Photos by Hillary Ehlen and special to Fargo Monthly
Featured photo: Haley’s Hope tutor Lynda Slininger and her daughters, Violet (L) and Bellamy (R)
With help from the Impact Foundation, we’ve broken up the numerous Fargo-Moorhead organizations into 12 categories. With more than 100 charitable organizations in the Fargo-Moorhead area alone, we know that you’ll come across an organization that tug at your heartstrings. Within the listings of local charities we’ve published, the organizations are split into subcategories that will make it easy for your charitable spirit to find its match. Here is our spotlight on the Education nonprofits, featuring Haley’s Hope.
1150 Prairie Pkwy, West Fargo
“I’ve been where you are.”
Lynda Slininger knows what it’s like to see your own child struggling with dyslexia. When she learned that her eldest daughter, Bellamy, had dyslexia, she came to Haley’s Hope for guidance. The mission of Haley’s Hope is to change how people recognize and understand the way those with dyslexia learn. Founder and director Kari Bucholz said, “Education should have a positive impact on the lives of children. It should give knowledge, build confidence and help them to discover their passions in life.” However, having dyslexia often robs students of both educational and life skills. Founded in 2011, Haley’s Hope offers one-on-one tutoring for reading, spelling and writing and is the only regional resource that specializes in addressing the many challenges people with dyslexia face.
Haley’s Hope offers a fidelity based Orton-Gillingham program that teaches children how to read and write on their own. Lynda saw through her daughter’s four-year experience with the program and now is taking what she got out of Haley’s Hope and giving it back. “When she graduated from the program, it was like we were leaving family; it was hard,” she said. Lynda knew she wasn’t ready to leave this organization that changed the lives of her and her daughter.
Rather than thanking them for their services and going their separate ways, Lynda now tutors at Haley’s Hope. “I used to teach in public schools, and now I homeschool, so I’ve worked with [Bellamy] and I know what it’s like to work with a student who is dyslexic,” said Lynda, “Tutoring at Haley’s Hope really feels like familiar ground, and I am passionate about it.”
“I get it. When I meet parents, I feel like I’ve been on all sides. I was on the other side of the desk crying when I found out my daughter has dyslexia. It felt overwhelming, and now I’m on the opposite side, tutoring,” she noted, while admitting that she gets emotional just talking about it. “When I first started, I was working with kids like my daughter, and I knew what they were struggling with and how hard they had to work just with reading and spelling.”
Her compassion and ability to empathize with these students and their families make her able to hit those break-through moments. “I’m not discrediting anyone who has come before me, but I’ve had people say things to me like, ‘My child has a new confidence,’ and I know some of the anxiety has been reduced for them.”
Founded in 2011, Haley’s Hope offers one-on-one tutoring for reading, spelling and writing and is the only regional resource that specializes in addressing the many challenges people with dyslexia face.
Tracy Dunham, Director of Operations for Haley’s Hope, said, “These kids are struggling now, but our dyslexic kids have above-average intelligence. They are creative, they are intelligent, they are our next entrepreneurs, they are our next discoverers. They are pretty amazing. They think outside the box, and they struggle with reading and spelling, but they are amazing kids.”
With the help from tutors like Lynda at Haley’s Hope, these amazing kids are able to reach their full potential. Bucholz noted that the biggest gift you can give to Haley’s Hope is giving those who are struggling with dyslexia a voice in their community. The more people share their story with facing the challenges of dyslexia, the more dyslexia moves from a disability to a gift.
“So many people are struggling and they don’t know we are here in the Fargo-Moorhead area. We are here, we are ready to help,” Tracy said.
From Founder and Director, Kari Bucholz
Giving Hearts Day‘s Impact
The sheer exposure of dyslexia and the financial impact through our involvement in GHD has allowed us to grow and reach more of the one in five with dyslexia in our community. We would not be where we are today without GHD. However, Haley’s Hope has been impacted in numerous ways beyond the financial impact during Giving Hearts Day. Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation have taught us invaluable skills in what it means to be true to our mission and change lives through and with the generous financial and supportive donations of others.
A Memorable Donation
A few years ago, a young man took $20 of his own money and brought the cash to us on Giving Hearts Day. Every year, I am reminded that every donation, no matter the size, is given because the donor believes in our mission of helping others.
What Haley’s Hope Could Do With More Donations
Haley’s Hope has successfully helped hundreds of children and adults with dyslexia gain needed literacy skills in order to navigate their educational and professional environments. Haley’s Hope’s main service is offering one-on-one tutoring in reading and spelling; however, we also see a need to create programs in comprehensive skill-building. Our Creative Learning Programs [in development] are tailored to the unique cognitive process of each student, guiding them down the best path to success. Through additional handwriting, math and study skill programs, we are able to break through another layer of defeat and frustration our clients feel on a daily basis. The more we can raise, the sooner we will be able to offer these programs.
While we have made great strides in educating the public about dyslexia in the last eight years, it is still misunderstood by many people, including educational professionals. Dyslexia affects one in five people and is the most common learning disability in our nation (National Institute of Health). Haley’s Hope is looking forward to increasing dyslexia awareness in 2019 and beyond.
What Would Be Lost In The Community Without Haley’s Hope?
Without proper assessment and instruction, parents and schools retreat to old approaches like forcing more reading, only compounding the problem. Students get improperly channeled into costly special education programs and without effective solutions, they may never “graduate” to regular classrooms. Children are sometimes blamed for “not trying hard enough,” and relationships become combative. Often teased, students become quiet, lose motivation, have few friends and come to hate school.
- $55 will bring the gift of learning how to read and write.
More Education Organizations in the FM Area
“There are many South Sudanese refugees in the Fargo-Moorhead area. African Soul, American Heart‘s work educates our community about the ongoing war in South Sudan that caused them to flee. I hope we inspire the community to learn more about the refugees in their midst, as well as helping ASAH provide for those left behind.” – Debra Dawson, Board President
“Last year, Junior Achievement doubled our match sponsor dollars, allowing us to have our most successful Giving Hearts Day to date. Because of that success, we were able to provide education to additional students we hadn’t originally budgeted for.” – Karen Berntson, Fargo-Moorhead District Director
“We need volunteers to serve as standardized patients in simulation or as patients for our family nurse practitioner students’ competency exams.” – Carla Gross, Associate Dean
“We would like to grow and enhance our facilities on both campuses to accommodate the growth we have seen, and expect to continue to see, in students and at the same time continue to enhance the students’ learning experiences in all the ways reflective of our mission and values.” – Shellie Simonson Ulven, Church Relations and Development
“I would like people to realize that how we speak to children affects how they see themselves. If we see greatness in them and tell them the proof of their greatness, they live it more each day.” – Jana Bruhschwein, Preschool Director/Teacher
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