Tutors at the Madison Area Children's Dyslexia Center.

Celebrating 20 years of achievement

Student teddy bears ready to leave the Center for their forever homes.

In May 2003, The Children’s Dyslexia Center of the Madison Area (CDCMA) had its first Celebration of Achievement, aka “Graduation,” which makes this year our 20th! The remarkable efforts of our tutors and mentors have directly changed the lives of more than 330 children and over 1,000 more indirectly thanks to the 75-plus teachers, retirees, and people from all walks of life who took our training.

Our May Celebration of Achievement was an energizing event thanks to our star students and all supporters who attended. A relatively new addition is the scholarship offered to our previous graduates, thanks to the Madison Valley of Scottish Rite, Commonwealth Lodge 325, and other Madison Free Masons. This year we had seven applicants, which was the most ever! This addition allows current graduates to hear from previous CDCMA alums who have graduated from high school and are succeeding in their chosen path. Below is part of a story from one of our scholarship recipients, Sean, who also was a guest speaker at the event.

I attended the Children’s Dyslexia Center for three years, starting when I was 10. My time working at The Children’s Dyslexia Center has impacted my life in so many ways. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude! I now have a lot more faith in myself and I am willing to always try. I am more willing to open doors and to let people in to help me. I still struggle with writing and spelling but now I am determined to try on my own.

My mom always knew I was a hands-on learner, but I did not know what that meant. Through my work at the dyslexia center, I began to understand what it meant, but I did not know what to do with it. After I graduated from the center I discovered a welding camp at Madison College. With my new confidence and willingness to try things on my own, I signed up for it and was very successful. I now discovered a new passion and knew what I wanted to do for a career. As I entered high school I was now more independent, able to keep up, and determined to get a good GPA so I could go to college. Without The Children’s Dyslexia Center, I would not be 5 credits over the required for graduation, able to take College level welding classes while in high school, and have a 3.18 GPA!!!

During my three years at the center, I would feel really frustrated, anxious, or embarrassed. Like anyone, you will always have your good days and bad days. No matter what type of day I had, my tutor Mary would not give up on me! She could tell when I was getting too stressed, so we would take a short break. We spent time doing things such as phonic tiles, prefixes, suffixes, reading, writing, and many other things. All during this time, my white bear holding a big heart pocket sat with us. To this day it is still with me sitting on top of my dresser. Each time I look at it I am reminded of all the hard work and tears that went into learning how to read and write.

Sean is one of the many dyslexic kids who started their school career with heartache, isolation, frustration, and misunderstandings. At the Celebration, we had the opportunity to see him as he starts a new path with confidence and smiles. Thank you to all of you who helped make this possible.

It is difficult for any of us to stand behind a podium and speak to a packed theater crowd. Many of our graduates and student speakers used their strength and confidence to tell their stories. And parent speakers shared their wisdom and heartfelt thanks.

It is estimated that the Children’s Dyslexia Centers nationwide have directly changed the lives of 16,000 children and indirectly 70,000 since 1996. Indirectly, because many who train through our accredited course go on to work independently or in schools. If you or anyone you know is interested in our IMSLEC accredited training program, contact Center Director Kelly Kuenzie.

Congratulations to our Graduating Class and Scholarship Winners of 2023!