Showcase your support of NCRF this giving season with an #unselfie

You may be familiar with Giving Tuesday, the movement that has taken over the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27 this year), following consumer “holidays” Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to kick off the charitable season. Started in 2012, the movement encourages people to “help others through the gift of your time, donations, goods, or voice.”

There are many ways you can get involved and showcase your support for NCRF — and it doesn’t have to be contained to just #GivingTuesday either. One way to use your voice to participate is by sharing an #unselfie. An #unselfie takes the selfie, a picture of one’s self, and combines it with the selfless component of using the picture to showcase a cause close to your heart.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Download and print the #unselfie template.

Step 2: Write why you support NCRF.

Step 3: Snap a picture. (Tip: you may need help from a friend, instead of the traditional selfie route of snapping a picture of yourself with the front-facing camera.)

Step 4: Share!

  • Be sure to tag NCRA (use @NCRAfb) in your #unselfie, so we can see and share them too!
  • Make your #unselfie your profile picture on social media channels on #GivingTuesday (Tues., Nov. 27), and beyond!

Visit NCRA.org/NCRF to learn more about NCRF and to download your #unselfie template.

Here are four #unselfie ideas to inspire you.

 

BJ Shorak reflects on her career at the National Court Reporters Foundation

Dear NCRA and NCRF members, supporters, and community volunteers:

BJ Shorak, NCRF's Deputy Executive Director

BJ Shorak, NCRF’s Deputy Executive Director

I have had the privilege of working with NCRA and NCRF for more than 31 years and, believe me, it has been a privilege! That’s a testament to both organizations and to the wonderful members, volunteers, and staff I have had the chance to work with and get to know over the years. During my tenure, I have had the opportunity to serve under six executive directors, be a part of several internal NCRA reorganizations, and have had the chance to be a part of the NCRF governance and program restructuring. I believe that change is what makes us stronger. Change is both exciting and scary, but it’s what prepares us for, and secures for us, the future.

I came to NCRA in 1987 as Director of Research and Technology and was named Deputy Executive Director of the Foundation in 1992, when it first became a separate operating entity.  The Foundation was formed in 1980 but didn’t have a staff or its own budget until 1992. Prior to that, the NCRA board was the NCRF board. It was with good fortune at the time that NCRA’s Executive Director Brian Cartier had come from a foundation background, and so he knew that it was important for the Foundation to operate as a separate entity if it was going be the most effective in supporting the mission of NCRA.

One of the most exciting opportunities has been working with so many Trustees from different backgrounds over the years. Unlike the NCRA Board of Directors, which is comprised of Association members, NCRF’s Board of Trustees is open to public members. This diversity has been and will continue to be essential to NCRF from both the programmatic and the fundraising perspectives.  Over the years, the NCRF Board of Trustees has welcomed not just court reporters and captioners, but legal videographers, business leaders, representatives from the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and judges and court administrators from the judiciary.

The Foundation has accomplished so much over the years, and it has been nothing short of a gift that I was able to be a part of its growth and numerous achievements. The successes the Foundation has enjoyed have been many. Among those especially close to my heart include:

  • Establishing the Robert H. Clark Library to preserve the history of the court reporting and captioning professions
  • Supporting research projects on state licensure and the cost benefits of court reporter technology
  • Creating an in-depth guide for the courts to use when assessing their record-making needs
  • Developing CART guidelines in partnership with the American Judges Foundation
  • Building strong relationships with judges, court administrators, and other court personnel
  • Supporting the work of Intersteno
  • Managing participation in national court technology conferences (CTCs)
  • Awarding grants to the College of William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Va., to ensure that a stenographic court reporter was on hand to demonstrate to visitors the highest level of making the record
  • Awarding more than $110K in scholarships to court reporting and captioning students and new professionals
  • Issuing grants to deaf and hard-of-hearing organizations in support of realtime and CART services to provide them access to important information
  • Producing a book that cites reporters as litigation managers, as well as one on providing realtime in the educational setting
  • Producing the acclaimed Hay Study that cited reporters as “professionals” in the truest human resources terminology and created job descriptions for freelancers and officials as certified managers of reporting services
  • Creating the Oral Histories Program, which serves as the umbrella to so many important efforts, including the Veterans History Project in conjunction with the Library of Congress and the Holocaust Survivors to support the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Establishing the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute to support new professionals
  • Creating teaching tools under the Legal Education Program to better educate attorneys and others in the legal field about the importance of a court reporter in making the official record
  • Expanding support to students through the Student Initiatives Program, and more

NCRF exists primarily through the generosity and support of its donors, and those donors are predominantly NCRA members. It is through your generous support and commitment to the Foundation’s mission that all of these programs and more have been successful. Each and every one of you constantly has amazed me with your spirit and your belief in NCRF and its mission.

