Drew Frank turns dyslexia diagnosis into a win-win PDF Print E-mail
By Drew Frank   
Friday, 10 May 2013 19:47
Student with learning differences raises money,
awareness for program that helped him
Student with learning differences raises money,awareness for program that helped him

Jennifer Dougherty, regional project director, Northeast region, Learning Ally,                                                presents an award to Drew Frank on April 26.  /Harley and Donna FrankJennifer Dougherty, regional project director, Northeast region, Learning Ally, presents an award to Drew Frank on April 26. /Harley and Donna FrankEDITOR’S NOTE: Drew Frank, a son of Harley and Donna Frank of Providence, earned an award from Learning Ally, an audiobooks program ( Drew was recognized on Friday, April 26, for his work in promoting the benefits of and fundraising for the nonprofit organization. He raised more than $400 to donate to

Although he gave an acceptance speech when he earned his award, we have chosen to reprint his bar mitzvah speech of Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012,  below. 

Shalom, my parashah is Va-Yishlah. It talks about the very different twins Jacob and Esau. Jacob is a smart boy going to school. He is more “book smart.” On the other hand, Esau is an outdoorsman, working in the fields, farming. Because of their differences, Jacob convinces his father that he is more worthy of leading the family. Esau got mad so they go their separate ways.

Just like with Jacob and Esau, each person in a family today has strengths and weaknesses. Instead of using those strengths against each other like Jacob did at first, or like I do when I … annoy my sister Adrienne … it is better to use them to help each other.

Jacob and Esau had a lot of differences that led them to not speak to each other for the majority of their life. I know we all have days that we don’t want to talk to [my brother] Ross for at least a little, but I just can’t imagine not speaking to him for a majority of my life. That’s just too long!

In the end, they overcame their differences. By the end of Va-Yishlah, Jacob and Esau have a Disney-like ending – riding into the sunset together as brothers should.

Jacob and Esau’s differences were by choice. But that’s enough about their differences. I would like to talk to you about something that makes me different, but not by choice. As some of you may know, I have dyslexia. I didn’t choose to be born this way. It’s who I am and it’s a difference that I will always have to overcome. Unlike Jacob and Esau, I didn’t choose when it started and I can’t choose when it stops.

For my mitzvah project, I promoted Learning Ally, a program that records books on tape to help people with learning differences and visual impairments improve their reading comprehension and fluency. I have used this program with novels and textbooks so I know how much it helps me. This program helped me so much that I decided to help other people learn about this fantastic program. Since some of the Learning Ally programs are hard to learn to use, my project is also to tutor people one-on-one to learn to use it. This is a win-win situation. Others got introduced to software that can make their life more enjoyable and I proudly was the one to introduce it to them.

Like Jacob and Esau, I’m going to overcome my differences. I, too, will be riding off into the sunset some day. It will be a challenge to get through; like them, I know that in the end, I will always have my family to support me.



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