In 2001, our organization was founded as Our Time Theatre Company, and in 2014, we became SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young.
As we celebrated our 15th Anniversary in 2016, we were inspired by the words of some of our incredible Alumni – young people who are living their dreams – and that’s what our organization is all about!
David Nachman: 2001-2005 Participant
Our Time/SAY…gave me an artistic community and a place where I could really express my ideas without judgment from others – that was really powerful and has affected me a lot since then. It’s been a home, a sense of continuity. I’ve been involved in some form or another for 15 years, and it is now the longest thing I’ve been a part of, so it has become a bedrock for my life.
I think it taught me to value creativity, both my own and others’, and really think about what I want to express and accomplish, rather than just going along with the default of what others around me expect. When I look at the choices I’ve made through time, I see that connection.
In addition to a rewarding job, David volunteers for SAY each year in the Mentor Project, giving back to SAY kids and teens.
Jonathan Greig: 2002-2008 Participant
Collective struggle has a way of bringing people together, and the work we did in conjunction with the amount of time we spent together have forged bonds that go way deeper than your average friendship. It is truly an honor to see how well all of us are doing and the wonderful things we have gone out and contributed to the world.
This recognition – that you and your story matter -serves as the very foundation that Our Time/SAY is built on. This is what I learned from a very early age after working with all of the beautiful people at Our Time/SAY. This lesson has only been amplified by my travels, and I only hope that as SAY grows, the reach of its message does as well.
Jonathan is currently a journalist working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Keith Russell: 2003-2008 Participant
Our Time/SAY impacted my life because I met amazing people there. Some of the people I’m still the closest with today I met at Our Time/SAY. My friends have turned into my family. Those are the people who believe in me.
Our Time/SAY taught me how to take off my cool. I didn’t have to have a wall up. It showed me that it was okay to take off my cool. Being part of Our Time/SAY taught me how to listen to people more. It taught me to be more open, be myself. Our Time/SAY taught me how to be a better person in society. It taught me how to care about other people more than myself.
Keith is working at TGI Fridays, and volunteers at SAY’s Confident Voices program.
Angelina Bruno-Metzger: 2002-2006 Participant
Our Time/SAY has provided me with a group of people who simultaneously challenge, love, accept, inspire and excite me, and I know will always have my back, even if we haven’t spoken in years. My Our Time/SAY crew always has been and always will be a part of my life, they continue to inspire me to be stronger and bolder. Our Time/SAY is like coming home.
As a lawyer you are an advocate for your client and you can’t be a good advocate unless you can advocate for yourself, and Our Time/SAY taught me how to advocate for myself. Our Time/SAY simultaneously inspires your voice and teaches you the power of listening.
Angelina is an attorney with OlenderFeldman LLP, and serves as a mentor for SAY’s kids.
Isaiah Fletcher: 2004-2007 Participant
Our Time/SAY reassured my Confidence, forced me to get in tune with my creative perspective, and showed me what Genuine Love felt like. The shows were always phenomenal, but the love shared and many memories made meant much more.
Our Time/SAY forced me to analyze life and the things I go through daily from a creative standpoint, as well as be able to relate to actors that genuinely give all of themselves in their work. I was finding ways to describe to those in my neighborhood who were unaware as to what Our Time/SAY was exactly how Kids with our ‘disability’ consistently found the courage every week to face a fear they had to Live with. This helped me appreciate the program that much more, and look forward to Saturday each week.
Isaiah is a 4th & 5th grade teacher, and plans on becoming a firefighter. He has also been a SAY mentor.
Andre Gillyard: 2004-2008 Participant
What I’ve achieved at SAY has had a direct impact in all the areas in my life today. Being able to perform on stage was a great metaphor for how to take on the world, whether it’s my career, personal life, goals, I feel like SAY has taught me many life lessons and how to not let challenges and obstacles stop you from becoming successful.
Not only do I stay in touch with my friends at SAY, I don’t consider them as friends, they’re like my brothers and sisters. They have impacted my life in so many ways I don’t have enough time to express it. I’ve truly learned the value of friendship, trust and love from them.
Andre is currently working in TV/film production, and is a mentor and Camp SAY counselor.
Alison Williams: 2004-2011 Participant
Our Time/SAY has given me confidence in myself to let my voice be heard. Even as an alumna, being able to connect with the current members reminds me how important it is to stay true to myself. Being able to be a part of the SAY family even as an alumna is such a blessing and I look forward to being a part of this family forever.
Our Time/SAY has given me exposure to writing, performing and directing at a very young age. As a member, I never seriously considered a career in theater or the entertainment industry and simply thought of it as a hobby. Without Our Time/SAY I don’t think I’d have the courage to pour my heart out on the page and share stories on the stage.
