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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Perkins School for the Blind

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Special Education

Mission: Perkins School for the Blind prepares children and young adults who are blind with the education, tools and skills they need to realize their potential.

Target demographics: Children and young adults who are blind, their families, and the professionals who serve them.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1 ,120,923 people in 67 countries

Geographic areas served: the US and internationally

Programs: Early intervention services for babies with a visual impairment or deafblindness, a preschool and transitional kindergarten for children with a visually impairment, specialized educational programs designed to support students at every age and ability, itinerant services for students with a visual impairment, independence courses for public school students with a visual impairment, evaluations and assessments for communities, training for professionals and educators, assistive technology products and consulting services, and a Library, which circulates more than 530,000 items in braille, audio, electronic and large print formats to about 28,000 patrons in the U.S. .

Community Stories

66 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

My son is at the Lower School at Perkins School for the Blind and he is blossoming! As a child with major visual impairments who is intellectually bright, he was frustrated by our local public school which is very highly rated in general - they simply didn't know how to work around his visual impairment and challenge him intellectually. Since transferring to Perkins, he has gone from a kid who spent every weekend dreading going to school on Monday, to a kid who couldn't wait for summer to end and school to start this year! He looks forward to going to Perkins every day, talks about having friends - actually using the word "friends" for the first time - and has actually said himself that the teachers "know just what I need." He is now making huge gains in both his academic, social, mobility, speech and other skills and our entire family sees the difference. Thank you, Perkins School for the Blind!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, is not just a place steeped in history, as this is where Helen Keller's teacher Ann Sullivan taught and Helen herself visited many times. It is not just a special school for "blind" kids. It is a place that teaches and nurtures all that come in contact with its community. Whether it is a visually impaired elderly person home bound that has audio books on tape delivered to his/her door or a child with multiple disabilities that learns to walk, talk, read, write, explore the community, get a job, enjoy sports and clubs and grow to become a productive, happy, healthy adult or a young parent with a newborn baby who has just learned his/her child is blind who comes seeking knowledge and finds loving, caring support and hope for a bright future, Perkins is a place of friends, community and inspiration.

I can attest for these things personally as I am a visually impaired adult who has used the Perkins library to supply me with hours of reading through large print and audio books. My visually impaired, autistic son has been attending the Perkins School for the Blind since he was 3, and even before that he received outreach services as an infant from Perkins. After just learning of my son's diagnoses, Perkins provided a wonderful teacher of the visually impaired to come work with my son at our home when he was only 18 months old. This teacher also had a multi disabled child and her and I quickly became friends and she is still 16 years later a great source of knowledge and support for me. My son has now paraded through all the programs at the school from preschool to secondary (high school). He has accomplished so very much over the years. He has gone from a 3-year-old who was not toilet trained and eating no solid food to a 16-year-old who will eat most anything you put in front of him with gusto, is toilet trained, has 2 jobs (one off and one on campus), is on the school swim team, wrestling team and in the spring the track team. He travels independently around campus. My husband and I have learned from, shared with and become life-long friends with fellow parents and staff at Perkins. It will be a bittersweet day for all of us when our son graduates from this place, but I know Perkins will always be part of our world in some way forever.

Over the years, we have personally donated dollars, as well as my husband's accounting practice, we know are well spent and help to improve the life's of many people. We donate our time and expertise to help organize and make school social events a success for staff, parents, and students. This is an organization you can confidently support in so many ways knowing without a doubt that you are helping many truly special children and families.

Review from #MyGivingStory

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer at Perkins School for the Blind and a social work educator. It truly is a pleasure and a privilege to be a volunteer at such a welcoming and valuable organization where the staff, programs, and projects exemplify the organization's important mission. Perkins is notable for the effective outreach it does to educate the larger community through its Samuel P. Hayes Research Library and Archives and in other ways. For example, this focus on educating the larger community has enabled me to bring my social work students to Perkins for a highly educational tour and lecture that Perkins staff so generously give us each year. As a volunteer, I also have been provided with an excellent American Sign Language course. Therefore, being involved with Perkins enriches my students' and my own learning in countless ways. I sincerely thank all the dedicated people at Perkins for whom I have volunteered or by whom my students and I have been educated over past years, and I look forward to future years.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I recently attended an event at Perkins, I was so impressed by the kindness of the staff and volunteers. The commitment Perkins has not only to serving the visually impaired, but also to educating the wider community of families and supporters, is truly one of a kind.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have seen firsthand the good Petkins does for both its students & the community. If I could pick a 2 non-profits to contribute to, one would be St Jude's & the other would be Perkins.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Perkins for over 8 years . There are so many great and varied opportunities that you be involved with and it all matters so much. Last spring, I worked on helping
the seniors get their class trip funded and they all had such a great time! !

