A brick residential home has been overhauled inside to provide the 501(C)(3) non-profit Grace Speaks with three well-equipped clinic rooms for families in need of affordable speech therapy.
Grace Speaks was founded by Nicole Leslie and her husband Dr. Todd Leslie to provide a low-cost option for speech therapy for families in Hancock County. The organization, which previously rented space in downtown Findlay, now occupies the corner of Tiffin Avenue and Woodworth which Nicole says provides “freedom to make changes and to control the organization’s destiny.”
The Leslies bought the home and donated it back to the charity. They spent family vacation time creating the cheerful clinic rooms, comfortable waiting room, restrooms and an all-important observation hub.
Grace Speaks is a partnership between the non-profit and Bowling Green State University’s department of communication sciences and disorders. Nicole coordinates with Donna J. Colcord, M.S., CCC-SLP, clinical director at BGSU and supervisor of graduate-level student assistants who provide speech therapy. While area speech therapy services can cost greater than $5 a minute, Grace Speaks charges around $.50 per minute.
During the 2019 summer semester, eleven BGSU interns have provided therapy for 42 children. There is now a waiting list, which Nicole says is true of every area speech therapy provider. “Without the cooperation of the University, we’d be in big trouble,” says Dr. Leslie. “They do the teaching, we do the fundraising and supply the off-campus teaching location.”
Helping local children
Ainsleigh Bates, 30, credits Grace Speaks with the growth evident in her five-year-old son, Clayton. After two years of therapy at Grace Speaks, he has improved enough for his pre-school to modify and then eliminate his IEP. Ainsleigh credits the BGSU interns for their “awesome hard work” and “creative activities” to improve Clayton’s speech impediments.
Ainsleigh was referred to Grace Speaks through a family doctor and highly recommends the non-profit to families hindered by a lack of insurance coverage, saying “They work so well with kids. Parents will be satisfied with the results.”
Planning for the future
The move to the new location was a huge step forward, but Grace Speaks has even bigger plans for the future. The organization hopes to expand their services by partnering with occupational and physical therapy interns. The Leslies also would like to establish a “college promise” program to meet the ever-growing demand for speech therapists.
To learn more about Grace Speaks or to make a donation, visit grace-speaks.org or call Nicole Leslie at 419-359-6629 or 888-485-8155.