Cynthia Hammer, MSW was the founder of ADD Resources. Beginning as a single support group for adults in Tacoma, Washington in 1993, it grew to a national organization by offering educational events, building a strong web presence and providing valuable connections within the ADHD community. Ms. Hammer first led efforts to incorporate as the non-profit ADDult Support of Washington in 1994 and served as their Board President for 8 years. In 2002, they joined with the Seattle Adult support group, re-organized as Attention Deficit Disorder Resources, and expanded their focus to include parents and children. Cynthia became the Executive Director of ADD Resources until she retired at the end of 2007.
Cynthia had a knack for inspiring others to give of their time and talents as freely as she did herself. She built the organization one person at a time, finding speakers and authors, collecting volunteers and creating alliances that allowed a very small group of people to accomplish much with very little money. Until ADD resources opened its office in 2002, she shouldered the day to day tasks and relied on the Board of Directors and a solid core of committed volunteers for larger efforts. Later, the Executive Director would have at least one part-time staff member, an intern, or volunteer to help keep up with the many daily and larger responsibilities of keeping the organization functioning well. This may help you remember those who have served as the Directors and staff since 2002.
At different times during the last twenty years, I’ve been a group member, served on the Board of Directors, and worked an employee under Cynthia, and as a volunteer when Kathy Engle was the Director. I wrote an article for the new Director Meg McDonald in 2014 about the history, work and many of the people involved in ADD Resources over the years. I called it 20 Years a Fan.
Here’s the official ADD Resources Mission, Vision and History statement from 2010.
Every event was a new opportunity to build awareness and confidence. These were great times, getting together with others who understood and had ideas that could change lives. Support groups were always free. Many people formed friendships that provided emotional support and validation that continue till today. In addition, ADD Resources sponsored a number of special events each year that attracted a wider audience. Here are the names and attendance numbers of ADD Resources’ Public Talks, Workshops, and Conferences from 1995 – 2011.
An array of knowledgeable physicians, therapists, coaches and professional organizers have shared their expertise with ADHD concerns over the years, covering a wide variety of topics suitable for both adults and parents. Many contributed articles for the Adult ADD Reader in 1993 that are still pertinent today. We had a great collection of reputable and interesting material that helped make our website such a great resource. We were also lucky to have a number of local professionals willing to present for support groups, at conferences and later for the bi-monthly Webinars. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Here are just a few of the many professionals who helped to provide such a wide breadth of material for us to offer.
We did host a final Conference with David Nowell, PhD, and author Gina Pera presented at a Workshop for Adults in 2012. We also managed a Couples Seminar with Rick and Ava Green from Totally ADD! in 2013, but the days of being able to attract a crowd to in-person events were over. We had already been turning to the internet as a means of providing education. Beginning in 2006, we began offering free Webinars and built an extensive library of podcasts available to members. By 2012, there were over 100 titles to choose from. For many, recordings were the most convenient way to acquire this knowledge.
Funding the organization, however, remained a problem which the Board and Director Meagan McDonald were unable to overcome. The office closed in the Fall of 2015. Despite their best efforts, the time had come to close down the organization. Thanks to all the Board Members – Past and Present who worked diligently to keep the doors open for so long.
After hearing about the closure of ADD Resources, I created a Pinterest Board using the Way Back Machine to document the people and work of the organization. Well done everyone! Working together, you’ve made a difference in the lives of many.
Note: While contacting people about this page I found out about the passing a great friend to ADD Resources, Nancie Payne. Nancie specialized in accommodations for the workplace. We could always depend on her to present at a local group, for a workshop or a conference. Nancie earned our Cynthia Hammer Award in 2010 and served as the Board President for Learning Disabilities of America since 2014. Please see Understood Mourns the Loss of LDA President Nancie Payne.
Joan Riley Jager – If you’d like to leave a personal message, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.