|Left: Anita "Scartcis" Blom (photo credit: Blom); |
right: Hanan Hurwitz (photo credit: Hurwitz)
Blom works as the operations manager at the Workers' Educational Association and has stuttered since she was nine years old. She was 27 years old when she first met another person who stutters. "From that moment on, I no longer let stuttering control my life, but to take charge of myself," Blom explains. "I got rid of a huge backpack with bullying, guilt and shame, and became active on local, national and international boards." As she says, she recycled "all that luggage to support other people who stutter, and to give stuttering a face and passionate voice with young people being closest to my heart."
She heard about Stutter Social through the grapevine on social media and wanted to get involved. "I love to be where people who stutter meet, most of all at international gatherings," she says. "This was the perfect opportunity to meet people from all over the world, but this time in my very own living room."
When hosting Stutter Social hangouts, Blom says she hopes to "talk about stuttering and therapy, but also about cultures, experiences, fears and joys, as we need not to forget how to enjoy life with stuttering and all. I hope to bring people together, share stories, learn from and support each other."
When not hosting Stutter Social, Blom can be seen either working or engaged in one of her many stuttering-related endeavours. She is the international contact and former chairperson of the Swedish Stuttering Association, vice-chair of the European League of Stuttering Associations, and member of the advisory board of the International Stuttering Association. "But I try to find time for my family, my dog, my saxophone, my books and social media," she adds.
And in case you're wondering, her nickname, "Scatsis," is dedicated to the late Scatman John of the 1995 hit "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)."
Meanwhile, Hurwitz is a product and account manger at an electronics manufacturing company, and has also stuttered since his childhood. "I am at a point in my stuttering journey where I can give back to the stuttering community and try to support other PWS [people who stutter]," he says. After hearing about Stutter Social from his friends at the National Stuttering Association, he became inspired to become a host.
In terms of what he looks forward to about hosting, he says it's the opportunity to "enable other PWS to feel that we are not alone and that we can survive in spite of our disability."
When not working or hosting Stutter Social, Hurwitz enjoys reading, playing his Fender Stratocaster guitar, and meeting PWS worldwide. "I [also] am interested in business and engineering, and mentoring start-up or small companies in order to build organizational excellence into the company from the start," he adds.
Blom and Hurwitz will be hosting Wednesday's international hangout at 2pm Eastern Standard Time/8pm Central European Time. Starting an hour earlier than the previous Wednesday hangouts, they are taking over from Kenyatta Butler and Krishna Srinivasan, who are stepping down temporarily to pursue new educational and professional endeavors. While we're sad to see them ago, we wish them the best of luck, and we're excited to have Blom and Hurwitz on the Stutter Social team.