Sherrikka Myers is the founder of Every 1 Voice Matters, a nonprofit organization that provides community outreach to individuals and families of children who have stuttering issues. We were able to catch up with Myers who shared more information about her nonprofit, as well as helpful tips for parents and educators who may work with children with stuttering or other speech impediments.
MillBuzz: What was the inspiration behind your nonprofit Every 1 Voice Matters?
Myers: I realized that I should form this organization, Every 1 Voice Matters when I found out my first grandchild had a stuttering problem just like I had growing up. I wanted to shield him from being bullied and teased because of his stuttering. So, I went back to school at the age of 35, received my Associates degree in marketing and created my nonprofit.
MillBuzz: Tell us about the Little Herbie series and how children can benefit from watching them?
Myers: The Lil Herbie Series is an online YouTube kid-friendly, discussion-based reading series. The show is hosted by local celebrity radio personality Edwin “The Chef” Wright. The Lil Herbie Series discusses prominent issues that affect our children, and it also allows children to read a book for reading time. The series airs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST.
Kids and parents will benefit from being able to have honest conversations about hard-to-talk-about topics that need to be addressed. We also hope that the Reading Time with Lil Herbie portion will influence kids to read by seeing a kid who looks like them reading.
Each daily episode starts with a catchy, unforgettable jingle for kids to dance to and features the spelling and definition of the word of the day from Mrs.Get Right. Lil Herbie then demonstrates the word of the day in a way that’s easy-to-understand and allows children to incorporate the word into their daily lives. We understand that for most children to learn new words, it must be presented in a fun, engaging, and entertaining way.
MillBuzz: Do you think children who stutter today have it harder in school and with their peers than when you were growing up? Why or why not?
Myers: I do think kids have it harder than I did when I was growing up. Generations have changed, and other factors are in the picture now, such as increased mental health issues and social media. Also, kids who are teasing or bullying are not held as accountable today as kids were when I was growing up.
MillBuzz: What are some tips you can give to parents or teachers who work with children who stutter?
Myers: Six tips I would share with parents and teachers are:
1. When you first notice your child stutters, get help as soon as possible.
2. Have a little more patience than usual.
3. Don’t complete words for your child or talk for them.
4. For teachers, don’t treat kids who stutter any different. Expect the same quality of work from the student who stutters as other students.
5. Convey that you are listening to what the child is saying and not how they are saying it.
6. Speak with the child in a way that is not rushed.
MillBuzz: Is there anything else you’d like to share about Every 1 Voice Matters?
Myers: Yes. Every 1 Voice Matters is a nonprofit that was created to break down communicative and social barriers to improve the quality of life for children. Even though reading is educational and fundamental, it is also a tool that changed my life forever. Having a stuttering issue never stopped me, and I want all kids to know that no matter what issues they may be dealing with, as long as they have faith, belief, and determination, anything is possible.