July Dime in Time Recipient: Boost Collaborative

Boost Collaborative is a local non-profit agency whose mission for the past 47 years has been to educate, employ, and support people with disabilities across the Palouse in order to promote their full participation in community life.

In March 2013 Boost Collaborative changed its name from Palouse Industries to better reflect the goals and mission of the agency. We serve families with our Children and Family Support Services where children from infancy to age three can receive speech and physical therapy, and families can get the support they need to ensure that their children have the best start to a successful life.

Our Employment Services division assists youth nearing graduation and adults with disabilities by providing pre-employment training and for individuals who are “job ready,” Boost helps them find good jobs providing them meaning, fulfillment and participation in society. Boost often continues on-the-job support for as long as it is needed. We have helped people get jobs at local universities, in construction, and businesses in the Pullman/Colfax and Moscow communities.

The Dime-In-Time grant will help Boost to provide better technology for people who have difficulty with verbal communication. For most people, telling someone else what you like, what you need, or how you feel is as simple as just speaking what is on your mind. But imagine having those feelings, or needing something, but not being able to put a clear, understandable voice to what you want to say. How much would a machine that, with a touch of an icon, converts your thoughts into understandable words be worth to you? Imagine being able to introduce yourself to others. “Hello, my name is………” Or, I would like to buy…” And most importantly, “Can I have an application for employment please.”

Being able to communicate connects us to other people and to society as a whole. Fortunately, technology has come a long way in a short time. Assistive communication software loaded onto an IPad type device can allow people to express themselves in ways they may not have thought possible, opening doors previously closed. Buying the hardware and software needed for a “talking machine” is expensive and can be a challenge to people struggling with tight budgets.

Thanks in part to the Moscow Co-Op’s Dime-In-Time grant Boost will purchase the technology to help some non-verbal people speak, giving them a voice, and a way to engage the world.