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South Valley Journal

Comcast and the USDB Foundation partner to help unique students

Oct 04, 2022 04:27PM ● By Peri Kinder
Serving more than 5,000 students statewide, the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind and
USDB’s Educational Support Services provide education and accessibility technology that make
a real difference in a child’s life.

Comcast, the largest home internet service provider in the country, has provided grant
funding to the USDB Education Foundation so these unique students can have the technological
needs vital for their education and growth. 

Assistive devices and digital learning provide sight and sound that connect children to the
world and improve their overall communication. Use of these assistive devices gives students a
higher chance of success as a confident and independent adult.

“Comcast has been a really great community partner this year,” said Amy Zaharis, USDB
Education Foundation executive director. “They gave us funds that support the students with
assisted technology. There’s a lot of awesome technology our students can use that helps them,
and they need a lot of different things, and those things are expensive.”

While the state provides funding to cover the basics for the campuses and programs at
USDB, sometimes families need help procuring hearing aids, glasses, white canes, magnification
devices, unique technology and other assistive devices. With Comcast’s donation to the program,
several deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and children who are blind and visually impaired can
get the resources they need.

It is imperative that students have technology and assistive devices to help bridge the gap
caused by their hearing or vision restriction.
 
“If you can believe it or not, hearing aids are not covered by insurance,” Zaharis said.
“We do assist families with children who are hard of hearing.. Hearing aids are really expensive
and we help some kids with purchasing those.”

The national grant from Comcast supports digital literacy training to help students with
the technology. Students who are blind can learn how to access apps and software, plus have
access to smart glasses equipped with an HD camera to magnify a computer screen or classroom.

The USDB provides overhead and administrative resources for the foundation which
allows 100% of donations to go directly to students. 

With campuses in Salt Lake City, Ogden and Springville, and one in the works for St.
George, education for these students is amplified through outreach programs. Most children
attend their neighborhood schools and then are taught by outreach teachers.

“Everyone deserves to have the same advantages and many of the children the foundation
supports might not be able to,” said Ioana Platon, Comcast community impact specialist. “They
might not be as likely to pursue educational or career pursuits they don’t think they can do. With
our grant, we help provide tech and assistive devices used to bridge the gap.”

Comcast is focused on accessibility and providing the highest possible experiences for all
of its customers. This grant will help students learn how to use the different technologies and
help them live better lives.

For more information about the USDB Foundation, visit www.usdbfoundation.org.

“We love to have community partners and Comcast has been such a great community
partner for us this year,” Zaharis said. “We hope that continues because it’s great to have
community support, just to help our kids with the extra needs they have.”