Youth Development

Friends: The National Association of Young People Who Stutter

If you stutter, you have FRIENDS.

aka Friends

Berthoud, CO


Friends is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing support, education, and a sense of empowerment for young people who stutter and their families. Our vision is to help build a world in which all young people who stutter feel empowered to communicate whenever, wherever, and however they want to.

Ruling Year


Executive Director, Co-Founder

Lee Caggiano

Main Address

23429 County Rd 1

Berthoud, CO 80513 USA


stutter, stuttering, support, parent education, youth





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

(Youth Centers, Clubs, (includes Boys/Girls Clubs)- Multipurpose) (O20)

Family Services (P40)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (O01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

One out of every 100 people stutter. That’s over 3 million people in America, which means there are still millions of underserved children and families. For each child, stuttering can have far-reaching effects on academic success, social interactions, and career choices. Children who stutter are more likely to experience bullying than children who do not. While the physical struggle to speak is occurring at the surface, a child is often feeling an array of fears – fear of being mocked, fear of rejection, and fear of being mistaken as intellectually inadequate. Stuttering impacts the child in every moment of social contact – whether speaking to a classmate, making new friends, participating in class, ordering food at a restaurant, or answering the phone. In adolescent years, doubts about potential careers arise and teenagers who stutter start to feel limited in the professions they can pursue.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

One-Day Conferences

Annual Convention

Stepping Up

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Friends works to instill a sense of empowerment, provide an environment where feelings of isolation disappear, and to grow confidence and self-esteem in young people who stutter. In order to reduce the adverse impact that stuttering can have on a child’s life, our efforts are aimed at providing the life-changing environment where confidence and self-esteem are fostered. We seek to reach more children who stutter and their families, improve quality and continuity of support, and offer diversified avenues for support.

Our programs provide young people with the skills they need to advocate for themselves, become empowered, and learn to live well with their stuttering. Friends gives children the opportunity to meet other children who stutter, and see they are not alone, while also meeting adult role models who stutter. The safe and accepting environment at Friends helps to make these relationships possible. Friends offers the “Stepping Up” program and a leadership training program, allowing teens to mentor younger children who stutter, as well as take leadership roles at conventions. Because we understand that attending our events is not always affordable, Friends runs a scholarship program that offers financial support to reduce the cost of registration, hotel, and travel. Friends also provides invaluable education for speech-language pathologists and graduate students. Friends is the only nonprofit stuttering organization that offers a free, structured program for graduate students. Speech-language pathology students are given the opportunity to learn from stuttering experts and get an unparalleled experience working with children who stutter.

Friends has been a predominantly volunteer organization, receiving generous in-kind support from speech-language pathologists, adults who stutter, and parents of children who stutter – all volunteering their time to organize conventions, facilitate workshops, and serve as mentors to children. One testament to the importance of our work is the continued support we receive from the stuttering professional community, who volunteer their time and expertise year after year. For many professionals, seeing the growth in young people who stutter is what brings them back each year. Our Board of Directors consists of some of the brightest and most dedicated leaders in the stuttering community. They put their minds together to generate new ways of reaching more children and families in order to show them that they are not alone. Our team has a deep dedication to our mission, and a phenomenal skill set that continues to grow Friends beyond expectations.

Friends is able to monitor progress year after year through observation of the following indicators: - Number of families and individuals receiving scholarships to attend conventions - Number of participants attending one-day conferences and annual conventions - Number of one-day conferences held annually, and consistency of locations year to year - Detailed testimonials from families attending Friends programs Additionally, Friends has participated in an academic study through joint efforts with university researchers looking at efficacy of support organizations. We continue to cultivate relationships with universities in order to measure impact and support stuttering research.

Over the past 20 years, Friends has touched the lives of thousands of young people and their families. We have increased the number of regional one-day conferences, as we continue fulfilling our mission of reaching more and more young people who stutter and their families. In addition to our annual conventions, Friends organized 11 one-day conferences in 2018, all across the United States. In 2018 alone, over 700 people were supported by Friends through local and national programs, an increase of more than a hundred since 2017. Through academic research, our young people showed the following outcomes: - Children and teenagers built strong relationships and a sense of community in a safe environment. - Collaborative learning facilitated personal growth. - Hearing and sharing personal stories increased self-acceptance and acceptance of others. - Communicative and cognitive changes persisted beyond the Friends annual convention. - Living with stuttering can be hard, but the convention helped normalize stuttering. Real life changes witnessed at Friends include: - Feeling more confident about introducing themselves to a new person - Ordering food at a restaurant, without a parent or friend ordering for them - Finding the strength to ask someone on a date without being stopped by fear of ridicule - Running for student office while bravely and proudly telling their class that they stutter - Learning that stuttering does not need to define the course of their lives Friends will continue to build and develop programs, reaching out to those who are still feeling very alone and isolated. We plan to provide more continuous support by increasing the number of one day conferences, broadening locations of one-day conferences, and repeating our presence in certain cities. We will increase public awareness about stuttering and reach out to children who stutter in various school districts by developing and implementing an anti-stigma, stuttering awareness program.

External Reviews



Friends: The National Association of Young People Who Stutter

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  • Address, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?