A TOUCH OF UNDERSTANDING INC

Rating: 4.98 stars   43 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Disabilities, Education, Health

Location: 5280 Stirling Street Suite 102 Granite Bay CA 95746 USA

Mission: A Touch of Understanding''s mission is to encourage acceptance and respect for all individuals. Our educational programs are designed to increase understanding of differences, thereby minimizing discrimination and social isolation suffered by children and adults who are perceived as different for any reason, but especially those with disabilties.
Target demographics: students and adults
Direct beneficiaries per year: over 6000 students
Geographic areas served: the Sacramento area
Programs: disability awareness workshops. A Touch of Understanding provides approximately 100 presentations each school year to students in the Greater Sacramento, California area. Each student participates in the two-part program. In one part the students handle braces and artificial limbs and write in Braille, using a slate and stylus.  They use wheelchairs and white mobility canes. They complete tasks using a mirror and headphones to understand the challenges of learning disabilities and autism. The second part includes volunteer speakers who share their experiences and insight with the students. These two parts complement one another by giving students experience with the assistive devices used by people with disabilities as well as the opportunity to meet individuals who uses these tools each day.

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review

See How 3Hrs Can Help

Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

Excellent disabilities awareness organization! I am a congenital disabled person that is a powerchair user. Was bullied/teased through my public school career. I am also a parent of a congenital disabled adult child. Wish there was such an organization when I was in public school!

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been disabled my whole life. Being stared at and teased that entire time. I am a volunteer with ATOU. When we go to schools with our program we actually and literally change lives. If I can stop one child from being teased, stared at or bullied-that makes my day and changes lives, and we change lives at EVERY school where we take ATOU. Do we reach every child who participates, nope....but changing one life is awesome, changing more than that is incredible....

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer with ATOU for about a year and a half. I was referred to ATOU by a trusted friend. It took me about 10 minutes to realize I belonged in ATOU. I have been disabled my whole life and was teased when I was young and judged my whole life. If I can stop one person from being teased or judged it makes my day. At EVERY school I go to, we stop kids from being teased or bullied. It makes my day. The ATOU family is the most caring, non-judgemental group anywhere.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

ATOU is a terrific organization with compassionate, positive leaders and volunteers making a profound difference in the lives of children with and without disabilities. The in-school workshop awakens an awareness in students of the challenges presented by disabilities, and teaches them to respect and befriend classmates with disabilities, rather than bully them. The ATOU Youth F.O.R.C.E., an inclusive and empowering youth-led organization, creates a safe and supportive environment for youth with and without disabilities to learn leadership skills, exercise their strengths, and create friendships. Together, these two programs are changing lives and our community for the better, every day.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Extend its reach across the state, the nation, and the whole world.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have had the blessing of working with Leslie, Jackie, Susie and a whole list of part-time workers and volunteers for several years now. I was amazed at the quality of their program and the significant impact it has on the lives of those touched by it when I first experienced the in-school workshop, and I continue to be amazed each time I see the light of understanding and respect dawn in the eyes of the children participating in this character-building disability-awareness program. The Youth F.O.R.C.E. (Friends Offering Respect ~ Creating Empowerment), ATOU's youth/adult partnership, has grown from 10 committed youth to over 200 members in just two years under my very eyes. This explosive growth attests to the power of the program, which brings youth with and without disabilities together to discover common interests, create friendships, build character and increase mutual understanding. The third face of the ATOU program, the annual AccessToCare Fair brings together nearly 100 vendors of disability aids, products and information to serve over 1000 members of the community. What an amazing group!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

We would like to thank A Touch of Understanding for coming to our school and making their presentation. It was well received, very interactive, and our students can't stop talking about it. We have had several parent emails letting us know that their children really enjoyed it and understand both empathy and acceptance. The program is very professional, well timed, and engaging. We liked the fact that the program encourages "buddies" not "bullies"!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the privilege of experiencing ATOU's disability-awareness workshop at my school for many years. The students love to hear from the presenters and how they have adapted to their various disabilities. The presenters share stories and encourage the students to ask questions. The students learn empathy and how important it is to not tease. The hands-on workshop is a component of the program visit. They get to practice what it could feel like to have a disability. The children remember and talk about this special assembly which shows what a great impact it can make at a young age. They talk about how they would want to stick up for someone if they saw him/her being teased. I highly recommend ATOU!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

A Touch Of Understanding is an amazing program that touches the lives of students and adults. I have had the privilege of taking part in their assemblies at three different elementary schools. The number of students they have had a positive impacted with is countless. Many of the students say this is the best experience they have in school. The teachers report that the positive changes that come with the education ATOU brings makes a dramatic difference in the way students treat each other. I have also had the honor of attending several of their events outside of the school setting. The energy that the volunteers bring to this program is amazing!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

ATOU was one of the most powerful student assemblies in which our school has ever participated. It allowed the children to experience some of the daily difficulties many handicapped people go through on a daily basis. With the chance to "walk in someone else's shoes", students gained valuable perspective on how some struggle with simple, daily tasks that we often take for granted. The discussions we had as a class afterwards showed an obvious sense of empathy and sympathy from everyone. We pledged to be buddies, not bullies to the less fortunate!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

There is a reason that Crestmont Elementary School participates annually in A Touch of Understandings' lecture and hands-on experience. IT CHANGES LIVES! Every year our 4th graders hear the speakers and see their disabilities. They physically experience in a small fashion what hardships people with disabilities have to go through. The lectures allow the students to hear the challenges that the speakers go through on a daily basis. Following this, is the hands-on portion of the presentation. Here, they learn how to use a wheelchair, how to navigate with a walking stick, write in braille, and experience an autistic world. As teachers, we can tell that this program is having an affect on the students' lives by hearing the comments they make to each other and their parents as they describe what they have experienced that day.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

ATOU has changed my life! I developed a neurological disorder in my 30s and had to give up my career. ATOU has given me a new purpose in my life. I love talking and working with the school children. It is very rewarding to share my experience living with a disability. My main message to the kids is "I'm just like you" and they understand. Leslie DeDora and her team of staff and volunteers are so dedicated!! They work tirelessly to ensure that ALL people are treated with respect and kindness.
The Great!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

A Touch of Understanding has changed my life. This program cannot be described in a small area such as this. To see the way children respond to the volunteers and really understand why they should be including children of all abilities in their lives is truly amazing. But the school programs are just the beginning. The ATOU Youth F.O.R.C.E. (Friends Offering Respect ~ Creating Empowerment) has grown into an unbelievable program for young people... and young at heart. They work together to bring "fun" to everyone that attends their events! The other program ATOU provides to the community is the AccessToCare Fair. This is a free community event where they provide an opportunity to see the services and products that are available to people with disabilities.. that includes senior citizens, Veterans, just about anything you can imagine. A Touch of Understanding can change your life too... just come to a program and witness the experience. I challenge you to come back without having a completely different attitude about children and people in general... and if you really want to make a difference in the world, write them a check or how about spending a little time volunteering?

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?