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Sixteen LAVIDGIANs volunteered remotely September 10 to lend an ear for quality on behalf of those who are impaired when it comes to reading.
Through LAVIDGE IMPACT, the Phoenix-based advertising agency provided quality assurance for audio books recorded by Learning Ally volunteers. The non-profit program makes books more accessible to those who have difficulty reading by sight. This includes sighted people with dyslexia, for example, or with other neuro-vision deficits which can make reading by sight challenging.
"Although LAVIDGE is currently doing business with everyone working from home, it continues to be an important goal of ours to reach out and help the community in any way that we can—even if that means doing so virtually," said Sandra Torre, LAVIDGE EVP, CFO and IMPACT Committee Chair.
Learning Ally's remote volunteer opportunity was a perfect fit.
LAVIDGE IMPACT's mission was to watch for spelling errors on the companion text, bloopers in the recording itself such as background noise or a missing word, or other errors related to formatting or page headings. Titles in need of a listen ranged from fun children's books to school textbooks. Collectively, LAVIDGE IMPACT volunteers made a dent in a wide selection.
In addition to giving back, LAVIDGE IMPACT employee volunteers had the chance during our videoconference orientation to experience what reading by sight can feel like for someone with dyslexia.
It went something like this: while Linda Broom, one of the nonprofit's regular volunteers, played the role of a teacher presenting review information on the board for students, LAVIDGE IMPACT participants were shown scrambled words and phrases that would be mostly unintelligible to the average reader. "Pupils" were then asked to take a quiz and to post answers in Zoom's meeting chat.
Broom then shared an image showing differences in how some people's brains decode information compared to the average person's brain. The presentation and follow-up explanation were eye-opening and educational, making the task of providing quality assurance more meaningful.
Several volunteers who weren't able to complete as many titles as they'd have liked—or, in some cases, even one—asked for more time. Their desires were granted, with many of them continuing to serve throughout the weekend contributing to the event's total of 25 books completed.
"You made a huge difference in the lives of so many kids using our solution,” said Volunteer Nation Lead Paula Restrepo, who coordinated the event. We enjoyed the time together and appreciated your comments during the event. Learning Ally was deeply pleased to work with such an engaged group of volunteers who were able to understand quickly the needs of struggling learners and work on making sure our books were top quality for them."
Learning Ally, a national nonprofit with volunteers across the country, is always in need of new voices to record titles as well as new pairs of ears to make sure they sound as great as they should.
Help is a few keystrokes away.