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2022 Recap and Looking Ahead

The new year is here and all of us at CiK are ready for it! We have lots of excitement planned for 2023 that we can’t wait to share with our followers. Before we dive into our upcoming plans, we wanted to do a quick recap on all that 2022 brought us.

The forefront of our mission is to provide direct resources to our complex communication community. Even though we focus our attention on Michigan; we have a large national and global following in need, which is amazing and eye opening! However, we do the best we can considering we operate with all dedicated parent volunteers, and last year we did our first ever bilingual boards for Petaluma California as well as Tempe Arizona. We also provided Miracle League Baseball of Southfield and Lake Orion with custom baseball communication boards. Our board gifting project has become more comprehensive and includes a matching lanyard for staff or users to wear, on demand training, as well as a literacy textbook. Just this year alone boards were gifted to schools in Rochester, Howell, Southgate, Wixom/Walled Lake, East Lansing, Van Buren, Novi, Inkster, Fraser, Sterling Heights, Roseville, Plymouth-Canton, Detroit, Canton Parks and Rec, and Wayne Westland School District…PHEW!

Our biggest gifting project in 2022 was in collaboration with Wayne Westland School District. They were gifted communication devices, speech generating software, playground communication boards, specialized training for staff, literacy resources, laminators, swimming pool communication boards, and portable communication boards/lanyards! Over $20,000 in resources. We are so proud of this project as we know so many children's lives are positively impacted by having these resources readily available to them.

In September, we held our third annual golf outing and raised over $27,000 that day alone. Once again we were sold out, and welcomed both new and returning sponsors, golfers, and volunteers. We can’t thank you enough! SAVE THE DATE for September 16, 2023!!!

A snippet of how Communication is Key came about involves Talking AAC. This is an annual two day comprehensive conference held every year in East Lansing. Julia attended for many years during Isabelle’s early AAC journey, and each year she was disheartened and shocked that there were hardly any parents or caregivers present at such VITAL training.

Julia learned so much about the AAC world and wanted so badly for Isabelle’s team and other families to have access to this information. Therefore; we are big supporters of this event, and this year alone we sponsored 20 recipients, making CiK the primary scholarship sponsor for the event. Included were parents and caregivers throughout Michigan who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend this two day event, but also were able to connect with each other to form new support and friendships, which is tough in the special needs journey!

October saw the launch of our Free Friday resource giveaways using low tech AAC resources created by our amazing CiK member and Speech Language Pathologist, Rachael Hendzell. Our first resource post, we shared low tech AAC Halloween resources, was shared over 180 times and reached over 55,000 people on Facebook alone! We plan to continue these free resource giveaways since they have been such a hit. In our last quarter we also gifted two local students an AAC device and software that they were unable to obtain through their school and insurance. We also adopted two families in Wayne County with special needs children and provided them a fulfilling Christmas.

Of course none of our work could be accomplished without our amazing donors and supporters. In just a few short but busy years, Communication is Key AAC has raised over $115,000.

As we continue to grow, we are able to target other important areas of the special needs community. Thanks again to our SLP Rachael; we have expanded our mission with a new project; Core in the Community. This is a project that provides first responders such as police, fire, and EMS with appropriate resources to communicate with ALL individuals. Resources include noise canceling headphones, weighted lap pads, fidgets, and a variety of core boards relating directly to crisis and emergent scenarios. This is SO IMPORTANT as citizens of all ages with communication needs are SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER RISK for mistreatment in crisis situations due to lack of training and awareness. THIS IS A NEED THAT MUST BE MET. All of us at CiK have had these trauma induced situations with our children that we will never forget and still fear. We are looking for collaboration to help grow this project in and out of Wayne County, should you be interested please reach out!

With 2023 projects underway, so are our fundraising efforts!! Super Bowl squares are currently for sale and going quickly. You can Venmo and message us to secure your square!

We also have a very exciting raffle coming up related to Movement Music Festival 2023 - stay tuned for details. We look forward to all that 2023 has to offer and are excited to continue impacting lives!

Thank you for your continued love and support!

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