ALIDA History and Minutes of our First Branch Membership Meeting
By Angie Hood
ALIDA held its first meeting in Birmingham on Saturday, April 26, 2003 but it took behind the scenes work before that first meeting to get an Alabama Branch established. First ALIDA Secretary Angie Hood joined IDA in 2000 after her son was diagnosed with dyslexia and Angie founded the Madison Learning Differences support group in North Alabama in 2000. At that point, all IDA members were members of the Georgia Branch but Angie was never able to attend GA meetings and neither were many other Alabama members.
Confident Alabama could support its own IDA branch; in March of 2002 Angie Hood drummed up support by email and sent a message to IDA with names for a steering committee to form an Alabama Branch. This group met for dinner on Saturday, July 20th at All Steak restaurant in Cullman and the wheels were then set in motion. Those at the meeting becoming the steering committee were Dr. Denise Gibbs who offered to serve as Chairman of our steering committee, Jill Vaughn Hall offered to serve as our Vice Chairman, Jamie Freeman offered to serve as our Treasurer and Angie Hood offered to act as secretary with Diane McTamney, Barbara Combs, Marcia Ramsey and Lydia Alexander also on the steering committee. Patti McLanahan, Charles Bryant, Rosalind Marie, Ashley Wells, and John Cleverdon also served on the steering committee.
Huntsville attorney and dyslexic Fred Simpson had his office draw up incorporation papers for ALIDA and bylaws for ALIDA were voted and approved, and the IRS gave ALIDA an identification number. We were ready for our first meeting.
Saturday, April 26th, 2003 at the Scottish Rite Center in Birmingham saw all those efforts come to fruition. Our Steering Committee Chair Dr. Denise Gibbs opened the meeting with a report of the status of the Alabama Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Dr. Gibbs introduced our special guest Tom McDonough, IDA Branch Council Southern Region Representative. Dr. Gibbs expressed our delight at having an IDA representative with us for our first meeting. Tom traveled from his home in North Carolina to be with us for this special meeting.
Dr. Gibbs had everyone present introduce themselves and tell about their interest in dyslexia. Twenty six people were present for this milestone meeting with 44 members of ALIDA as we started. Dr. Gibbs told the group about the incorporation of the Branch, receiving an EIN, employer identification number, opening an ALIDA checking account at REGIONS banks which are available all over Alabama, and about our plan to apply with the IRS for 501c3 filing status. The By-laws, previously posted on the ALIDA listserv, were discussed. IDA rep Tom McDonough told us the By-laws had been reviewed and were acceptable as they were written. Kathy Sullivan moved that we approve the By-laws as presented, and the motion was seconded by Barbara Combs. The By-laws were approved unanimously.
The Election of Officers came next. Officers elected came mostly from the steering committee: President Dr. Denise Gibbs, Vice President Marcia Ramsey, Secretary Angie Hood and Treasurer Laura Promer. The slate of Board of Directors was filled by volunteers and the Board of Directors approved unanimously: Lynn Cleveland, Angelo Cope, Jo Frances Findlay, Barbara Combs, Lydia Alexander, Paula Williams, Jill Hall, Jerry Burfitt, Joan Keagy, Barbara Cerny and Bob Pritchett
Dr. Gibbs led us in a discussion of our ALIDA purpose and goals. We will be working on setting goals in the areas of membership, programs, and promotion. A referral network for parents of resources and tutors was discussed as a goal, as well as a dyslexia resource directory which could be posted on our ALIDA page of the IDA website. Tom McDonough suggested to us that funds for a website could be better utilized and we decided to first utilize our resources available at the IDA website.
A parent wondered how to get the public schools to successfully deal with dyslexia. Tom McDonough told us that when the North Carolina IDA branch reached 350 members, suddenly their voice was heard and they had interest from the schools.
Dr. Gibbs told us of the IDA Action Alert about the re-authorization of the IDEA Legislation and asked everyone to write our Congressmen using the IDA letter she had put on the listserv.
Marcia Ramsey, our ALIDA Vice President, will attend the IDA Branch Council meeting next weekend May 2-4 in Washington, D.C. on our behalf.
Tom McDonough brought us greetings from IDA. Of the branches in formation, our branch has progressed very swiftly. Tom remarked that percentage wise we had the largest group of parents he had seen at a branch meeting. Tom told us the IDA is concerned about not reaching and not keeping parents. He urged us to grow our membership one on one- Each One Get One. He said the NC Branch took three years to double their membership. Tom told us the IDA will stand behind ALIDA in any way we need. Tom and his wife have four dyslexic kids and all have become successful so we can be encouraged that children will succeed despite their gift of dyslexia.
Tom McDonough formally installed the officers and the board of directors and the meeting was adjourned for lunch. After lunch we heard from two wonderful speakers, Dr. John Kline about effective listening, and Joan Keagy talking about common spelling strategies.