May A Busy Time of UOD Celebrations

On Sunday, May 4, Understanding Our Differences celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a Gala featuring renowned father-and-son marathoners Dick and Rick Hoyt as keynote speakers. This was Team Hoyt’s last year with the Boston Marathon, and we were delighted to honor them, along with our esteemed, long-time UOD volunteer leader, Linda Hiller.

    

Just two weeks later, on Friday, May 16, we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast at the Scandinavian Living Center in Newton. Newton city officials, and Newton Schools leadership, joined UOD board and staff to acknowledge the hard work and dedication this year of our many volunteers. Dr. Edward Mulligan and students of the EDCO Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing received the Katie Lynch Inspirational Speaker Award, presented by foundation head Joan Lynch.

 

 

Family Book Event – Fish In A Tree

4th Annual UOD Family Book Event
Oct. 20th

Great minds don’t always think alike! That was the message of the children’s book, Fish In A Tree, featured at Understanding Our Differences’ 4th Annual Family Book Event with a disability theme. Author Lynda Mullaly Hunt talked about and signed her New York Times bestselling novel, about a girl with learning disabilities who discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label.

The many parents, students, teachers and librarians in attendance agreed that the event was a great success, and that the author connected in a very thoughtful way with the audience.

As one parent wrote after the event, “The night was so moving and and meaningful to my family. I was so impressed with the author, and really enjoyed hearing her speak.”

 

 

 

 

Support UOD By Shopping AmazonSmile

Support Understanding Our Differences by shopping at AmazonSmile, http://smile.amazon.com/ch/04-2738924.

  • Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to UNDERSTANDING OUR DIFFERENCES INC whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com.

 

UNDERSTANDING OUR DIFFERENCES INC

Deaf-Blind Actors Star in Theatrical Experience April 3

In the unique theatrical experience Not By Bread Alone, eleven deaf-blind actors from Israel’s Nalaga’at Theater Ensemble will take audiences on a tour through their inner worlds of darkness and silence. As the cast bakes bread in real time on a fully-lit stage, they tell stories through sign, movement, and spoken word that express their own magical dreams and desires.

While the bread is rising in the oven, the audience gains unique access to a magical world where the senses are challenged as never before. This insightful, sensitive, once-in-a-lifetime theatrical experience comes to Boston with rave reviews and sold-out runs in London, New York, and the company’s home city of Tel Aviv.

The performance will be held at Paramount Center Mainstage, 559 Washington Street, Boston on Thursday April 3 at 7:30 pm. Click here to purchase tickets. The special discount code BREADHALF allows you to buy one, get one half off at either the $80 or $65 ticket price.

 

In Memoriam: Cathy Jepsen

Understanding Our Differences mourns the passing of Catherine R. “Cathy” Jepsen.  Cathy was a quintessential teacher to all her family and friends and left a lasting impact on her many Newton students.

Cathy was involved with Understanding Our Differences from the program’s first days at the Williams School over three decades ago. As an elementary school teacher, she integrated the UOD program into every aspect of her fourth grade curriculum.  She was a strong advocate for the program at a time when faculty and administrators questioned whether Understanding Our Differences should remain part of the Newton Public Schools’ curriculum.

After her retirement, Cathy continued to donate her time, mentoring Newton teachers and championing UOD.

“I know that Cathy has touched many of your lives, as she did mine. She will be missed,” said Board Co-President Gary Alpert.

 

 

Do Blind People Dream?

By David Ticchi, UOD Program Speaker & Long-time Teacher in the Newton Public Schools

Author’s Note: This question was asked of me by a third grade student as part of the speaker portion of the Blindness and Low Vision unit of Understanding Our Differences.

The answer is yes. Blind people dream both literally and figuratively.  A totally blind person has auditory dreams and someone who is visually impaired dreams with visual impairment.  We don’t fall asleep and have 20-20 vision, although that would be interesting.  We also dream figuratively because like the sighted we have hopes and dreams for people whom we care about and love and for ourselves.

 

Cabot Core Values: Digital Quilt Project

In 2013, the program director of Understanding Our Differences, Maren Oslund, and UOD board members Jan Spiro and Marcia Herrmann visited every classroom at Cabot Elementary School in Newton. Maren read the book “It’s Ok to be Different” by Todd Parr and we discussed how it is ok to appreciate and understand everyone’s differences. The students were then instructed to create a quilt square that illustrated the idea “It’s Ok to…”.

Directions: To show the video, first click on the play button and then click on the four way arrow symbol on the bottom right to view the video in fullscreen.

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UOD Receives Grant from Rockland Trust

(l to r) David Felton, Vice President and Senior Business Banking Officer, Rockland Trust, presents a check for a $2,500 grant to Rebecca Lubens, UOD Executive Director, with Marcia Herrmann, UOD Board Co-President;  Bruce Coggeshall, Rockland Trust Newton Branch Manager, and Gary Alpert, UOD Board Co-President.

Family Book Event Oct. 28

Online Registration is now closed. Registration is available at the door beginning at 6:15 pm.

We are thrilled to announce that we’ll be holding our second annual family book event on Oct. 28th at 7:00 pm. We’re bringing Sharon Draper, author of the NY Times bestselling children’s book, Out of My Mind (about a girl with cerebral palsy), to Newton South High School.

About Out of My Mind:  Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school, but no one knows it.   Most people – her teachers and doctors included – don’t think she’s capable of learning. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows…but she can’t, because Melody can’t talk. She can’t walk. She can’t write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind – that is, until she discovers assistive technology that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice, but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.

About Sharon Draper:
Sharon M. Draper is a two-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, most recently for Copper Sun, and previously for Forged by Fire. She’s also the recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Author Award for New Talent for Tears of a Tiger and the Coretta Scott King Author Honor for The Battle of Jericho and November Blues. Her other books include Romiette and Julio, Darkness Before Dawn, Double Dutch, Just Another Hero, and The Clubhouse Mysteries. An Alan Award recipient, she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years.

 

 

Inclusive Schools Week: Digital Quilt Project

As part of Inclusive Schools Week, the program director of Understanding Our Differences, Maren Oslund, and UOD board member Jan Spiro visited every classroom at Burr Elementary School in Newton. Maren read the book “It’s Ok to be Different” by Todd Parr and we discussed how it is ok to appreciate and understand everyone’s differences. The students were then instructed to create a quilt square that illustrated the idea “It’s Ok to…”.

Directions: To show the video, first click on the play button and then click on the four way arrow symbol on the bottom right to view the video in fullscreen.

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