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Gonzagans Lead 9-City National Tour to Empower Others, Change Discourse on Learning Challenges

SAN FRANCISCO – Katie Seelig and Emma Fahy, May graduates of Gonzaga University, along with Gonzaga senior Molly Roberge have battled dyslexia their entire lives. The three friends embark today, (Friday, July 19) leading a 10-city national tour to help empower those labeled as learning disabled and change the discussion of learning challenges.

Katie Seelig and Emma Fahy, May graduates of Gonzaga University, along with Gonzaga senior Molly Roberge, are leaders in this national tour. Credit Eye to Eye.

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‘Own Your Label, Share Your Story’

SAN FRANCISCO – Katie Seelig and Emma Fahy, May graduates of Gonzaga University, along with Gonzaga senior Molly Roberge have been challenged by dyslexia their entire lives. The friends embark today (Friday, July 19) leading a nine-city national tour to help empower those with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition, they hope to make the discourse around LD/ADHD more positive.

(from left) Emma Fahy, Katie Seelig, and Molly Roberge.

The LD/ADHD Strike Out Stigma National Tour begins in San Francisco and ends July 30 in Providence, R.I., with stops in Reno, Nev.; Salt Lake City/Park City, Utah; Boulder, Colo.; Omaha; Chicago; Cleveland; and Buffalo, N.Y.; Included in presentations are tips on self-advocacy, self-esteem, meta-cognition, accommodations, and effective school transitions. Click here to view the tour schedule.

Eye to Eye is the only national movement that pairs children with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with similarly labeled college students. Seelig, from Castro Valley, Calif., and Fahy, from San Francisco, are co-founders of Gonzaga’s student chapter of Eye to Eye. Roberge, from Denver, became involved in Eye to Eye as a Gonzaga freshman.

The idea for the tour came last summer when Seelig and Fahy attended Eye to Eye’s Annual Youth Leadership Conference. After the conference, they spent three months developing a plan for the Strike Out Stigma National Tour and by December their idea was approved and funded by a grant from Eye to Eye.

Seelig looks forward to seeing the idea, which she and others have worked so hard to develop, come to fruition. 

“This has been a yearlong project, with countless hours of work, and I am so excited to finally get going,” Seelig said. “I’m excited for all of the people we are going to meet and all of the new places we will experience!”

Eye to Eye’s goals for the tour include raising awareness about learning disabilities, empowering all people living with learning disabilities/ADHD, and transforming the conversation around LD/ADHD from a negative to a positive one. Tour members also have emphasized the phrase “Own your label, Share your story,” which aims to show others examples of the success people with LDs can achieve.

This past school year, Seelig, Fahy, Roberge and Gonzaga’s other Eye to Eye student mentors went into the community to help young students with learning disabilities like their own. Using an art-based curriculum, they helped children build self-esteem as they embrace their abilities as different thinkers. Eye to Eye promotes self-advocacy and continues to strike out stigma so those who are labeled can become their own best advocates.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom offered his support for the effort.

“As an individual with dyslexia, I know firsthand the challenges associated with the issue championed by the Eye to Eye mentors and Think Different Diplomats leading the LD/ADHD Strike Out Stigma National Tour,” Newsom said. “These students are bringing hope to vulnerable, at-risk youth in all areas of the country. The tour is working to draw attention to a significant social issue and changing the conversation about being labeled as learning disabled, ADHD and dyslexic.”

For more information about Eye to Eye please visit the organization’s website. For more information about the LD/ADHD Strike Out Stigma National Tour, follow the tour’s blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, and YouTube channel.  

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