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To see a nice piece about Seedlings on PBS' "A Wider World": click here.
To see a video about Seedlings by a local news team: click here.
Seedlings' MissionSeedlings Braille Books for Children is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to increasing the opportunity for literacy by providing high quality, low cost braille books for children.
Seedlings' Letter of Determination from the IRS
Seedlings' HistoryIn 1984 when Debra Bonde founded Seedlings, braille materials were scarce and expensive. Her goals were to increase the availability and lower the cost of braille books for children in order to promote their literacy skills and the love of reading. In 1985, the first year of book production, Debra made 221 books in her basement office. By 1990, Seedlings was producing 5,000 books per year, which precipitated its move out of Debra's basement and into the Bentley Center in Livonia, Michigan, and eventually to our present location on Farmington Road in Livonia. In 2012, with a small staff, and a group of loyal volunteers, Seedlings produced over 25,000 braille books and articles, with a grand total of 370,000 since 1984, equaling over 17 million pages of braille!
In 1994, Seedlings added The Rose Project, which provides encyclopedia articles in braille for student's projects and reports. The Rose Project has become a very popular resource for students eager to work independently. We anticipate requests for approximately 500 articles per year. Thanks to generous donations from our supporters, this service is entirely free to visually impaired students in grades 1-12. (To order an article, please click on "Special Projects", and then on "The Rose Project".)
Seedlings' BooksSeedlings braille materials have opened up new worlds for thousands of children. Seedlings Braille Books for Children is keeping visually impaired children in the mainstream of popular literature and is reaching braille readers in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Seedlings contributes to literacy by providing visually impaired children equal opportunity to develop the love of reading. At this time, less than 20% of the 50,000 blind children in the United States are proficient in braille. All too often, the written word has been inaccessible to them, and this is what we are hoping to change.
Braille books are provided at each level of development, from toddler board books to classic literature for older children. Just as sighted children learn to "read" as they are exposed to the printed word, so do visually impaired children who are exposed to the tactile page at an early age. New titles are added every year as highly skilled volunteer braille transcribers spend countless donated hours translating print books into braille and preparing them for computer disk to await production. Once the original translation is complete, additional books can be printed as needed. Exposure to popular, high quality braille literature throughout childhood increases the likelihood of children developing into able braille readers.
Seedlings' FundingAs a non-profit organization, Seedlings sells its books for considerably less than it costs to make them. Support is very broad based and comes from individuals, philanthropic groups, corporations and private foundations. Seedlings is not a United Way agency and receives no government grants. Thanks to hundreds of generous donors and dedicated, hardworking volunteers, the price of Seedlings' books remains far below actual production costs, averaging only $10 per book.
View Seedlings' 2012 990 Form here.
Seedlings' 2013 Board of DirectorsJohanna Anand, Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Mark Bosscher, CPA
Jerry Bricker, Consultant
Nancy Brown, Retired Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Kimberly Colaizzi, Special Education Teacher
Mary Jo Ference, Low Vision Specialist
Marshall Kleven, Banker
Barbara Lewis, Retired Librarian
Sharon Marsh, Parent of Visually Impaired Child
Cheryl Shewach, Employment Specialist
Jared Stofflett, Software Developer, Braille Reader
Sue Ward, Retired Teacher
Seedlings' Board Members receive no financial compensation
for their services.
Seedlings in the news ...
February 2011: Fox 2-Detroit highlights Seedlings' good work: Watch the video.
May 2010: The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International presented Debra Bonde, director and founder of Seedlings Braille Books for Children,
with its Distinguished Service Award for the State of Michigan for providing exemplary service to education and educators in Michigan.
The presentation took place on May 1 in Traverse City.
November 2007: Seedlings' founder won two "Stand on a Better World" Awards which were presented to her by Billie Jean King. Read more about it here.
January 2006: Seedlings' founder and director was selected for an award by Harlequin's More Than Words Program--"Ordinary Women who have made extraordinary contributions to their community". For more information, please click on the following link: Harlequin More Than Words.
May 2002: Seedlings' founder and director was selected as a "Michiganian of the Year" by the
© 2005 Seedlings Braille Books for Children P.O. Box 51924, Livonia, MI 48151-5924 • (734) 427-8552 or (800) 777-8552 firstname.lastname@example.org
"By the touch of a finger behold the world." © Perspective Et. Seedlings' logo by Jackie Lams of StudioLams LLC www.studiolams.com