them to share a video of them saying hello to our Instagram followers. You can watch Erin's video below. This was in fact her first time speaking on camera and she did so well. I've seen her confidence grow so much since I first met her. The team have done incredibly well, especially with Georgie being our youngest member and having such an impact.
My future talks and workshops are going to give an insight into stammering which I think students miss out on. It is a subject that has been spoken about a lot recently thanks to the likes of President Joe Biden.
You can follow the campaign on social media using the following:
We need to be heard. We have a right to be listened to.