Celebrity Causes: Taro Alexander for Camp Our Time

By , Guest Celebrity Contributor
It is estimated that more than 65 million people in the world stutter, including 5% of all children.  In a world that can be unkind to those who are different, kids who stutter often struggle to step out of the shadows of shyness and shame, and find the courage to express their unique and important voices.

While much is unknown about stuttering, including its causes and cures, children who stutter, along with their families and friends, can attest to the pain and frustration the disorder causes.  Kids who stutter struggle with everything from participating in class, to speaking on the phone, to ordering in restaurants, to making friends. Stuttering can claim a child's desire to speak and ultimately their ability to reach their fullest potential. To shield themselves from judgment and ridicule, kids who stutter put up walls and socially shut down. Our Time empowers these kids to break down those walls.

Our Time is a non-profit organization that improves the confidence and communication skills of children who stutter, ages 8-18. Our Time participants gain enriching friendships and experience tangible success, giving them the confidence to overcome the challenges presented by stuttering. The company is committed to offering its NYC programming free of charge and providing financial aid for its national program, Camp Our Time.

Camp Our Time is a sleep-away camp for kids who stutter, their young family members, and friends, ages 8-18, from around the nation and abroad. This groundbreaking program promotes improved communication skills among campers, and provides them with a safe summer destination where they gain valuable friendships, validation, and encouragement to pursue their dreams. Launched in 2008, Camp Our Time infuses a traditional camp experience including sports, swimming, horseback riding, crafts, and more with Our Time's distinctive arts programming, providing a fun, supportive environment for a wide diversity of kids.

Our Time campers hail from all over the United States and abroad: from California to Ohio, from Florida to Michigan, from Oklahoma to South Carolina, and even from Dublin, Ireland.  Camp Our Time helps kids who stutter develop priceless self-esteem, and at the same time, provides them with a place where they can simply relax, kick back, and have fun. Additionally, siblings, cousins, and friends who attend Camp Our Time learn how to better provide year-round support for their relative or friend who stutters.

I have stuttered since I was five years old. I grew up feeling ashamed of the way that I spoke.  There was nothing like Our Time around when I was a kid and I felt isolated for most of my life. I founded Our Time in 2001 and Camp Our Time in 2008 so young people who stutter would not have to grow up with the shame and isolation that I experienced. I want these courageous children to know that stuttering never has to hold them back from anything.

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Camp Our Time’s Founder & Director is an accomplished performer, teacher, and director who has stuttered since the age of five. Alexander graduated from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and went on to be cast in his first professional role at the age of nineteen in the National Tour of Neil Simon's…

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