NCRF is about to embark on a new strategic plan that will be structured to support the strategic plan recently launched by NCRA. Under the leadership of NCRA CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto, the Association is on target to meet the goals it has set for itself over the next three years. It has been such a pleasure to work with so many wonderful people over the years and to feel a part of something that is working for “the greater good.” I am proud of and humbled by my association with NCRA and NCRF, and I am blessed to have many close relationships as a result of it. I have committed almost half of my life to NCRF and have received so much more than I feel I have given. I mean that.

I have every intention of continuing my commitment to NCRF and the court reporting and captioning professions, but right now I want to commit to my family. I’m really excited to be able to make my husband and family my main priority at this stage of my life. I have every intention of checking in from time to time to see just how much stronger NCRF continues to grow!

I love NCRF and will cherish the memories and friendships from these many years. To the thousands of people who have donated to NCRF over the years, thank you so much for your support. Please don’t stop! As I always say, “every dollar counts,” and with our new strategic plan, your donation is even more important than ever.

And to the many, many wonderful people I have had the privilege to know and work with, you will always be in my heart. Thank you for your continued commitment to NCRF’s mission and support of the court reporting and captioning professions. Thank you for all you have given me both professionally and personally.

With sincere appreciation and great affection,

 

 

 

 

BJ Shorak
Deputy Executive Director
National Court Reporters Foundation

In honor of Shorak’s retirement, NCRF has launched a fundraising effort to honor her commitment to the Foundation and to the court reporting and captioning professions. Visit the NCRF donation page to make a contribution in honor of Shorak’s 31 years of service to the court reporting and captioning professions.

Read the press release.

 

Today is a great day to support the Foundation

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), which was founded in 1980, is dedicated to supporting the future of and raising awareness about the court reporting and captioning professions. Its charitable initiatives include:

  • Student scholarships: NCRF has given more than $100,000 in scholarships to students.
  • The Oral Histories Program, including the Veterans History Project (VHP): NCRA members have completed more than 4,200 transcripts for the VHP.
  • The Legal Education Program: NCRF has created materials that many court reporters have presented to attorneys, law students, and judges on making the best record.
  • The Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute: NCRF has created educational content, including seminars and a series of articles in the JCR, to help students and new professionals successfully transition to becoming working reporters.

You can learn more about what NCRF accomplished in 2017 in the accompanying infographic and find more information about NCRF’s programs at NCRA.org/NCRF.

Make an online donation to support NCRF’s work

Donations can now be made to NCRF online. Donors may also set up recurring donations to NCRF on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Donations of $1,000 or more — or recurring donations of at least $250 quarterly or at least $83.34 monthly — are Angel donations. Angels will be contacted separately regarding their special Angels recognition. (Please note: Angels who have already pledged will not be affected by this new online system at this time.)

Donate now at bit.ly/JCRWeekly.

Take Note! Court reporters and captioners transcribe interviews for Veterans History Project

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Feb. 10, the Library of Congress posted a blog written by April Weiner, Manager of the National Court Reporters Foundation. The blog provided insight into how court reporters and captioners are helping to preserve the stories of American war veterans.

Read more.

Gadsden State student earns national scholarship

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyGadsden State Community College, Gadsden, Ala., announced in a press release issued Jan. 29 that Analisa Arnold is one of two students nationwide to earn the Student Intern Scholarship from the National Court Reporters Foundation. The scholarship is worth $1,000 and is offered to students who are enrolled in NCRA-approved court reporting programs and meet other requirements.

Read more.

Plan ahead for learning opportunities through NCRA

calendar

Photo by Dafne Cholet

Mark your calendars and plan your learning path with NCRA through 2018. NCRA offers opportunities to earn CEUs in a variety of ways, from certification to webinars to live events. NCRA is your one-stop shop for your educational needs, whether you are working toward your next certification, your cycle ending date, or another goal.

Keep in mind that NCRA members can earn CEUs by passing the skills or written portion of certain tests, such as the RMR, RDR, CRR, or CLVS Exams.

Here is a short selection of dates and events (dates are subject to change):

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 10-17), Memorial Day (May 30), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) are also all good opportunities to schedule Veterans History Project Days to earn PDCs, although members and students are invited to participate throughout the year. And don’t forget that online skills testing is available year round.

In addition, NCRA is planning webinars throughout the year, which will be announced in the JCR Weekly and on the NCRA Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages as they are available.

Watch for more information in the JCR, in the JCR Weekly, and on TheJCR.com for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

NCRF announces winners of Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and Student Intern Scholarships

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) has announced that Jared Orozco, a student from Sheridan Technical College in Hollywood, Fla., was named recipient of the 2017 Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship. The Foundation also announced that Summer Vaughan, a student from College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., and Analisa Arnold from Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Ala., are the recipients of the 2017 Student Intern Scholarships.

Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

“I chose to be a court reporter because I wanted a job that has a relatively flexible schedule to permit me to do volunteer work and dedicate time to being a minister,” said Orozco. “After I finish school, my ultimate goal would be to work in transcribing sermons to expedite their translation so it can be of benefit to people all over the world.” He plans to use the scholarship funds to purchase a much-needed computer as well as CAT software.

Jared Orozco

The Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship is a $2,000 award, given annually to a high-achieving court reporting student. This scholarship honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students through years of service on NCRA’s committees and boards that guide the education of court reporting students. Recipients are nominated by their schools and must meet specific criteria, including:

  • having a GPA of at least 3.5
  • passing at least one of the court reporting program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 200 wpm
  • possessing all the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including professional attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

“When called upon to read back in class, Jared summons his talent to imitate accents, ranging from Darth Vader to Southern drawl, to amuse and enthrall his classmates. However, when it comes to integrity, honesty, professionalism, and altruism, Jared is very serious,” said Aurora Joslyn, CRI, an instructor at Sheridan Technical College. Joslyn added: “Now, thanks to the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship award, Jared can proudly take his place among the ranks of professional court reporters equipped with the tools for success.”

Student Intern Scholarships

Summer Vaughan

“Court reporting has always been the one job that has stuck out in my mind as my ‘dream job.’ I was always discouraged from going into this career because people are very misinformed about the opportunities available for a court reporter,” said Vaughan, who had pursued a paralegal degree before entering court reporting. “Once I began my court reporting internship, I knew I was right where I had always wanted to be. The reporters I interned with have been so welcoming, helpful, and encouraging. Nearly all of them have continued to follow my journey and have cheered me on every step of the way.” Vaughan plans to put the scholarship funds towards professional software and certification fees.

“Summer will be a successful professional because she has grit. She not only has the skill but the mental fortitude, determination, and desire to be an outstanding court reporter. That same grit or perseverance that took her through court reporting school with honors will be what propels her into a highly accomplished career,” said Nicky Rodriquez, the director of admissions at College of Court Reporting. “Summer is very deserving of this scholarship and will, without a doubt, make a positive impact on the court reporting profession for years to come.”

The Student Intern Scholarship is a $1,000 award, given annually to two high-achieving court reporting students who have completed the internship portion of their education. Recipients are nominated by their schools and must meet specific criteria, including:

  • having a GPA of at least 3.5
  • passing at least one of the program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 190 wpm (if pursuing judicial reporting) or at least one literary test at a minimum of 160 wpm (if pursuing captioning)
  • possessing all the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including professional attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

Analisa Arnold

“Not only is the internship experience a great opportunity for easing fears a student may have about moving from the educational environment to the professional realm, but it also gives an in-depth chance to experience the multifaceted scene of court reporting. The most important lesson I learned from my internship process is court reporting is more than just a job; it’s a rewarding career opportunity that benefits so many people,” said Arnold. She plans to put the scholarship funds toward the start-up costs as she moves forward as a professional.

“Analisa Arnold is a well-rounded young lady who has high ambitions and this keeps her motivated to persevere through all the ups and downs as a reporting student,” said Michelle Roberts, CRI, an instructor at Gadsden State Community College. “Her practice habits throughout her stint here in school will assure her a great career as a realtime writer. Her precise writing style will assure her a big platform to display her talents in this field.”

NCRF volunteers raise more than $7,000 during remote Phone-a-thon events

Since 2012, nonprofit organizations and charitable donors across the globe have celebrated Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a movement to kick off the charitable season and takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. On Giving Tuesday 2017 (Nov. 28), 10 Arizona court reporters gathered at the office of Griffin & Associates to make phone calls on behalf of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF).

Donations support NCRF’s programs, including scholarships for students; an annual grant for a working reporter in his/her first year out of school; the Oral Histories Program, including the Veterans History Project; and the Legal Education Program.

“What we would love to see as a movement for NCRA is a culture of giving to NCRF and promoting that as something that we all embrace: reporters supporting reporters. [Giving to NCRF] is one way to do it, and we know exactly where our money is going: to our future (students) and doing good (oral histories),” said Pamela Griffin, RPR, CRR, CRC, owner of Griffin & Associates, and her daughter Danielle Griffin, RPR, NCRF Trustee; both of Phoenix, Ariz.

