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Seedlings Braille Books for Children's mailing address:
P.O. Box 51924
Livonia, MI 48151-5924

Seedlings' physical (and UPS) address:
14151 Farmington Road
Livonia, MI 48154

Toll-free phone: 800-777-8552
Phone & fax: 734-427-8552

To see a nice piece about Seedlings on PBS' "A Wider World":
click here.

Photo of a child reading a braille book outside

Seedlings' Mission

Seedlings 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' History

In 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 2013, with a small staff, and a group of loyal volunteers, Seedlings produced over 23,000 braille books and articles, with a grand total of 394,000 since 1984, equaling over 18 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' Books

Seedlings 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' Funding

As 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' 2013 990 Form here.

Seedlings' 2014 Board of Directors

Gretchen Alaniz, Sr. Audit Mgr.
Mark Bosscher, CPA
Jerry Bricker, Consultant
Kimberly Colaizzi, Special Education Teacher
Mary Jo Ference, Low Vision Specialist
Marshall Kleven, Banker
Paula Korelitz, Retired Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Barbara Lewis, Retired Librarian
Rachel Miller, Parent of Visually Impaired Child
Cheryl Shewach, HR Director
Jared Stofflett, Software Developer, Braille Reader
Sue Ward, Retired Teacher

Seedlings' Board Members receive no financial compensation for their services.

Seedlings in the news ...



Photo of Debra Bonde receiving the award from DKG

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.

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an honor society that recognizes and supports outstanding women in education, selects an award recipient every year.

Bonde, of Livonia, founded Seedlings Braille Books for Children to increase the availability of quality Braille books for blind children and make them affordable for families. Since its inception in 1984, Seedlings Braille Books for Children has produced more than 370,000 braille books for children and expects to distribute 25,000 more this year. With the help of generous individuals, foundations and philanthropic groups, Seedlings' founder, Debra Bonde has been bringing the joy of reading to countless blind children worldwide for more than 25 years, helping them to read and succeed.

April 2008: Livonia City Channel 8 tells the Seedlings story: Watch the video.

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 Detroit News.

For more information, view Seedlings' most recent Volunteer/Donor Newsletter here.

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© 2005 Seedlings Braille Books for Children P.O. Box 51924, Livonia, MI 48151-5924 • (734) 427-8552 or (800) 777-8552 info@seedlings.org

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