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Spring 2002

"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver ."
Maya Angelou
Five Years and Growing Strong

The afternoon of October 6th was a picture perfect day for the Aphasia Center of California's 5 year anniversary educational seminar and celebration. More than 120 people with aphasia, family members, and friends gathered together in the ballroom of the Downtown Oakland Senior Center to learn about "Living with Aphasia" and the programs available at the Aphasia Center of California.

The keynote speaker of the afternoon was Dr. Audrey Holland, Regents' Professor from the University of Arizona. Her uplifting talk, entitled "Self-Determination and Aphasia," discussed the importance of people with aphasia taking responsibility for their future either by continuing to work on language skills or by becoming a participant in an aphasia group or by reentering the community.

As part of her presentation, Dr. Holland showed an inspirational videotape interview of the late Mr. Roger Ross, a stroke survivor with aphasia. Mr. Ross poignantly described his journey from deep depression to once again living life fully, even with aphasia.

The afternoon continued with performances by James Miller, David Rose, Bill Wong, and Philip Tien, members of the Expressive Arts class. Director Paoli Lacey and class members had worked together for more than 4 months and the skits they presented brought at times laughter and tears to members of the audience.

Elyse Dukatz, the Aphasia Center's fitness/relaxation class instructor, shared a videotape of several exercise routines performed by her class, which got everyone's feet tapping and hands clapping. Participants in the fitness class included Tom Boggs, Judi Briano, Dwane Carlstrom, Willoris, Childs, Iste Ingham, Bob Ingham, Tom Luebben, James Preston, Jackie Richard, David Rose, Jim Santanna, Diana Sullivan and Lynne Tabor.

Speech-language pathologist, Susan Ewing led a demonstration of communication techniques with Aphasia Center members Terrie Gamman and Bill Wong. The demonstration helped audience members to learn some basic strategies for improving language comprehension and expression when communicating with people who have aphasia.

The educational part of the day finished with a therapist panel that included Dr. Audrey Holland, Dr. Roberta Elman, Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, and Susan Ewing. The panel answered audience questions about aphasia. An art exhibit from the Aphasia Center's art class graced the building's hallway along with festive balloons and two long community resource tables were packed full of information on stroke and aphasia.

The afternoon ended with a celebration complete with cake and refreshments. Musical entertainment for the day was provided by our own Martin Aston on harmonica and Jenny Ellis on harp.

Thanks to the event organizers and committee members: Enid Meyer, Vicki Welcome, Gail Stabe, Ceci Pugh, Roberta Elman, and Susan Ewing. A big thank you to event day volunteers: Prudence, Ashley, John Taijala, Sid Dommes, Steve Fry, Don Welcome, Tracy Green, Mary Jane & Rich Laufenberg, Carol Sommers, Jim Dodge, and Diana & Dan Sullivan. Thanks also to those individuals and sponsors who made donations of time or materials: Gail Burroughs, Albertson's, Peet's Coffee and Tea, Douglas Parking, Glenview Florist, Montclair, Produce, and Greetings. The event would not have been possible without the support and assistance of Oakland Senior Center staff: Dr. Howard Banchefsky, Merrill Cotton, Dan Foley and Verlie Dotson. Thank you to all for making this day and our first 5 years as an organization so successful!!

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