A Different Education

planter-progressAny parent knows that each child learns in his or her own unique ways, and there is no one way to teach children. For those with special needs, education needs to be even more specialized.

For blind and deaf children, Maryland offers top-notch educations at the Maryland School for the Blind and Maryland School for the Deaf, both of which provide opportunities for those interested in donating their time, energy or financial assistance to worthy causes.

Located in Nottingham, touching (physically and metaphorically) both Baltimore County and Baltimore City, MSB is “one of the best schools for the blind in the country,” according to Michael Bina, who has been president of the school for eight years.

“Baltimore is rich in talent,” Bina said about those who might be interested in or have in the past volunteered at MSB.

“One of the reasons Baltimore is such a caring, giving community is the spirit we have of being a big city without being impersonal. Our human resource department accepts applications for volunteers, and we look at the [potential candidate’s] particular skill sets and interests.”

Being a residential school providing services to 200 on-site students as well as having an outreach program serving 1,300 students throughout the state, MSB grants volunteer opportunities to those willing to come to the campus itself as well as those wishing to work with the organization in closer proximity to their own community where the MSB is represented.

“Our kids benefit from diversity, people coming in from different backgrounds,” Bina said. “It’s the whole idea of people learning about different cultures, religions and languages.”

Though Bina said, “We don’t do the drives or capital campaigns or things like that,” he added that interested parties can look into volunteering for specialized weekend and summer programs — be they, say, sports or theatrical performances organized by the school — along with donating funds to the school’s website: marylandschoolfortheblind.org.

Bina also went so far as to offering up his email for any person wishing to learn more, adding, “The door is always open.”

That email address is michaelb@mdschblind.org.

For Bina, this is all a matter of “investing in community responsibility.”

The Maryland School for the Deaf, meanwhile, is ramping up “celebrations for its 150th year from August 2017,” according to an email from program coordinator Sarah-Jane Flook.

“What we would most value from readers would be their participation as players or sponsors at our annual golf tournament, which will likely take place in September 2017,” Flook continued.

“Similarly, we would welcome their participation in our Annual Giving Campaign, which will continue until June 30, 2017.”

Flook said that this year’s campaign concentration will be “the provision of Chromebooks for use by middle and high school students of the school.”

Donations can be sent to MSDF, P.O. Box 636, Frederick, MD 21705. Donations can also be submitted via PayPal (details available at MSD-Foundation.org).

Other opportunities for volunteering at or donating to the school include joining the MSD board, which meets five times a year (for more information, contact Flook at sarah@msd-foundation.org or 301-712-8921).

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