Access Update: Summer 2017
A Year of Blasting Barriers

Thank you! When Access Debate was incorporated in 2013 to make national-circuit debate accessible to debaters of limited means, I never dreamed how much we would accomplish in just our first year. In the 2016-17 season, your donations and the work of dozens of committed volunteers enabled us to grow from providing two scholarships to funding thirty-nine students in nine states. Most important, each worked one-on-one with a nationally-recognized coach who provided education, emotional support, and strategic advice during tournaments, often in person.
For the Access Debaters, this was the first coaching they ever had. Carly Hughes, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is her school’s first and only debater. At last, a grateful Carly told me, she’s “found her team” among fellow Access strivers. Despite financial burdens and family illness, Carly was determined to pursue this activity she loves. With help from Access, she signed up after her first outing this year for as many tournaments as she could, ultimately attending nine.
Access Debate has helped students attend local tournaments, school-break mini-institutes, and out-of-state competitions, as well. (At least one flew for the first time on tickets provided by Access.) And covering even the ultimate debate “distance,” we proudly cheered on a few weeks ago as a several Access Debaters made it all the way to the prestigious Tournament of Champions nationals in Lexington, Kentucky — a dream for every debater!
Access is already enrolling more students for next year, with six new registrants just last week. I had the pleasure of speaking with each about his or her summer plans and aspirations. One said in an email after, “I cannot wait to see what will happen in the future.”
Will you help? In 2015-16, Access will continue supporting current students (only two of whom are graduating this year), while adding new students students already qualifying for assistance. (Access evaluates candidates based on personal statements and financial verifications.) Volunteer coaches will start working with students in June, but we also need to assure our enlarged student pool that we can get them to the competition they hunger for. To help us do that, will you make your first gift today or repeat or perhaps top a generous prior gift? With $20,000 by August, I can guarantee every Access student at least two tournaments this year. With your help, we won’t have to turn them away.

Another way to give is with miles: Most Access expenditures are for travel, so your gift of frequent flier miles (on any airline) helps our debaters get places and reserves funds for their other needs. You can find out how to donate here.

If you seek a more personal way to give, consider Sponsoring a Debater individually. I will gladly suggest a “match” for you based on your interests (email me), or you can meet the students online: In coming weeks, we will be posting recorded Student Interviews on our Facebook page. You decide how much to give: $400 will guarantee the student 2 national tournaments for next year.Maybe you will be inspired to choose a beneficiary and follow her or his season!

We also look forward to introducing you soon to our caring and talented staff. All volunteers, of course! (Access overhead is close to zero — that’s $0; just about every dollar we collect goes directly into Circuit debate.) Follow our Facebook page and visit our website to learn more.
Everyone who cares for our students — their parents, teachers, school coaches if they have them, and Access volunteers — sees that the biggest gift Access and debate can give is confidence. No matter where they come from, Access Debate students know that “they are not forgotten,” the math teacher of one student wrote me. They may contend with abuse, discrimination, and financial uncertainty, but as a debater, and an Access Debater, they know their education and future can be their own.

Thank you for supporting this mission, and I hope your 2015 summer is joyous.

With gratitude,

Daisy Massey
Founder and President

p.s. Email me any time about Access Debate. We rely on — and deeply appreciate — your interest!