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How You Can Help!

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Into Action

How You Can Help
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You Can Help People With Disabilities!

Get to know someone who is disabled and learn how to help. Here are some ways ZOOMers like you are volunteering:

  • Kira and her mom of Massachusetts help a woman who is partially blind run errands twice a month. 
  • Jackson, Eamon, and Dylan of California raise puppies that go to training school to become guide dogs. Guide dogs help people who are blind get around and do things, like crossing busy streets.

More inZpiration!

  • Volunteer to help at a Special Olympics event. 
  • Raise money in a walk-a-thon, a read-a-thon, or a hop-a-thon. Then give the money to a place that helps people who are disabled. 
  • Be a shopping buddy for someone who is in a wheelchair. 
  • Invite a friend who is blind to go to a movie that is described for blind people.

Project Spotlight:
Texture Cards

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Kids who are blind use their hands to read and "see" the world around them. A teacher uses texture cards to help kids recognize different textures and objects. A texture card has a piece of material or an object glued to it. Kids can feel a card to learn about the material or object. Once they get familiar with how the textures and objects feel, kids can use the cards to play a matching game.

Here's how you can make texture cards:

  1. Find a school for the blind in your area. Ask an adult to help you. You can visit the American Foundation for the Blind and click on "Directory of Services." Then search under "Education" and the name of your state. Or, you can call them at 1-800-232-5463 and ask for the name of a school near you. 
  2. Ask an adult to help you call the school. Ask to talk with the Program Director or a teacher who works with children. Explain that you would like to make texture cards. Ask lots of questions, like: Do the children use texture cards? How many texture cards would they like? Are there any special instructions you should know before you make the cards? Where do you deliver the cards? 
  3. Collect your materials. You will need:
    • scraps of material that feel interesting (like, velvet, corduroy, bubble wrap, fake fur)
    • small objects that feel interesting (like, seashells, buttons, yarn, sticks)
    • cardboard (the back of a notepaper pad works well)
    • scissors
    • glue 
  4. Make the cards. Cut the cardboard to make cards that are about 4" x 5". Glue one scrap of material or one object to each card. 
  5. Make a matching game. Make two of each kind of card. Then the kids can play a matching game by feeling one card and trying to find the card that matches it. Close your eyes and try it yourself! 
  6. Deliver the texture cards. If possible, arrange a visit to the class that is using your cards. 
  7. Think about it:
    • Who did your project help?
    • What did you see and hear during the project?
    • How did this project make you feel?
    • What did you learn that you did not know before?
    • What new questions or ideas do you have?
    • Is there anything you would do differently the next time? 
  8. Celebrate! Thank everyone who helped you. And remember to log your hours and share your story! 
  9. Keep helping. Find out if you can share an audiotape with the children. Record your favorite book or song. Find out if you can become a tape-recorder-pal with a student. Make a tape in which you introduce yourself, talk about your hobbies, and ask questions. Then mail it to your pal. You and your pal can exchange recorded messages.

Find Out More

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National Federation for the Blind
Get answers to questions about blindness.

Learn about deafness, blindness, and organizations that help people with disabilities.


Be Good to Eddie Lee
By Virginia Fleming

Christie learns about friendship from Eddie Lee, her neighbor who has Down's syndrome.

How It Feels to Live with a Physical Disability
By Jill Krementz
Simon & Schuster

Children, ages six to sixteen, explain what it is like to have a variety of disabilities.

Our Teacher Is in a Wheelchair
By Mary Ellen Powers
Albert Whitman

This book, with photos, tells the story about how a teacher in a wheelchair gets along with his students.

Rugby & Rosie
By Nan Parson Rossiter

Follow the adventures of the dog Rugby, the boy who owns him, and Rosie, a puppy being trained as a guide dog.

Seeing Things My Way
By Alden Carter
Albert Whitman

Second grader Amanda, who is visually impaired, enjoys school, sports, dancing, and spending time with her friends.


Call your Volunteer Center. This is a place that can help you find volunteer projects. To find a Volunteer Center near you, visit this Web site or call 1-800-VOLUNTEER. Then ask an adult to help you call. Tell them your age and ask if there are ways that you can help people with disabilities.

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