A self-described Jill-of-all-trades, Leslie Raulie began her career as a speech therapist, helping students overcome an assortment of learning challenges. But after working in public schools for years, she decided she wanted to specialize and have a greater impact.
When Leslie came across a job opening at Ohio Valley Voices, she jumped at the opportunity. She was excited to learn more about deaf education and listening and spoken language therapy in particular.
“Once I started working with the families and kids I knew it was a special place,” Leslie says. “The atmosphere was infectious. It was amazing to be a part of something that would be so impactful in the lives of these children, to be a part of their story.”
Leslie grew up just outside of Toledo. She studied as an undergraduate at Miami University before attending Ohio University to earn her master’s in Speech Language Pathology. Following graduation, she moved back to northwest Ohio to begin her stint in public schools.
Now married, Leslie enjoys gardening, swimming, and boating with her husband Jeff and their two-and-half-year-old son Levi. Last summer, the Raulies released six monarch butterflies into the wild after caring for them as caterpillars for several weeks. They also get endless entertainment out of their “funny yet high maintenance” miniature dachshund, Lucy.
Leslie’s OVV journey began in August 2015 when she joined the organization as a Listening and Spoken Language Provider (LSLP) in the Toddler Program. At the same time, she began training to become a Parent-Infant advisor under the guidance and mentorship of OVV’s Associate Director, Molly Weber.
It was during this period that Leslie grew to understand the extraordinary impact that Ohio Valley has on children. “Working with the infants and toddlers and training under Molly really opened my eyes to the incredible journey our students and families take,” she says.
Starting in 2020, Leslie assumed the role of Family Center Coordinator, a position she holds to this day. As coordinator, she handles a whole host of responsibilities, which include observing the Toddler Program staff, leading meetings, creating schedules, reviewing the progress of the children, and collaborating with outside agencies like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Ohio Early Intervention.
Perhaps most importantly, she also works closely with families to ensure each child’s success in the program and support language acquisition at home. She explains:
“With our families, I guide them through their time in the Toddler Program, attend meetings with them and their Early Intervention team, and help them navigate their Listening and Spoken Language journey.”
For Leslie, playing this hands-on role has proved to be the single most rewarding aspect of working at OVV. She loves forming an intimate bond with each family and building an individualized learning plan based on their child’s specific needs. And she loves watching the children learn and grow—week by week, word by word—as they progress through the program.
Life at Ohio Valley Voices isn’t all about hard work, though; there’s plenty of fun to be had too. Leslie is especially fond of events like homecoming, the Christmas concert, and the annual graduation ceremony that give OVV’s children and families a chance to celebrate their accomplishments.
Reflecting on her time at the organization, Leslie says that it’s precisely this sense of community—the web of mutual love and support that connects its various members—that makes OVV unique among deaf education programs and accounts for the remarkable success of its graduates.
“It’s a second family,” Leslie says. “I’ve met some of the best people and friends at Ohio Valley Voices. I still keep in touch with families that have since moved on from OVV. Having that connection with so many special people makes it an amazing place.”