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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

A Touch of Understanding Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights, Education, Health, Primary & Elementary Schools, Secondary & High Schools

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.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A Touch of Understanding is breaking barriers between social classes; those with disabilities and those without. A Touch of Understanding enter our schools with the tools needed to give young people a more intimate impression of what dealing with a disadvantage might be like. This leaves the audience a greater understanding of the similarities between all of us verses the differences. They succeed in bringing about a greater connection to all social classes rather then a potential divide.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Foresthill Union School District has been scheduling the interactive Touch of Understanding for almost ten years. District staff and students have found the program insightfully informative. We all feel that the program has enabled our district/community to be more aware and accepting of each other.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.