NCRF announces new strategic plan

Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, Chair of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) Board of Trustees, has announced that the philanthropic arm of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), has adopted a new three-year strategic plan. The robust plan includes efforts to support the NCRA A to ZTM Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, the advancement of court reporting students and new professionals through scholarships and grants, and the promotion of the forward growth of NCRA members in their profession.

The 2019-2021 NCRF Strategic Plan was developed to support NCRA’s three-year strategic plan, launched this past August, and focuses on three areas of expansion:

I. Improve communication and better articulate value to constituents.

II. Build and operate a sustainable organizational and financial model.

III. Position the profession and Foundation for the future by focusing on being more inclusive and increasing support of educational initiatives.

“NCRF’s Strategic Plan is exciting!” said Keenan, who is also an NCRA past president. “The Trustees and staff invested significant time to create this roadmap for the future of NCRF.  The strategic plan contains realistic goals and the metrics to attain those goals which will carry NCRF forward as we embrace the challenges our profession faces.  It also encompasses the purpose of NCRF to serve as the philanthropic arm of NCRA.  I know I speak for all members of NCRA when I express gratitude for the selflessness of those who give so much to the betterment of both organizations,” added Keenan, a retired official court reporter from Battle Creek, Mich. Communications materials and campaigns, research, and governance policy updates can be found within the details of the plan, in addition to strategies to take funding to new levels.

“As a long-term member of the NCRF Board of Trustees, I am excited that our three-year strategic plan promotes NCRA’s A to Z program to recruit and begin training the next generation of court reporters and captioners,” said Debra Cheyne, a captioner from Sherwood, Ore., who is also Chair of the Foundation’s Angel Gatherers Committee. “We are committed to expanding our long history of awarding scholarships and grants to court reporting students and first-year professionals.”

NCRF Trustee Cathy Phillips, FAPR, RMR, CMRS, a freelance court reporter from Ocala, Fla., added “I am so excited about the direction that NCRF, our Foundation, is headed with this strategic plan. With the concerted effort of everyone helping to put these ideas into place, including staff members Mary Petto, NCRF Deputy Director, April Weiner, Assistant Director for Development, and Foundation Assistant Sharon Davoren, the future of the profession looks bright.”

The full 2019-2021 NCRF Strategic Plan can be found here.

NCRF announces 2018 recipients of the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and Student Intern Scholarship

Megan Baeten

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) has announced that Megan Baeten, a student from Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis., was named recipient of the 2018 Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship. The Foundation also announced that Mackenzie Allen and Tanner Kockler, both students from the Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa, are the recipients of the 2018 Student Intern Scholarships. The recipients are selected by random drawing using a true random statistical tool.

Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

“I have known of the court reporting profession since my senior year in high school and have always wanted to pursue this career. At that time, this program was not offered close to home, so I decided to pursue the administrative assistant career path instead. After working in that field for a number of years, I realized that there was little room for advancement and that it was not challenging enough for me,” said Baeten. “This [scholarship] has given me an extra boost of motivation and confidence I needed while I head into my final semester. It will help me with the cost of schooling for this last semester without the added stress of how I will pay for it. It will also help me with some of the start-up expenses upon graduating, as well as the certification fees.”

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

“Megan is truly deserving of this scholarship. This will be life-changing for her. Megan juggles being a single mom, working full-time, and going to school for court reporting. Yet she always shows up for class ready to go and does quality work,” said Jackie Rupnow, who nominated Baeten. “She is working on her terminal speeds and looks to graduate in May. This will help her finish out her last semester without worrying about finances, which will allow her to concentrate on her classes and practice so she can complete this program.”

Student Intern Scholarships

Tanner Kockler

“I thank NCRF for the awesome support they give students. I plan to apply [this scholarship] toward my remaining classes and testing fees as I get ready to graduate,” said Kockler. “I had briefly heard what court reporting was, and I did not know very much about it when I started the program. The encouragement from other reporters and instructors and associations like NCRA and ICRA make it easy to want to be a part of such a wonderful profession.”

