Our speaker this past week was Katelynn Lucas, spokesperson for Seedlings Braille Books for Children.
If I was to write a mission statement for the organization “Seedlings Braille Books for Children,” it would be - to open the doors of darkness and let the light shine in so that what the eyes can’t see the mind can create. The magic that creates this sense of wonder, knowledge, and adventure, is books, braille books.
Katelynn Lucas told us that Seedlings Braille Books publishing was started in 1978. They had one braille printer and published 33 books in their first year. Jump to the present time and Seedlings has a staff of 11 paid workers and 30 volunteers. They have printed over 600,000 braille books that have been distributed to over 75 countries.
Seedlings books help children learn spelling and punctuation in braille. For these students, Seedlings places clear labels with braille markings onto the pages of standard children’s books. This way, sighted children can read along with the unsighted child. Seedings also prints chapter-only books (no pictures) for students 12 and up. The following are a few of the programs Katelynn mentioned to aid in getting more books into the hands of young braille book readers:
Book Angels - for young readers up to 21 years old – they can receive up to 5 free books per year.
Adapt a Reader Program - For a donation of $100 you can adapt a reader.
60% of seedlings books are free of charge to their readers. For those Seedlings books that are bought, the average price is $10. The average price for other braille books from other providers is $100.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
All the workers, volunteers, and donors of Seedlings Braille Books are Angels! The gifts they present go way beyond the numbers, it can only be measured in the hearts of the braille book recipients. We have yet to find a way to measure that, but trust me, it is enormous.