A TOUCH OF UNDERSTANDING INC

Rating: 4.98 stars   44 reviews

Issues:

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.
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

Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

This is an awesome program! My son was born without a right forearm and hand and was so empowered when, during 2d grade, he saw the ATOU presentation and listened to people with similar and other disabilities talk about their experiences. Last year, during 5th grade, he decided to join ATOU as a speaker to talk about his own challenges and experiences. He spoke at a couple ATOU presentations last year and this past summer. He is so proud to participate in the program, and is excited to participate during the coming school year. I, as well as my husband, mother and sister, have sat in on the ATOU presentation, and we were moved and uplifted beyond words. This is a very worthwhile program, with a group of extremely dedicated and passionate volunteers. The knowledge and understanding about differences and personal challenges that is passed on to younger folks through ATOU is invaluable.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Extraordinarily friendly, compassionate, and enthusiastic. The staff and volunteers quickly put the kids at ease and are entirely focused on providing open, honest communications.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

An awesome organization. My daughter and I first saw the ATOU presentation when she was in 2nd grade and they presented at her school. She stood up that day during the discussion of orthotics and showed everyone her brace and told them how it helped her. Courtney started volunteering as a speaker with ATOU when she was in 7th grade and she's been spreading the word ever since that kids have strokes and that having a disability doesn't have to slow you down.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting so many active, involved and successful people with disabilities. I love their example for both me and my daughter that life is what you make it and that having a disability doesn't have to slow you down or keep you from following your dreams.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

ATOU and What we do We present to students in schools in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo and El Dorado Counties. In most schools we present and have activities with regular students. Our program has two sections. Each section lasts about one hour and 15 minutes and has about 50 students. One Section consists of speakers (Usually 3-4 individuals followed by questions from the students at the end). Our presenters/speakers are individuals (sometime students) who are disabled (handicapped) in one way or a combination of ways. They try to enhance the students understanding of what they (Speakers) have obtained, even though, at times, it is a challenge. The other section consists of an introduction (about 15 minutes) to the program and what we plan to have the students do. Then the students are separated into 5 groups for the five stations: 1. White Canes. 2. Wheelchairs. 3. Braille for an exercise in writing in Braille. 4. Mirrors exercise. 5. Orthotics & Prosthetics (when I am not speaking. (I am usually at this station). At the end of our session, I walk around the table and pull up my slacks and show the Teacher and students that I am an amputee. Upto that point, they have no idea that I am. After about 10 minutes at a station, the students rotate to their next station. After everyone has completed the five stations, we have a closing. The Activities volunteers help with the stations. The speakers - Speak. Some of us do both. Charles (Chuck) P. Warren chuck@chuckandvi.org PS: I am a bi-lateral Below the Knee Amputee.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have worked with ATOU for the past two years. It great to hear the students resonses after our presentations. Several of our Speakers are students with a disability visual or not.

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

Ways to make it better...

We had more volunteers and more time with the students.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-5-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

We recently had the blessing of finding and joining this wonderful group of caring and compassionate people. A Touch of Understanding's (ATOU) mission in promoting and teaching Disability Awareness is so important and we are so blessed to be a part of it. We have been welcomed with open arms, compassion and understanding. We are proud to be a part in paying this wonderful blessing forward as members of ATOU! Please check out their website at http://www.touchofunderstanding.org and support them in any way that you can.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that they are such wonderful, caring and compassionate people who are committed to bring about Disability Awareness and changing the world!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I have seen ATOU's presentations several times. I was amazed at the response of the children to the opportunities they had to experience things from the perspective of the disabled person. They seem so thankful to be able to talk openly to people with disabilities and hear honestly from them about their challenges & also their sameness with the general public. It is also a thrilling experience to hear the life stories of the volunteers & know that there is so much hope. My own son had an accident & brain injury recently. I know who I can talk to for support & understanding & much hope for recovery.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

nieces & nephews who saw the program presented to them in elementary school. They never forget the power of the presenters.

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

pray that it could continue on and on and on.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the love and compassion shared by all the volunteers in the group & what a huge family they are.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

so loving & caring for each other & for those that they shared their experiences with.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

get the vehicles needed to transport their equipment & probably take more volunteers with them to programs.

