Island School connections are everywhere! We recently heard from Fall 2005 IS alumna Katie Romanov and Spring 2010 alumna Emma Payne who are working together on an incredible project--to bring a nonverbal boy a voice! Emma recently began working for VocaliD which is a start-up that creates personalized synthetic voices for people who can't speak, so they don't have to rely on the same limited set of generic, robotic-sounding voices. It's very common that kids who rely on communication devices to talk often end up having around 5 other kids in their class using the same exact voice as them-- it's not only confusing, but communicating with such a generic, robotic voice hides a huge part of one's identity.
Katie emailed the central VocaliD email account, which Emma is in charge of answering, and her story about her student Simon, a nonverbal 5th grade boy from San Francisco immediately made Emma want to do whatever she could to join Katie in helping Simon get his own communication device, communication software, and his own voice. Katie and Emma exchanged many, many emails as they brainstormed how to set up Simon's Indiegogo Life fundraising campaign, and when Katie connected with VocaliD's page on Facebook, Emma noticed that they had a mutual friend--The Island School--and they soon we realized that we were both IS alumnae, 5 years apart!