In addition to both Griffins, the callers at the Giving Tuesday Phone-a-thon were:

  • Laura Ashbrook, RMR, of Tempe, Ariz.;
  • Tammy Pastor, RPR (Ret.), past NCRF Trustee, of Chandler, Ariz.;
  • Kate Roundy, RPR, of Phoenix, Ariz.;
  • Merilyn Sanchez, FAPR, RMR, CRR (Ret.), past NCRA President and past NCRF Chair, of Chandler, Ariz.;
  • Carolyn Sullivan, RPR, of Gilbert, Ariz.;
  • Doreen Sutton, FAPR, RPR, and NCRA Vice President, of Scottsdale, Ariz.;
  • Teresa VanMeter, RMR, of Gilbert, Ariz.; and
  • Wilma Weinreich, RPR, of Phoenix, Ariz.

Combined, this event and NCRF’s annual remote Phone-a-thon hosted by Stenograph in October raised more than $7,000. The callers at the October Phone-a-thon were:

  • Kathie Grove, RPR, CRR, CLVS, of Wheaton, Ill.;
  • Joan McQuinn, RPR, CMRS, and past NCRF Trustee, of Rockford, Ill.; and
  • Jacqueline Timmons, FAPR, RDR, of Darien, Ill.

This year’s Phone-a-thon at Stenograph was special because it marked the 10th anniversary of the company hosting NCRF for its annual remote Phone-a-thon.

“We at Stenograph have long been fortunate to have a great relationship and partnership with both the NCRA and the NCRF. We appreciate and support the worthy objectives of the NCRF and are honored to have been able to assist in these efforts for so many years,” said Jeremy Steele, president of Stenograph.

The Griffins emphasized that if the Phone-a-thon callers missed, you can still give to NCRF.

“Many of us are coming to a point in our career where we are ready to retire. Now is the time for that extra push to continue giving and incorporate new ways to contribute. Our family runs on the motto, ‘you get what you give,’” said Griffin and Griffin. “Let’s make this season a giving season, and even if you weren’t able to contribute for the phone-a-thon, the lines at NCRA headquarters are open for donations!”

Donations to NCRF are 100 percent tax deductible as charitable contributions, and donors may make a donation by calling 800-272-6272, or by mailing a check to NCRF at 12030 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 400, Reston, Va., 20191. Visit NCRA.org/NCRF for more information.

The November/December issue of HLAA magazine features NCRF’s HOHH Project

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe latest issue of the Hearing Loss Association of America’s membership magazine features an article about the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project in an article authored by April Weiner, Manager of the National Court Reporters Foundation. NCRF launched the program, which is funded by an innovation grant awarded by the American Society of Association Executives.

Read more.

Members give back: Honoring U.S. veterans

A family of four dressed for chilly weather pose outside in front of a suburban house

Michelle Keegan with her two sons and her husband, who served in the infantry in Operation Desert Storm

By Michelle Keegan

Over the years, I have transcribed many interviews of veterans through the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and the National Court Reporters Foundation. I feel honored to be able to take part in such a worthwhile program. Every interview brings a new understanding of the sacrifices that our veterans have made. Often I am left in awe by the courage that these men and women showed at such a young age when called to defend our nation. More times than not, after I finish transcribing an interview, I immediately want to transcribe another. I find that as the veteran recounts his or her story, I become mesmerized. I often find that I’m laughing along with the veteran to the funny stories that are remembered, and I get teary eyed along with the veteran when he or she relates some of the more difficult memories.

One memory that was recounted recently was by a veteran of the Air Force. He said that a bunch of guys got together and decided to go into town, and they bought a kitchen sink. And they took the kitchen sink with them. They had tipped off the photographers who went along that when they got to the target, they were going to dump the kitchen sink down on the target so the headlines would read in the paper that the Nazis got hit with everything and the kitchen sink. That’s a true story.

I have recently met with the head of the local Veterans Administration to start a Veterans History Project that will interview our city’s veterans. It is my hope that the veterans of our city will share their stories through the Veterans History Project so that we as a society may gain a better understanding of what their experiences in wars were like, what they did as they integrated back into society, and how they are able to cope with and overcome some of the difficult memories that they have. I hope that by hearing these stories, we as a society will not forget that throughout our history, our country has needed protection, and these men and women bravely answered the call. And many of them are our neighbors.

Veterans Day may have come and gone this year, but one way that we as court reporters can give back is by volunteering to transcribe the stories of a veteran. NCRA and, through it, NCRA members have been working with the Library of Congress since 2003 both to record and transcribe the stories of the diverse group of men and women who have served our nation.

Michelle Keegan, RMR, CRR, is a freelance reporter from Quincy, Mass. She can be reached at michellekeegan2010@hotmail.com.

For more information about the Veterans History Project, please visit NCRA.org/NCRF, or contact April Weiner, Foundation Manager, at aweiner@ncra.org.