Making…an Accessible World

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By Dot Cannon: Public Speaker & New-Media Reporter, Dot Cannon: Public Speaker, and New-Media Reporter. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Makers Making Change Program Coordinator Zee Kesler in an outdoor park

Makers Making Change Community Coordinator Zee Kesler.
(Photo courtesy of The Neil Squire Society, and used with permission.)

Makers Making Change is expanding their network of creativity and empowerment. And they’d like to invite you to bring your maker skills and join them.

Since late 2019, they’ve been opening new chapters. They need both Community Champion volunteers and Chapter Leaders as they continue to grow.

Makers Making Change, which is a program of Canada’s nonprofit Neil Squire Society, connects makers with people with disabilities to create affordable, open-source assistive technology. How this works: the “client” looks on the MMC website. If they see a device they need, they can be connected with a maker who can create it. If there is no current technology to make a current situation more accessible, the client can request something that solves a specific problem. Or, a maker can submit a new idea for an assistive device!

Toy hacks, laser-cut signature guides, 3D printed adaptive switches, and, of course, The Neil Squire Society’s flagship technology, the LipSync mouth-control mouse, have all been among their innovations. Generally, these devices away to community members who need them.

And their “community” is now the world.

Even before the pandemic, they had begun expanding their network. They opened multiple new chapters in Canada, and three new ones in the U.S. Volunteers can choose to lead a chapter (and there’s a brand-new one in Boston that will be ready to go as soon as a Chapter Leader comes on board!), help with making technology, connect with “clients” who need the devices, or a number of other tasks.

Going virtual

Now, of course, with the pandemic, everything is online. Which means schools and homeschooling parents can also involve their students as part of a regular curriculum. Monthly, Makers Making Change hosts an online information session for anyone who’d like to know more.

Zee Kesler is the Community Coordinator at Makers Making Change. We talked about some of the exciting ways Makers Making Change is growing since our 2019 interview, where they’re going with their new online format and the areas in which they’d most like to get new volunteers involved.

On this edition of Over Coffee®, you will hear:
  • How Makers Making Change has taken their programs virtual;
  • What they’re beginning to do, with their online “builds” and hackathons in the work;
  • The ways Makers Making Change is expanding with their new chapters (in both Canada and the U.S.!)
  • Some of the opportunities Makers Making Change offers, including their free online courses and tutorials, available for both schools and homeschoolers;
  • How one school is adapting Makers Making Change’s tutorials into their curriculum, and how that can be adapted in your area;
  • How to get involved by either starting a chapter, as a maker or just in general;
  • The types of volunteers which Makers Making Change needs most, currently;
  • An opportunity, right now, in the Boston area!;
  • The story of one of the best adaptive technologies Zee has seen, which makes gaming accessible;
  • One of Zee’s best creative challenges, in adapting the programs during the pandemic;
  • Some of the new innovations Makers Making Change is creating in response to COVID-19.

338 episodes