"..won’t satisfy everyone’s tastes and wants. It is too small to do that and too smart to try." Boston Globe

Imagine Helen Keller with an iPhone!

Helen Keller.  Anne Sullivan.  Braille classes.   Before today, that’s pretty much all that I knew about the Perkins School for the Blind.

Over a delicious lunch at Upstairs on the Square (thanks to Susan Regis and Mary-Catherine Deibel!), I joined several people for a discussion with Steven Rothstein, the president of the school.  Based in Watertown, MA just three miles from Hotel Veritas, the Perkins School educates hundreds of students on their historic 38-acre campus overlooking the Charles River.  Although the organization is 183 years old, Steven said they are “just getting started.”  The incredible advances in technology have changed everything for people who are blind or deafblind.  Perkins offers a Braille & Talking Book Library, which provides free services to Massachusetts residents of any age who are unable to read traditional print materials due to a visual or physical disability.

Global Impact

By working with parents, government officials, and educators, Perkins is able to provide training and assistance in more than 60 countries.

Some of their successes:

  • 20,000 children who are deafblind or blind with additional disabilities receive educational services
  • 52,000 family members receive support
  • 13,400 teachers and administrators are professionally prepared
  • 100 parent groups and advocacy coalitions collaborate to improve educational services
  • Successful university teacher training programs are established in 17 locations
  • 200 international leaders trained in the Educational Leadership Program at Perkins now serve as regional resource persons
  • More than 190 leaders from Africa and the Caribbean trained through the Institutional Development Program—these leaders manage organizations serving nearly 17,000 people who are blind
  • Over 300,000 Perkins Braillers® benefit people who are blind in 170 countries
  • Professional literature and education publications have been produced in 21 languages
  • In 27 countries, government polices or practices changed in relation to the education of children with multiple disabilities
  • Over 200,000 children, family members, teachers, and professionals have directly benefited from program activities
  • The teachers and professionals trained in the program are projected to serve 1.8 million people over the next 20 years
Community Programs

Perkins offers many services for people of all ages who are visually impaired as well as for vision professionals, classroom teachers, care providers for individuals 55 and older, medical professionals and family members.

  • Special classes and programs offered on and off our campus
  • Services provided by our Braille & Talking Book Library and Low Vision Clinic
  • In-home outreach efforts for infants
  • Outreach to students and teachers in public and private schools
Needless to say, the lunch “opened my eyes” to the incredible work of the Perkins School for the Blind and I look forward to finding new ways to support them.  (Steven used the “opened my eyes” line, so I’m using it, too.)
Posted by Benson Willis, General Manager of Hotel Veritas

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