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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

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

In the last 2 and a half years that I have been involved with A Touch of Understanding, I have had the pleasure of attending in-school workshops, and watching lives change before my very eyes. While at workshops, I have heard students say things such as "this is the best day of the whole year", "I love learning about all of these tools the people use", and some students often feel comfortable enough to share something they may struggle with. That sense of de-isolation that allows them to share, knowing they aren't alone in their challenge, is one of the greatest gifts the workshop provides. At one workshop one little girl shared something she has been struggling with, and after hearing peers say that they have a similar struggle, her shoulders relaxed, and she said "finally, I'm not alone." What a powerful realization for a young child to have. I have loved watching students learn empowerment, and empathy, kindness and compassion, regardless of the things that make us seem different for any reason. I will continue being a donor to ATOU for that very reason.


Rating: 5

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?