I discovered Sherrikka Myers via another freelance publicist friend of mine and learned about her children’s book, “Herbie’s New Home.” Sherikka’s a busy woman and her non-profit is called Every 1 Voice Matters.
Hers is a very interesting story as Sherrikka herself suffered from stuttering at a young age and her efforts in terms of both her book and organization is to help empower others and remind us all that each one of us has a voice and it matters.
Regan: How did you get inspired to write “Herbie’s New Home?”
Myers: I got inspired to write “Herbie’s New Home” by seeing my grandson (Lil Herbert) and other kids dealing with stuttering going through some of the same issues I dealt with growing up stuttering
Regan: Had you always set out to write a book or did you come to writing by accident?
M: Deciding to write “Herbie’s New Home” was really just an idea I came up. I wanted my grandson and other kids with a speech impediment to be able to read books dealing with issues that kids who stutters go through and learn how to be able to deal with them. I also want my books to teach those kids without a speech impediment empathy and how to respect those that do have challenges.
R: How did you come to start your nonprofit?
M: I knew I always wanted to do something surrounding stuttering, because it was very hard for me growing up with a stammer and people would laugh and ignore me when I use to try to speak. It took me some time to get it under control, but eventually I did, and I was able to do that by using a simple technique called reading aloud. But I decided to really form Every 1 Voice Matters when I had my first grandson and I notice he stuttered and the frustration in his face when he would try to speak looked all so familiar and I knew I didn’t want him to go through his years feeling the way I did, so I had to do something.
R: You just had a big second annual back to school event for children on Aug. 10; how did that go?
M: Yes, this year we had Every 1 Voice Matters second annual back to school bash in North Charleston at Park Circle on Aug 10 and it was a huge success. We had more than 800 people in attendance to include the mayor of North Charleston, Keith Sumney; Police Chief Reggie L. Burgess; City Councilmen, Chamber of Commerce, great media coverage, North Charleston Fire Department and so much more.
We gave away 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies from our main sponsors, Durham School Services and DTLR. We also had some great community leaders speaking and performances by That Girl Lay Lay and premiered Every 1 Voice Matters very own mascot Lil Herbie.
R: What’s next for your goals for your nonprofit?
M: Every 1 Voice Matters next goal is to be able to open up our very own E1VM center which will consist of several different programs such as fluency techniques programs with speech pathologist and not just during after school, but also throughout the summer. We will be helping kids deal with low self-esteem, build self-confidence, bullying and all issues that kids deal with when they have a stammering in order to have a better quality of life. We will have tutoring services, health and wellness and also continue our great YouTube animated series word of the day which is at: www.youtube.com/LilHerbieSeries — and so much more. We also plan to continue to take our mascot Lil Herbie around speaking and bring awareness to schools, churches boys and girls and other gathering to issues that our kids are facing today and how to deal with them.
R: Do you have another book that you’re working on?
M: I do have another book I am working on. Actually, there will be a serious of books. I plan to have an entire collection of Lil Herbie series books speaking on the challenges I went through growing up stuttering from elementary to high school and how I learned to deal with it. I want my books to be fun to read but educating and bringing awareness to stuttering and how to deal with it.
R: What advice do you have for kid’s today (and parents) in today’s challenging world?
M: The best advice I can give a child is no matter what situation you may go through or how long it may take you to say something, always remember Every 1 Voice Matters and there is a Lil Herbie in each and every one of us, so never give up. And for the parents the best advice I can give is to pay attention to your kids and the first sign of any type of speech impediment or challenges your child may be dealing with seek help.
Mary E. Regan, Columnist, is a Publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy. Story ideas? Email: Mary@ProPublicist.com.