‘The impact is immeasurable’: Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind discuss the importance of giving

Local News

Utah (ABC4 News) — Thanksgiving is the month of gratitude and students at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, USDB, are sharing their gratitude through video, thanking their donors for their generous contributions. 

 The USDB Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit supports and educates students who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind to achieve their full academic, social, and career potential.

Amy L. Zaharis, Education Foundation Director for Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind said USDB Education Foundation’s mission “is to build an unparalleled support system and enhance the educational experience for Utah children who are deaf, blind or deaf-blind through relationships with key community partners.” 

“We serve Utah’s deaf and blind children with needs unmet by the school system. In order to master life milestones, these unique and special students have many high technological needs that are financially unattainable for their families. This technology is vital for these students to bridge the gap in learning caused by their hearing or vision impairments,” Zaharis added. 

USDB’s Education Foundation also provides extracurricular educational activities to deaf and blind students, focusing on vital skills for independent living in their homes, schools, and community. 

The Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that runs 100% on community donations for the children with all administrative costs covered by Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind which allows 100% of donations to go directly to the children and their needs.  

To show their gratitude for donors the school created a gratitude video. The video shows USDB students thanking donors for things like hearing aids and specialized equipment, white canes, accessibility technology, magnification devices, educational opportunities, and more.

Donations made to the school go towards the following: 

  • Vital assistive devices that students need to succeed, such as hearing aids, white canes, various assistive technology used in their education such as iPads and Chromebooks for at-home learning.  
  • Extracurricular educational learning activities like international study programs, specialized student training, and scholarships.  

The Education Foundation also has a big goal is to raise funds to build an Outdoor Family Learning Center. 

“The students and staff at Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind feel so much gratitude when donations are received. Families are so humbled and appreciative when they are able to receive support or assistance with equipment that their students need,”  Zaharis said. “Personally, the directors and staff get really excited when the Foundation is able to provide something to a student in need because they know how much difference it will make for their child and their family.”

USDB has three campuses, Ogden, Salt Lake City, and Springville. They also have a statewide outreach program serving children across the entire state through Outreach Services.

“With three campus and outreach services we serve 4,500 children age birth to 22.  Each of these students has individual educational and personal needs,” said Zaharis. “USDB was started over 130 years ago in Ogden and is now #1 in the United States for high school graduation and serves as a model across the country and around the world for deaf and blind education.” 

Zaharis tells ABC4 News 45% of USDB students come from low-income families and need extra help to get devices or extracurricular activities they need. Donations made really make all the difference to these students, Zaharis added. “The impact is immeasurable to their confidence, learning, and contributes to their ability to achieve.”   

Because the USDB Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization, it can receive any donation. 100% of donations go to the children and make a difference in the life of a deaf or blind child. 

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