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Sponsored organization
Understanding Our Differences
Classmate sponsor
Jeff and Marcia Herrmann
Organization description
Understanding Our Differences (UOD) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to educate communities to value and respect people of all abilities, through school-based interactive disability-awareness programs. The goal is to foster a society that includes people with disabilities – who, at 20 percent of the US population, make up the largest minority group in the country. Since 1978, Understanding our Differences volunteers have regularly been presenting its programs to students in grades 3-5 in our home district of Newton, MA, and in other Massachusetts communities. The lessons increase students’ understanding of a range of disabilities and chronic medical conditions, with visual presentations, hands-on activities, and speakers with disabilities discussing their experiences and answering questions. Accurate information about disabilities makes the difference between discrimination and acceptance, and Understanding Our Differences teaches children – at a young age when they are open and receptive – to be allies, not bullies.

Jeff and Marcia Herrmann (‘73/’74) have been passionate volunteers and supporters of UOD and its mission for decades. Marcia is a Past President of the Board of Directors and continues to serve on the Board.
Project update
In adjusting to the extreme challenges of the COVID-19 educational environment, Understanding Our Differences remains absolutely committed to its mission and to the importance of delivering its educational content to students wherever they may be learning. The organization has been developing online versions of its 10 program units to present to students remotely, whether in hybrid or distance-learning models. This pivot to online education is critical to ensure continued successful delivery of the program in current districts, while also making it easier to reach students, families and teachers beyond the current Greater Boston footprint. UOD is planning for students across the state, and eventually nationwide, to gain the understanding that will lead them to constructively accept and integrate people with disabilities into their personal and work lives.

Understanding Our Differences is seeking help in achieving these goals from interested individuals with the following skill sets:

•Expertise in marketing for educational programs and products

•Expertise in creative educational uses of the Zoom environment

•Connections in the disability community, so that we can feature speakers in presentations to students and/or to adults at special events, without geographical limits

•Expertise in producing effective and powerful virtual events

•Connections to foundations interested in incorporating a disability lens across their grant making
Project contact
Jeff and Marcia Herrmann
Project contact email
Project location
Newton, MA

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