Supervisors Proclaim Dyslexia Awareness Month and Honor Kami Craig
By Cheri Rae, Director of The Dyslexia Project
During their meeting of Tuesday, October 19, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors joined officials in communities across the nation by proclaiming October Dyslexia Awareness Month. Supervisor Das Williams, who sponsored the proclamation, presented it to Kami Craig.
A graduate of Santa Barbara High School and the University of Southern California, Craig was identified with dyslexia at an early age. She excelled as a water polo player throughout her educational career and all the way to three Olympic Games, earning a silver and two gold medals in the process.
As she spoke at the podium, Craig began, “Today I want to talk about the power of dyslexia.”
“When meeting an individual with a learning difference of dyslexia, I want to encourage you to see that individual through the lens of great potential,” she urged. “Dyslexia has gifted me with resilience, work ethic, intuition, relentless courage and creativity.”
“Great potential does not come without great support,” noted Craig. She reflected on how her mother’s determined advocacy helped her obtain appropriate services in school, and how her dyslexia contributes to her determination to overcome obstacles and succeed beyond her wildest dreams. Now she uses her insights and knowledge to help others.
She spoke of how she recently mentored two students beginning to process of testing for dyslexia. She recounted how she told them. “You will be tested to failure and your weakness will be sought after. It can feel humiliating, exhausting, and might leave you feeling defeated.” And she reminded them, “Remember during this time and always. The way you learn is not attached to your self-worth, value, intelligence, or ability. Dyslexia does not define you.”
Craig’s leadership skills and teamwork mentality come into play as she mentors, coaches, and serves as an inspirational role model for students and athletes of all ages and interests. She relies on her experiences as an athlete who has sometimes struggled with learning differences to inspire and support them through her work as a Performance and Culture Coach with Mindful Warrior, and as an athlete mentor through Rise Athletes.
Dyslexia Awareness Month provides an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments and potential of the 1 in 5 who have dyslexia. Kami Craig is a shining example of how a learning difference, when properly recognized and supported, with understanding and positivity, can be acknowledged, embraced, and used to help motivate others to reach their full potential. As she concluded, “I would like to lift up Dyslexia Awareness Month as we advocate for those who cannot, develop understanding, and continue support surrounding dyslexia.”
We appreciate the County Supervisors for recognizing this important moment, and person who makes such a difference.
Individuals needing information and support about dyslexia are encouraged to contact TheDyslexiaProject@gmail.com; or view our website at www.dyslexiaproject.com. ~ Cheri Rae, Director, The Dyslexia Project