Rebecca180

Client Served

Rating: 5

Being a young parent, unprepared for parenthood to begin with, of a child with special needs, we were lost in how to raise our son until we found Perkins School for the Blind. The teachers, faculty, and community helped us learn how to teach, communicate with, and connect to our boy in ways we never imagined. If not for them, I don't know how we could be as successful now as we are almost ten years later.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Perkins for forty years.
Beginning in 1972 in the Secondary Education Program with students learning independent living skills.
The students receive focused academics, social activities, and athletics designed for their skills, talents, and interests.
Perkins provides a wide array of programs that bring a preschool student into adulthood.
Each volunteer experience a have had, taught me to appreciate the Perkins staff and their abilities to understand the students and give individual instruction.

I have enjoyed my time with the Perkins students and continue volunteering at the school

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Perkins does wonderful work. Every time I go to visit I cannot believe the work that is done. The respect that is shown to the client as well as the learning that goes on.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about Perkins School for the Blind!! The minute you walk on campus you can feel the love and compassion! They are a dedicated team of professionals who truly love what they do. My grandson attended Perkins for 10+ years & flourished receiving physical, occupational, speech & music therapies. His life was enriched by the amazing staff at Perkins who helped him continuously progress & experience a joyful life, despite his multiple disabilities. Even after his passing, the staff showed our family a overwhelming presence of support & shared stories & fond remembrances of working with him. I will forever be grateful for this remarkable school & all they do to help their students with education, confidence & skills to realize their potential and lead full, happy lives!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter, Ellen, was a victim of the 1964 Rubella epidemic. She was blind, deaf, needed heart surgery and had learning obstacles. But she has always had a "can do" personality which has served her well. She was evaluated by staff at Perkins on her 4th birthday and admitted to their Deaf-Blind program. All of our dealings over more than 47 years with everyone at this fantastic school has far exceeded anything we could have dreamed of. Presently she lives independently (with much help from Perkins staff) and has been employed at the Marshall's for more than 20 years. We are forever indebted to this outstanding facility.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Perkins "Blind New World Campaign" has spread information and inspiration by their videos, educational questions and their Blog site for anyone effected by blindness.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Seedlings is an organization that is committed to making braille materials affordable for early braille readers, and it would be difficult for me to expose my students to braille without them. Schools can purchase books far below the cost of production and families can afford to have a literature rich environment in the home. They provide two free books each year to each student throught their Angels program, and my students look forward every year to filling out their "Wish List". This is a great organization founded by a parent that has had a sustaining impact on the education of braille readers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Perkins is an incredible school where students are given and individualized program to become as successful and independent as they can. I volunteer in the Assistive Devices Center. It is an incredible department. Here the team come up with solutions that making learning more accessible for a child with multiple disabilities. We are so fortunate to have this school here in Massachusetts.

2

Advisor

Rating: 1

the school has changed from student focused too money focused. They seem to be banking on the famous name to carry them instead of doing right by students and staff

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have had a lot of experience with this nonprofit especially since i am a Perkins graduate. additionally, I strongly support the work that they do with respect to getting folks who are visually impaired into employment. The education that I received at Perkins was sufficient enough for me to attend college and graduate school.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

They perform great work for vision challenged people and continue the Helen Keller legacy with high integrity.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've driven past and heard the Perkins School for the Blind name for years and I know my family has donated over the years. There are billboards along certain routes I take, even out in the Worcester area. But I have to admit that for a longtime, I thought it was a really cool school for blind children. Then recently, I learned about teachers in Central Massachusetts being trained by Perkins staff to use the same teaching methods used in Watertown in our communities. These teachers are so thankful for the knowledge Perkins is bringing. The reach is huge, way outside Massachusetts. So I decided to write this review to simply let others know that what they do in Watertown is great but there reach is far greater, impacting kids all over. Keep up the good work, Perkins!

Donor

Rating: 5

Having grown up in the Greater Boston area, I knew of Perkins School for the Blind and was aware of their reputation. But after working with Perkins as a consultant, I gained a greater understanding of the organization’s work and the positive impact it has not only locally but across the country and throughout the world. As a result of my professional experience with Perkins, I was inspired earlier this year to participate in a fundraiser to raise money for their mission and ran a 5K blindfolded (guided by wife). I was proud to have raised over $1,200 to support their mission because I have seen firsthand what they are doing and want to be sure they can continue their important work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Perkins is amazing! They are so organized and helpful they really are doing great things. They host really amazing events and provide so much support to their faculty and students.

Donor

Rating: 5

I attended a holiday concert at Perkins School this past year and was blown away with what is being done at the school. It was wonderful to see and there was a lot of opportunity to learn about the programs they are conducting. Bravo to Perkins for their amazing work and efforts.