Harmonize for Speech helps enhance CDA program at Durham College

The spirit of giving was alive at Durham College`s Oshawa campus on November 22 as the Oshawa Horseless Carriagemen presented the college`s Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA) program with a cheque for $2,500 on behalf of Harmonize for Speech.

Commonly known as the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS), Harmonize for Speech is a service project of the Ontario District Association of Chapters of Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Singing of America, which provides funds for speech-related projects and equipment throughout the province. To date, the Ontario Barbershoppers have raised over $4.5 million toward the worthwhile cause.

A portion of the funds donated to Durham College was raised by the Oshawa Horseless Carriagemen, a BHS member that has been supporting the college for six years. “I am proud of the partnership we have with the college,” said Greg Goodall, treasurer, the Oshawa Horseless Carriagemen. “We host an annual show and sell raffle tickets to raise money for Harmonize for Speech. The CDA students, faculty and staff help ensure every raffle ticket is sold, which helps maximize the contribution to the college and the impact we have on promoting speech in our community. It`s a win-win.”

The CDA program will use the funds to purchase new books designed to teach students how to use sign language with toddlers and preschool children with normal hearing in order to increase their use of expressive language. In addition, they will be used to bring Debra Goshulak, a world-renowned speaker from the Speech and Stuttering Institute, to campus to speak to students and toward the purchase of an iPad2 with special software specifically designed to improve communication as an augmentative communication device.

“Having the iPad is a huge advantage for us as we prepare for our field placements,” said CDA student Stephanie Pietroiusti. “Without it we would be learning everything in theory. Now we have the opportunity to expand our learning with the application and develop the skills we need to be able to customize the program to individual client needs.”

Durham College’s CDA program is a one-year graduate certificate program that prepares students to work with speech-language pathologists and audiologists to help implement effective treatment plans to help people of all ages communicate more effectively. The program welcomes more than 30 students each year.

“We are so grateful for the support of the Harmonize for Speech fund and the Oshawa Horseless Carriagemen,” said program co-ordinator Elizabeth Maga. “Their assistance has enabled us to greatly improve our resources and enhance curriculum delivery for our students, thereby better preparing them to meet the needs of people in our community who struggle with communication disorders.”