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

Mackenzie Allen

“My aunt was a court reporter for the state of Iowa. I job-shadowed her when I was in high school and was immediately captivated! I always knew I wanted to go into the legal field, and this career was a perfect fit for me,” said Allen. “Receiving this scholarship will help me purchase a new writer, and it will help ease the process of all of the start-up costs.”

NCRF scholarships are funded by generous donations. To learn more about NCRF’s programs, visit NCRA.org/NCRF.

It’s a giving time of the year!  Make a difference!

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Sandy Bunch VanderPol

When you love something, you want to support it all the time, even if it takes a lot of effort and time. This is how I feel about our profession and the National Court Reporters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of NCRA.  As a Trustee on the NCRF, I have the privilege to serve all of you, as members of NCRA. It is indeed a privilege.

As a freelance reporter and an independent contractor, it has always been in my heart to support the profession I so love. I do this by volunteering my time and by supporting the profession with my financial contributions, and I have benefited greatly from doing this. Financial generosity is an important element in the success of any organization that supports the philanthropic efforts of that organization, and your financial support is necessary to the success of the charitable work of the NCRF.

I would ask all of you to please take a moment to consider making a charitable contribution to NCRF. There is no amount too small or too large. Your contribution will be spent wisely in supporting the many programs of NCRF. Make a difference! The feeling of giving – what a feeling it is!

Thank you in advance for your support. I appreciate it. Oh, and I forgot to mention, your contribution is tax deductible. And if you contribute $1,000, you will be an “NCRF Angel,” which can benefit you through networking and a number of public relations and marketing opportunities.

 

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, of Lotus, Calif., is an NCRF Trustee and longtime NCRF Angel. Visit www.bit.ly/NCRFYEA to donate to NCRF to support your profession.

NCRA members honor U.S. veterans with VHP event

Kerry Ward, far right, liaison specialist for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP), reads postcards sent home by U.S. Veteran Don Shearer, who was a German prisoner of war during World War II. Shearer’s wife, Martha, shared his story and artifacts for the Ginger Cove VHP.

Kerry Ward (far right) of the LOC VHP, reads postcards sent home by U.S. Veteran Don Shearer, who was a German prisoner of war during World War II. Shearer’s wife, Martha, shared his story and artifacts.

On Nov. 10, the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), in conjunction with the Library of Congress (LOC), collected the oral histories of 10 U.S. veterans who served in various wars during a Veterans History Project (VHP) event held at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis, Md., in honor of Veterans Day. The stories were from veterans who served during World War I, World War II, and the Cold and Korean wars.

“I was so touched by the stories of our veterans. I had no idea the depth to which they had suffered during the war, and I was so surprised at their willingness and even the need to talk about it,” said Diana Smith, director of resident services at Ginger Cove. “I would definitely undertake this project again in the future. I feel quite blessed to have had this opportunity.”

Michelle Houston, a captioner from Brandywine, Md., transcribes the war stories of U.S. Veteran Patrick O’Keefe, as told to volunteer interviewer Pat Mosunec during the VHP event held at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis, Md.

Michelle Houston, a captioner from Brandywine, Md., transcribes the war stories of U.S. Veteran Patrick O’Keefe, who served in World War II.

Since 2003, members of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) who volunteer their services have worked with NCRF and the LOC to record and transcribe the moving stories of nearly 4,300 U.S. war veterans, building a lasting legacy of the diverse group of men and women who have served our nation during times of war. The interviews are then submitted to the LOC, where they are archived for later use by scholars, students, and future generations.

The interviews have been taken during special VHP days held around the country and hosted by state and local court reporting associations, firms, and individuals. Nationally, NCRF has hosted a number of VHP events that have captured the unique and compelling stories of veterans, including several Purple Heart recipients and from veterans of World War I and those since then. NCRF has also hosted three Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project events that used volunteer captioners to enable veterans with varying degrees of hearing loss to be interviewed so their experiences could be chronicled. The Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project was supported by a grant from the American Society of Association Executives.

