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First Lady Karen Weglage & The Ohio CDC

As a teacher, First Lady Karen Weglage has experienced firsthand the struggles that many students face when learning to read and write. In her role as First Lady this year, she has decided to help those children who face challenges in and out of the classroom by promoting the Children’s Dyslexia Centers. Read our full conversation with her below to learn how you can help.

The Children's Dyslexia Centers logo.
The Children’s Dyslexia Centers support young students in their academic endeavors.

Most adults do not remember the process they went through to learn how to read.  For most children this is a step-by-step lesson. They learn letters, the letters go together to form words, words form sentences, sentences then form paragraphs and those paragraphs begin to form stories and books.  

This is the normal progression to learn to read, but Dyslexia can get in the way.  Being dyslexic is not a bad thing, but when a person with Dyslexia is not taught in a way that fits their learning style, Dyslexia can be seen to be a bad thing. Dyslexic children often fall behind and experience loss of confidence and self-esteem even though they have above-average intelligence. These children on occasion become withdrawn and frustrated because they feel they are inferior to their classmates.  

The whole family is affected when a child is struggling with Dyslexia. They witness the child struggle to complete homework assignments, run into challenges at school, and they can see the frustration on the child’s face. The child may become so frustrated they refuse to finish their work. Unfortunately, this can lead to tension and  disagreements within the family.  Incomplete homework also leads to penalties at school – loss of recess or poor grades. The students feel they are inferior to the other children in their class as they may feel “stupid” or “dumb.” 

Most of my teaching career was focused on reading and language, and teaching children the tools needed for reading.  Watching small children struggle through the steps of trying to make sense of all the “black marks” on a page was difficult.  They needed the “key” to how it all works. The Children’s Dyslexia Centers hold the key. The Children’s Dyslexia Centers help change lives. They have impacted an incredible number of children by giving them the techniques they need to learn to read, so their confidence and self-esteem can be lifted.  During their one-on-one lessons prepared by the tutors, anxiety and frustration soon turn into an elated feeling and the child begins to succeed.  

We chose The Children’s Dyslexia Centers as our charity because of our personal experience watching our grandson, diagnosed with Dyslexia, develop into a successful and confident college graduate.  We have seen anxiety and frustration turn into smiles and happy attitudes with the help of the Dyslexia Center programs.  We want to highlight the success stories and how the work at the Dyslexia Centers impacts children. During our travels throughout Ohio this year, each district will hear our stories and why this charity is so important to us. For this entire year Masons will be exposed to our feelings about giving dyslexic students the tools they need to become successful adults. 

The tutors, who may also be regular classroom teachers, also have an impact on the students in their own classes. They use the tools and techniques they receive during the tutor training with their own classroom students. Many children benefit from the specialized training the Dyslexia Centers’ tutors receive.

The Children’s Dyslexia Centers help change lives. They have positive effects not only on the students who attend them, but also on their families. During our year we want to raise awareness and understanding of the Centers and the impact they have on the Children of Ohio. 

The Dyslexia Centers are funded by donations. We hope by sharing our passion for the centers, we can raise the funds they need to continue this service. The centers and the students need our help and financial support. The donations we receive this year from the Lodges and Districts will help in so many ways.

Some of our plans this year to help raise funds include a Ladies’ brunch in June. More information will be forthcoming on this event. There will also be an ongoing raffle during our travels to the receptions this year.  

The students need our help and financial support. Help us put smiles on those young faces when they realize they learn they are as smart as everyone else. Thank you for helping us help the children.

Visit the First Lady’s Charity page on our website to learn more about how you can help!