Ways to make it better...

it had lasted longer.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

not enough money to keep expanding and presenting the program do to rising fuel costs.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

A Touch of Understanding is a unique and much needed disability awareness program. I was so very impressed with both the volunteers and the staff. Leslie DeDora, co-founder, holds ATOU to the highest standards of excellence. The students that participate in the ATOU program are forever changed by the presentations as well as the activity areas. I have seen first hand how they come in thinking those with disabilities are "weird" or "different" but through the compassionate way the program is presented, they come away with a whole new "understanding" of what those with disabilities are capable of in their daily lives.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way the students speak after seeing the presentations and listening to the speakers.

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

Do it just the same way.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the way the message of ATOU is presented in a loving, compassionate and non-judgmental way.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Caring and knowledgeable.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

bring their passion for respect and dignity for the disabled to many areas of this country.

Ways to make it better...

I could work with them all daily!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the lack of funding and the lack of real knowledge of what ATOU is all about

One thing I'd also say is that...

I love ATOU!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Hello I don't know where to start this is a great organization. I have been volunteering since 2005. I really enjoy going to the schools and talking to the kids about my disability. I think it's a neat program we are like a family.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Students who see are program are more excepting of people with disabilities.

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

I don't know.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I enjoy working with the kids and other volunteers.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand

Ways to make it better...

I wish we could expand outside Califorina.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

money

One thing I'd also say is that...

I enjoy being with this group.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I have seen the strong impact that this hands-on disability awareness program has on students who participate and disabled people who speak to students. All these folks come away with a better understanding of the world faced by those with disabilities. Also, students and others participating in the program learn a new respect for the many talents and abilities of people who are disabled. I have been acquainted with this organization for seven years. I am a volunteer. Be sure to review the website www.touchofunderstanding.org to learn more about this amazing group of people and the good work they do!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

schools where a disabled student is in the class. When the student shares his or her experiences with other classmates, the classmate have a new respect for their fellow class member.

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

Get some assistance to create more defined business plans and structure. They are working on this and realize more needs to be done.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the impact on participants in the program.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, caring, and kind folks.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand its program to a wider geographic area.

Ways to make it better...

Sometimes we are short-handed for the taks which need to be accomplished.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the usual ones: bringing in enough money to support the program and continue to train, recuit and retain volunteers.

One thing I'd also say is that...

If you really want to understand this program, call the office and find a presentation where you can go and participate in the program. You will have a life-changing experience.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I have written several stories on ATOU for the Grantie Bay View. The organization and the work they do is incredible. In addition to touching the lives of both the people they present to and those who present, they have been very active in the communities in which they belong. They are a well run and much needed organization and I have seen people of all ages permanently touched by them.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the statements and actions of the students they have presented to.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the way they really put a face on people with disabilities for children. They let them experience and take the fear out of approaching those with disabilities.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind and loyal.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

go national and bring understanding to the entire country.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

What I have seen A Touch of Understanding, Inc doing ever since I became aware of Leslie DeDora and her incredible, dedicated, determined, warm and welcoming staff (long ago, in my sixth grade classroom) is something that the world desperately needs. The message of compassion and understanding that this team takes directly to the classroom and the community is critical to forging a new generation that fights intolerance and prejudice with hope and empathy. But flowery words aside, these people are committed to making things happen. The discussions I've had and the projects I've worked on have all been well thought-out, practical, and designed to actually *do* things in the community. I've seen first-hand people associated with this organization overcome *incredible* odds pull through, excel, and go out to do things that are incredible by *any* standard. ATOU's message is strong and compassionate, ATOU's people brim with a quiet strength and heart, and ATOU's leadership is rock solid. These are *good* people who know what they're doing.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Classrooms first hand, where kids who have taunted, teased, made fun of, or actually attempted to hurt their fellow students facing challenges have (after ATOU comes in) stopped, thought about it, and gone, "Wow, I didn't know it was like that..."

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

How much even as just a volunteer how much I've learned and grown as an individual throughout the years working with them.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Some of the most amazing people I've ever had the honor to work with.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

Was this review helpful?