At the Ginger Cove event, the stories of the following veterans were collected:

  • James Andreatta – Cold War
  • Frances Bombara – WWI (shared by his daughter)
  • Sam Gustaves – WWII
  • John Henderson – WWII
  • Paul Herring – WWII
  • John Kenny – WWII
  • John Kuebelbeck – WWI
  • Patrick O’Keefe – WWII
  • Don Shearer – WWII and German prisoner of war (with an additional WWI collection donated by his niece)
  • Mary Jo Sherron – Korean War (interviewed by her daughter)
NCRA Board of Director member Steve Clark, a captioner from Washington, D.C., captures the story of U.S. Veteran John Henderson, who served in WWII. Ginger Cove resident Nick Mosunec is the volunteer interviewer.

NCRA Board of Director member Steve Clark, a captioner from Washington, D.C., captures the story of U.S. Veteran John Henderson, who served in World War II.

Kerry Ward, liaison specialist with the LOC VHP, interviewed Martha Shearer, the wife of Don Shearer who served in WWII and was a German POW. Mrs. Shearer spoke on behalf of her husband who was also in attendance but suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Ward was clearly moved by the many photos and letters shared by the Shearers, especially reading the postcards sent by Don from the German prison camp where he was held to his mother back home. Ward noted that these were especially valuable to be included in the VHP archive collection.

Ginger Cove resident Tess Zarba, who is 92 years old, shared her father’s story of service in WWI with interviewer JoAnne Luciano. “It was really interesting to hear about what service was like for our soldiers back then and to see the photos and letters and other items Tess shared with me about her father’s service to our country. I learned so much,” noted Luciano.

NCRA members who volunteered to transcribe the oral histories at the event included:

  • NCRA Director Steve Clark, CRC, a captioner from Washington, D.C.
  • Cindy Davis, RPR, an official court reporter from Annapolis, Md.
  • Bev Early, a captioner from Washington, D.C.
  • Tonia Harris, RPR, an official court reporter from Washington, D.C.
  • Michelle Houston, RPR, a captioner from Brandywine, Md.
  • Julia LaCava, RPR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter and captioner from Alexandria, Va.
  • Linda Lindsey, a freelance court reporter from Preston, Md.
  • Maellen Pittman, RDR, CRI, CLVS, a CART captioner from Baltimore, Md.
  • Christine Slezosky, RPR, CRC, a CART captioner from Chambersburg, Pa.
Cindy Davis, an official court reporter from Annapolis, Md., transcribes volunteer Martha Wooldridge’s interview with U.S. Veteran John Kenny, who served in World War II, during the recent NCRF and Library of Congress Veterans History Project event held at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis.

Cindy Davis, an official court reporter from Annapolis, Md., transcribes an interview with U.S. Veteran John Kenny, who served in World War II.

“I am inspired by the veterans themselves. I have an uncle that landed on Omaha Beach. Unfortunately, he never talked about it, and I never got a chance to ask him if he’d be willing to share his story for this project,” said Davis, who transcribed the interview of WWII veteran John Kenny. “This time the event was held at Ginger Cove Retirement Community right in my own backyard. How could I say no?”

Davis, who has transcribed previous interviews from recordings for the VHP said that she would encourage all court reporters and captioners to participate in a VHP event because their stories are fascinating and important to preserve.

Volunteer interviewer JoAnne Luciano talks with U.S. Veteran James Andreatta, who served during the Cold War, as Christine Slezosky, a captioner from Chambersburg, Pa., transcribes his story, during a VHP event held at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis, Md.

An interview with U.S. Veteran James Andreatta, who served during the Cold War, was transcribed by Christine Slezosky, a captioner from Chambersburg, Pa.

“Every day we lose more of our veterans. Who better to record their stories than a court reporter? The most gratifying part is just knowing I contributed,” she added.

