July 26, 2016
Bertonitti Tayetto
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I’m Bertonitti Tayetto and I’m a student at Portland State University.  I am also currently the Emerging Leaders Intern here at Care Options for Kids, formerly The Hello Foundation, a program that brings diversity a very white-dominant business world. I have had the opportunity to develop a project for my internship, and I am calling it Hello Everyone.  Hello Everyone means is exactly what it says: it’s inclusive to all, helping everyone say “Hello.” I was inspired to start this project because of the great people I have met at Care Options for Kids, formerly The Hello Foundation. This is a company of Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists, and School Psychologists. They do therapy, but what they really do is change lives. They put kids first and most importantly, they provide quality service.

My Inspiration

Sharon Soliday, the founder of Hello, inspired me the most (follow the link to read her story if you want to check it out). In short she is a single parent that wanted the best for her child and every child that has special needs. So she made it happen by starting up this company. When I heard her story, I thought “Let's not just put kids first, let's put everyone first!” I want to take what they do at their clinic and in schools all over to the campus of Portland’s most diverse and growing academic community, Portland State University.

As a young black college marketing major, I’m student that has to work twice as hard as some others just to get from point A to B. That doesn’t seem fair. I also have two siblings from the LGBTQ community and know how difficult they had it growing up. They would tell me how hard it was for them to just be themselves. How unfair it was growing up with so many disadvantages. Unfortunately, some of you have had to feel this unfairness as well. Keeping up with the constant homework, projects, quizzes, bills, expectation to smell good everyday, etc. is hard. Don’t even get me started on speeches and public speaking, I’m getting nervous just typing about it! Oh, and here is another rough one: dating. Building up the confidence to walk up and say hello to that real good looking girl or guy is a struggle (you don’t want to slide in them DMs and feel like a creep, right?). Talking, expressing yourself, socializing, networking, or just even connecting with people are all important skills we need to have. Yet some of us can’t do all of those things because life has given us challenges and we don’t know where to find help.

This is why I am pushing the Hello Everyone movement. To give everyone a voice. To help you to be able to walk to your #MCM or #WCW and say “Hello I’m…” using a voice you feel confident using. To be able to go in front of your classmates and give best speech they have heard all year. To feel like you have the skills to be able to say who you are with confidence.

My Goal

My goal is to educate and connect students with avenues for help and resources they may not find at PSU. Did you know that speech therapists help with things like social skills, public speaking, accent reduction, and vocal changes? I didn’t either until I started working here. Did you also know that you can work with a speech therapist online from home? But I also want to hear from you guys (students) and know about the struggles you face. I made a quick survey below that will help us understand your needs, to see if you’re interested in Hello Everyone, and to see if you would like to be a part of testing our new online therapy program. The first 20 people to respond get a $5 Starbucks gift card!

Please share this blog with any other classmate you may know who might need something like this. I'll be posting the survey results to show that we are in this together. If you have any questions about Hello Everyone or about starting online therapy, please contact us. We would love to help you say Hello.