Identifying My Voice

I love to listen to NPR in my car when I am toodling around town. My zippy little car and I get a lot done that way, and it feels nice to feel like you’re having an in-depth intellectual discussion while you’re driving…except the radio is doing the talking and I’m doing a diluted form of active-listening which includes exclamations of “Oh wow!” or actually laughing out loud.

One influential story was that of Rupal Patel and her project VOCALiD: I was so impressed! VOCALiD is an online crowd fund of a completely different kind of funding. Instead of donating money, you donate your time and voice to invest in a ‘bank’. The reason you are doing this is to help those who don’t have a voice due to birth defects or developed disabilities.

I assure you I drove carefully, but I really couldn’t wait to get home to test this out.

Do you remember the motorized voice Stephen Hawking has? While many of us have identified that voice with him, I am quite certain he would have loved to have heard his own voice again – or something close enough to it that didn’t sound like a StarWars character. I also know that doesn’t sound like a little girl who might also have a similar condition. Rupal mentions this in the TedTalks YouTube I attached above.

The beauty of VOCALiD is that it helps combine the limited sounds of the person requiring help to that of a fully functioning person of a similar size/shape/sex. The whole process takes about 4 hours, but you can set your own pace and break it up over the course of time. You won’t be saying everything the person needs you to say – just creating the sounds needed so that they can construct their own sentences.

How cool is that? Free to do from the privacy of your own home, costs you nothing, you don’t have to strong-arm all of your friends into dropping buckets of ice water on their head (PS naysayers, I really didn’t have the $100 and I did engage in one COLD bath for the sake of doing it. That video has been destroyed), or sell a product where $0.10 goes ‘to the cause’.

I’m about 30 sentences in, and I find it’s great to do when I have ten minutes at the end of my day to “add to my bank”. It feels good that by just taking 10 minutes of my time my VOICE is actually doing something for someone else. Just by talking.


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