We are grateful to have such dedicated and committed volunteers. Why did they choose their organizations? Read on:
I knew I wanted to be involved in the community, and as a parent working with children spoke to me. I’ve previously worked with organizations that served underprivileged youth and so this was an analog opportunity. As I became more aware of the IBCF and the Indiana School for the Blind, I quickly found my eyes opening to the world of the vision impaired and understanding just how much of an impact a few moments in time can make. The educational process is a continual process of learning to learn, learning to be, and learning to “see” the world around them. Being vision impaired has a bundle of challenges associated and mountains to climb, but what I’m really learning about the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation is that a key tenet of the educational process is about working with the students to turn their disability into opportunity; to focus on their individual abilities and to cultivate and grow them; and to enable the youth to have the confidence to enter the world at large to contribute, thrive, and prosper.
The main reason I chose the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation was to receive a more in depth look at how it affects the children of today. In turn, it has given me a new found look at what blind people have to go through with life and the struggles of day to day life. The children have given me so much more than I could give back to them. Their confidence and amazing resilience to the world has made me stronger in my own right.
I chose Penny Lane Centers because, as an organization, they care for abused and neglected children regardless of gender, age, religion, disability, ethnic background, or gender expression. And because they serve the greater Los Angeles area, supporting Penny Lane Centers allows direct involvement by Genesys - Interactive Intelligence staff based in Irvine CA. I also realized how exposure to a Summer STEM program and related Summer Science fair that is totally funded by the foundation would impact the lives of these kids in a positive way. In the three years that the Interactive Intelligence Foundation has supported Penny Lane Centers, we’ve see this impact come to fruition. Through our Summer STEM program, we are making a big difference in the lives of these children.
I was initially attracted to working with Happy Hollow Camp because I personally believe an appreciation of nature is essential to being a well-rounded person and Happy Hollow was unique among the groups we support in that they were the only ones to provide an experience focused on the outdoors for the kids. I soon found that this camp is so much more than a way for kids to spend a week exploring the woods. Most of the summer campers come from extremely difficult family, social and economic situations and this camp offers many of them a first glimpse at an entirely different world; one which many of them have never even imagined. They are exposed to experiences they are simply not afforded in their normal lives, many of which can be personally challenging, but once they are able to overcome their apprehension and accomplish something they did not think they could, it changes them forever and gives them the confidence to change other parts of their lives. The physical and mental changes many campers experience in one short week are truly amazing. The number of children that return for multiple summers and who eventually become counselors, is a testament to the positive experience they have each year. I have come to appreciate Happy Hollow for being so much more than a simple summer camp. It is a place where kids can build confidence and learn to overcome obstacles and eventually change the world around them for the better.
I wanted to give back to the company, but at the same time give back to our community. I chose Teach for America because of my daughter’s educational background and experience in IPS. She shared the many stories from the classroom and was always looking for opportunities to make a positive impact on her students. I wish TFA was available during that time. I have enjoyed learning about TFA and their mission to enlist future leaders by placing them in low-income schools. A success story for all involved!
The mission of the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation (IBCF) is to invest in children with visual impairments so each child will thrive in school and daily life. IBCF is a philanthropic foundation that financially supports the unique work of the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.