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Inclusive Technology of Washington Non-Profit Startup Costs

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Hi, my name is Ruth, and I'm fundraising for a newly forming non-profit named Inclusive Technology of Washington. Below is information about the non-profit, and why it is so important to the community....

Proficiency in technology skills is paramount to the success of individuals in today’s world.

The number of organizations offering technology classes and other STEM opportunities to children and youth continues to grow. Still, a great disparity exists between the opportunities afforded to members of the community at large, compared to underserved communities such as individuals with special needs, girls seeking technology skills and leadership opportunities, and individuals in inner-city and rural locations (in which a higher predominance of lower income and people of color reside).

There is a lack of available funding sources reaching these underserved communities in the area of technology. Therefore, a group of concerned parents are starting a non-profit called Inclusive Technology of Washington, and we need your help! Inclusive Technology of Washington is vitally needed to help bridge the gap between these underserved communities and the technology resources that they require to be successful in today’s world.

Inclusive Technology of Washington is arising as a non-profit successor corporation to the for-profit company Engage Thru Tech (ETT). ETT was founded by Ruth Bacha, an occupational therapist, along with her husband John Steven (“Steve”) Bacha, an electrical engineer with a strong background in project management and systems administration. Together they are guardians of their adult daughter “Annie,” as well as Steve’s sister “Debbie,” both with developmental delays.

Annie and Debbie participated in Girl Scouts in their younger years (along with a mix of others with special needs and those without), and Ruth was their troop leader. Ruth received the Vivian Caver Diversity Award by Girl Scouts Totem Council (now referred to as Girl Scouts of Western Washington) for her inclusivity in the troop. The integrated troop that Ruth led was also referred to as a model organization in the book “Supporting Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Recreation,” which is utilized as a college textbook for classes on the topic. Ruth was also called upon by Girl Scouts of Western Washington to spearhead the writing of an inclusion handbook which included a document that Ruth contributed large sections of the writing, as well as video support segments which Ruth produced with the help of local experts (behavior specialists, school principals, physicians, and self-advocates with disabilities).
Later, as Annie and Debbie grew beyond the age levels of Girl Scouts, Ruth formed Engage Thru Tech (originally known as Dovetail Associates, LLC), in order to serve not only individuals with special needs, but also girls in technology, and other underserved communities who are limited in their abilities to access technology resources.

These priorities will continue in the non-profit Inclusive Technology of Washington
Inclusive Technology of Washington serves groups that have limited or no access to resources or that are otherwise disenfranchised. These groups may include people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged; people with limited English proficiency; geographically isolated or educationally disenfranchised people; people of color as well as those of ethnic and national origin minorities; women and children; individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs; and seniors.

Take, for example, technology classes for individuals with intellectual and developmental delays. The vast majority of classes offered for these individuals in the community at large consist of either art, cooking, dance, or various sporting activities. They are generally offered by parks and recreation departments, or other sporting-based organizations such as Outdoors for All or Special Olympics. There are a scattered repertoire of more artistic and dance-type organizations offering programs in various communities, but none who are offering technology-based classes.
Technology-based classes require a much higher instructor to student ratio. Typically, an Engage Thru Tech class has 2-4 students in it; we usually split the class into two sessions or add a second instructor if it grows much larger than four in size. Because of this, Inclusive Technology of Washington is in a unique position (through donor support) to help bridge the gap financially to allow the class sizes to remain small for students to be successful. General funding sources (such as respite funds available to many people with special needs to take various classes of their choice) are not compensating organizations in a manner that factors in the small class sizes necessary to meet the needs of these unique populations. This leaves many individuals with no access to skills necessary for today’s world.

Take for example a young girl entering the third grade named Tenise (not her real name), who lived in a rural community and experiences developmental delays including fine motor challenges. Although she had limited exposure to assistive technology, she was frustrated with her previous encounters with creative writing. She (and her teachers) were on the verge of giving up on her ability to express herself in written language. After a short time of 1:1 sessions with our instructors, Tenise was able to produce a sophisticated creative writing project, thus renewing her confidence in herself, and “proving her teachers wrong” about her limitations.

More recently, Engage Thru Tech acquired funding through the Dan Thompson fund to offer scholarships for those with developmental delays. These scholarships allowed for group classes for individuals with developmental delays who do not qualify for respite, and 1:1 sessions with those for whom group classes are not appropriate. Although this grant money is due to expire at the end of June, Inclusive Technology of Washington is in a unique position (through donor support) to continue the scholarship program offered through the Dan Thompson fund for those individuals with no other means to pay for the classes or 1:1 sessions.

Take for example a young adult woman named Brianna (not her real name). She uses a wheelchair for mobility, and the only consistent motor skills in her body is the moving of her eyes. Although she had graduated from the public school system with a tablet that utilized eye gaze technology, no one had ever shown her any use for it other than communication. Through sessions with our instructors, she is now learning a variety of computer-based software programs, and her future is full of hope!

Inclusive Technology will also help continue the work of Engage Thru Tech in empowering girls (through Girl Scout programming), as well as children and youth in inner city and rural areas (no matter their gender) to grow in their technology and leadership skills. These underserved communities are also greatly “lagging behind” their peers, resulting in a feeling of hopelessness.

Take for example a Girl Scout troop that meets in an inner-city region. Their troop leader invited us to hold a series of workshops with them, knowing that the various troop members had already begun to see themselves as “not good with technology.” Although these girls were only in the fourth and fifth grade, they had already experienced a disparity between their own “tech savviness” and the world around them. Our instructors were able to help these girls create a public service announcement video about stereotypes. Their project not only gave voice to their experiences of the world, but it also bolstered confidence in their ability to engage with technology in a successful manner.

Or for example a boy named Matthew (not his real name). He has dreamed of being a coder, but he lives in a rural area, and neither his parents nor other families around him have careers in technology. And because he did not experience much in the way of technology at home, his experiences with technology in his classes at school caused him see himself as inferior to his peers in this area. But he attended some of our technology camps last summer, which has not only renewed his passion for coding, but has bolstered his self esteem that this dream is within reach.

All of these success stories have been made possible through small class sizes or 1:1 sessions, funded by grant moneys and the generosities of those willing to “bridge the gap” in funding. Inclusive Technology of Washington is planning a fundraiser in May that hopes to secure the funding for these important programs moving forward. But we need start-up costs right now, to even bring us to a point where we can initiate our first fundraiser. That is where you can help us out! Please donate to this GoFundMe campaign, so that we can help make the dreams of many who have been disenfranchised a reality!

Please note that the 501C ID number is pending. The current GoFundMe funds are being managed by the founder.

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Donations 

  • Kim Tallarida
    • $100 
    • 21 d
  • Mesfin Chere
    • $100 
    • 24 d
  • Francesse Bastien
    • $50 
    • 26 d
  • Lam Sam
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Lam Sam
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
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Organizer

Steve and Ruth Bacha
Organizer
Bellevue, WA

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