“These stories need to be told and listened to, especially by the next generation,” said Martha Wooldridge, who conducted the interview with Kenny. “These veterans won’t be around very long to share their experiences and I think it was important for all to hear them and to pass them on.”

Learn more about NCRF and the Veterans History Project.

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.

 

Veterans History Project, stenographers work to collect stories

Radio station WTOP in Washington, D.C., posted an article about NCRA’s and NCRF’s involvement with the Veterans History Project program.

Read more.

Listen to radio story.

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.

 

NCRA member helping veterans preserve their stories

The Daily Item posted an article on Oct. 26 about NCRA member Colleen Wentz, RMR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from Middleburg, Pa., who is helping local veterans record, in their own words, their military experiences as part of the Veterans History Project.

Read more.

NCRA member participates in local VHP project

On Oct. 18, Riverbend.com reported that NCRA member Jill Layton, RMR, an official court reporter from Toledo, Ill., represented the Illinois Court Reporters Association at a recent VHP event hosted by the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Read more.

NCRF receives $25,000 grant to support VHP

Marcia Ferranto and Judge Michael Cicconetti

On Sept. 20, the Hon. Michael Cicconetti of the Painesville Municipal Court, Painesville, Ohio, presented NCRA CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto with a $25,000 check in support of the National Court Reporters Foundation’s (NCRF) Veterans History Project efforts during a visit to the Association’s Reston, Va., headquarters.

The grant was generated from money remaining from a class action suit. Funds that go unclaimed in such suits are typically placed in a trust fund by the legal firm representing the plaintiffs. Once the funds have been disbursed, any remaining money is either distributed as grants to nonprofit and charity organizations, or in some cases, returned to the defendants.

“The work that NCRF and the members of NCRA do to help ensure the valuable stories of our war heroes are preserved for generations to come through the Library of Congress Veterans History Project is priceless,” said Cicconetti, who is a past NCRF Trustee and longtime supporter of the court reporting and captioning professions. Cicconetti suggested that the Foundation apply for the grant.

“This grant will go far in helping these committed volunteers to continue to be able to capture these important historical stories for our children and their children to read and better understand and appreciate the many sacrifices those who serve in our military forces make to keep this nation safe and free,” added Cicconetti, who has been recognized nationally and internationally for his creative sentencing strategies.

“It is an honor to have Judge Cicconetti as such a good friend and supporter of the Foundation and its programs and of the court reporting and captioning professions. He understands how important the human factor in these professions is to ensuring an accurate record is made and in the benefits these stenographic skills can provide to the Deaf and hard of hearing,” said NCRF Deputy Executive Director B.J. Shorak.

Since 2003, NCRA members who volunteer their services have worked with NCRF and the Library of Congress to record and transcribe the moving stories of nearly 4,300 U.S. war veterans, building a lasting legacy of the diverse group of men and women who have served our nation during wartime. The interviews are then submitted to the Library of Congress, where they are archived for later use by scholars, students, and future generations.

The interviews have been taken during special VHP days held around the country and hosted by state and local court reporting associations, firms, and individuals. Nationally, NCRF has hosted a number of VHP events as well that have captured the unique and telling stories of veterans from World War II forward, as well as Purple Heart recipients. NCRF has also hosted three Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project events, supported by a grant from the American Society of Association Executives, that used volunteer captioners to enable veterans with varying degrees of hearing loss to be interviewed so their experiences could be chronicled.

“The VHP allows us to highlight a way that we can give back to society as court reporters and captioners by helping to preserve history,” said NCRA Executive Director and CEO Marcia Ferranto. “It also allows us to build a greater awareness of the important work and skills of court reporters and captioners around the country.”

The Foundation will host a VHP event at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community located in Annapolis, Md., near the U.S. Naval Academy, on Sat., Nov. 10. For more information or to volunteer to participate, contact Sharon Davoren, Foundation Assistant, at sdavoren@ncra.org. NCRA members who volunteer for VHP events can earn Professional Development Credits.