Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Team-Up for Textbooks: Volunteer to Help Students with Disabilities

The new school year is in full swing, yet across the U.S., all too many students with print disabilities might not have the textbooks they need for class. To meet that need, the Benetech Volunteer Program is piloting a new initiative—and we’re inviting you to join us!

When a Bookshare student member with a print disability needs a book for school that is not yet in the Bookshare collection, the member submits a request and Bookshare creates an accessible digital version of that book. However, students often don’t know what books they need until the first days of school—a hectic time when Bookshare receives thousands of book requests. During this time, the process of making a textbook accessible can take from 8-12 weeks, with proofreading being the most time-intensive and costly component. Meanwhile, students with print disabilities risk falling behind in school as they wait for the books they need.

Volunteers can now help fulfill students’ book requests faster during periods of peak demand by joining Benetech’s newest volunteer initiative: Team-Up for Textbooks.

Volunteers seated in a conference room at Benetech's offices during a Team-Up for Textbooks kickoff event.
Our wonderful volunteers kicking off the Team-Up for Textbooks initiative
Here’s the idea: through targeted outreach to parents, schools, and community partners, our staff members are recruiting volunteer teams to proofread student requested textbooks. Together, we can not only speed up the delivery of needed textbooks, but also build awareness to strengthen the web of support for students with disabilities. Each volunteer effort makes a difference for a student with a disability today while also creating a lasting resource that will support students for years to come!

To learn more and get involved, please submit the Team-Up for Textbooks volunteer form or contact our staff via email: volunteer [at] Bookshare.org. Thank you for your support!

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