Alison is completing her final semester at Brooklyn College, plans to pursue a writing career, and is a SAY mentor and Camp SAY counselor.
Rebecca Klein: 2011-2013 Participant
Being a part of the SAY family has meant learning how to use my voice. The SAY family is an unwavering network of support, and I have learned not only to appreciate the comfort that SAY provides, but also to embrace the challenges of the world outside of SAY. SAY gave me a community. I always thought I was the only one afraid to speak because of the way my words sound, but SAY made me realize I wasn’t alone.
My achievements at SAY impact everything I do today. Every terrifying moment that SAY helped me face is now a memory. I now speak whenever I want my voice heard.
Rebecca studies at Oberlin College and Conservatory, and is an Office of Disability Services student accessibility advocate.
Naudia Jones: 2004-2006 Participant
It is incredibly empowering to be part of a group of people that fiercely support each other as much as the SAY family does. They have been my rock for over 12 years.
The confidence I got from SAY has influenced everything I do today. SAY showed me how to accept my stutter, all its challenges, and inspired me to strive to be the best version of myself. Before SAY I spent so much time agonizing over my disfluency. Now I celebrate my stuttering…the person it has molded me into and the people and life it has led me to. My stutter is incredibly humbling yet fiercely empowering.
Naudia is a Junior in the Registered Dietician Nutritional program at Brooklyn College, and Vice President of the Health and Nutrition club. Naudia is also a SAY mentor.
Amy Rodriguez: 2010-2015 Participant
At the time, Our Time, and now SAY continues to impact my life for the better. From the moment I first started going to the Saturday programs, I felt like I belonged, I wasn’t alone. It changed my perspective on things, especially on something that I hated about myself. I’m proud of embracing my stutter, of doing things that when I was younger, I thought were impossible for a person who stutters.
Our Time/SAY made me realize that being different was OK, stuttering was ok…and made me realize I could do everything and anything I set my mind to and more. Until I met Our Time/SAY, and the people, I don’t think I had ever aspired to go to college.
Amy is a sophomore at SUNY Fredonia, studying to become a Speech-Language Pathologist, and is a Camp SAY counselor and SAY mentor.
Joe Popovich Jr.: 2006–2014 Participant
I have accomplished things in high school and college that I would have never been able to do if it was not for Our Time/SAY…the root of my confidence comes from the experiences Our Time/SAY gave me growing up as a person who stutters.
Our Time/SAY helped me get through middle school. Middle school was a low point in my life, because I would have experiences that were so negative that I thought of suicide.
At my job in college, I am required to speak and interact with a lot of new people on a weekly basis. I would have never been able to do this without Our Time/SAY.
Joe attends Creighton University, is a manager of the nationally-ranked Creighton men’s basketball team, and is a Camp SAY counselor and SAY mentor.
Julianna Padilla: 2005-2016 Participant
I used to be ashamed of myself and the way I spoke. So much so, that I would avoid speaking whenever I could. I am now proud to be a person who stutters, and I take pride in educating people about it as much as I can. Our Time/SAY made me realize that my stutter makes me a unique individual and that it’s okay to be different. Our Time/SAY has helped me find my voice.
Being a part of this beautiful family has been such an honor. The love that we share is truly remarkable and growing up with these amazing people has helped shape me into the person I am today.
Julianna is pursuing a career in music, and is a SAY mentor.
Victoria Perlman: 2005-2015 Participant
Our Time/SAY most significantly impacted my life by teaching me to not give up and not hold back on expressing my voice to the world. I will never give up on shooting for the stars!
Being a part of the Our Time/SAY family means the whole world to me. I really consider SAY my second family and home. I have made so many lifelong friends that I call the brothers and sisters that I have always wanted! I love all of them so much.
Our Time/SAY has really impacted what I’m doing today, in that I speak up for what I really feel and need!
Victoria is interning at The Color Cove Salon and is studying to become a hairdresser. Victoria is also a SAY mentor.
Edward Mawere: 2004-2010 Participant
When I was growing up I always knew I wanted to perform but those dreams did not seem realistic because I stuttered. Then I found Our Time “an artistic home for people who stutter!” With Our Time/SAY I was given a safe place to write songs, plays, and poems, and the opportunity to perform those works for the public. It was a literal dream come true…over the course of those 6 years, I learned what it meant to live life unapologetically, that it was OK to make mistakes, and most importantly to love myself, flaws and all.
Today I am a professional actor because Our Time gave me the tools and support I needed to cultivate my artistic abilities…a true safe haven where all your hopes & dreams come true.
Edward is an actor, currently appearing in a national TV commercial. Edward has also been a SAY mentor.