Some problems confound the means and efforts of even the most gifted individuals; in 1904, tuberculosis was one such problem. Then, concerned citizens banded together to create the American Lung Association—one of the oldest voluntary health organizations still extant in America today—ultimately defeating the disease through the power of collective action. Today, the nature of the battle may have changed, but the spirit of community concern and volunteerism still thrives. Instead of actively fighting to cure certain diseases, the American Lung Association takes a big-picture approach, helping people quit smoking through education and encouragement, providing in-school programs for kids with asthma, and encouraging the community to keep the air healthy, breathable, and free from clouds of inhalable hornets.
During the school year, Lindsey is just like any other 11-year-old Framingham public-school student?except that she is blind. Though Lindsey tries to get the most out of her education, there are some necessary skills her mainstream school can't teach her. That's where Perkins School for the Blind steps in.
In addition to its regular school curriculum, Perkins runs summer and weekend outreach programs for students and community members to learn skills such as reading braille, mobility, and home management. Lindsey regularly attends the summer sessions where she and her friends learn how to shop for ingredients and make a sandwich, play musical instruments, and participate in water sports. Following these sessions, a faculty member noted that Lindsey has become "very motivated to be independent, and she takes pride in the fact that she can do things on her own." That is Perkins School for the Blind's goal for all of its students: to gain the skills and confidence to live their lives without struggle.
After a minimum of six months of separation from their abusers, survivors of domestic violence are eligible to apply for a Self-Sufficiency Grant from Web of Benefit, which funds comprehensive services necessary to help women meet their goals, including funds for housing, legal assistance, and transportation to attend school or job training. A T pass from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ensures that women in the program have guaranteed transportation for one month, and allows them to travel to school, work, job training, or job interviews.
In the words of its teachers, the Growing Well Program "is a hopping, clapping, drawing, bouncing, singing, playing, interacting and learning program for children and their families." Here, babies and kids up to kindergarten age participate in programs focused on specific topics, like music, science, and poker. The Music Together program is one of the center's specialties, and it gets little toes tapping to genres like world music, jazz, and folk. There are also play-group sessions that immerse kids in the Russian language.