SOL 22: Overwhelmed With Love

I had been debating for months. Probably tossing the idea around for a year. Ok. It’s been 3 years.

Should I or shouldn’t I? The budget is not unlimited and it’s quite expensive.

Looking at my inventory, I knew it wasn’t in the cards. So many other things needed to take priority. Again.

It’s OK.

It’s OK. 
I can always put it off for another year.
It’s such a luxury anyway.
I can keep asking others.
Maybe I won’t call in every favor by the time I finally take the plunge and just buy it.

But then I remembered I’ve seen others collecting donations for such things. They’ve posted their campaigns on The Facebook for friends and family and even complete strangers to help fund such extravagances.

Should I do that?  
Is it tacky?
Is it like begging?

I decided to just do it. I logged in and let my creative juices flow. I wrote about how it wasn’t for me but for my students. They needed this. I was just going to be the operator. The total was $700. Well, it was $713 to be exact. I pressed share and then waited. It who process took me 45 minutes. 3 years of back-and-forth and I did this in 45 minutes.

Just a few hours later and my phone dinged. A donation came through from Massachusetts. Then another two from neighbors who share a bus stop and a love of reading. A couple of aunts and a fake friend jumped in with some money. My sister sent in som cash. And a perfect anonymous stranger from California cleared out the last of the requirements. Each gift was matched by the Valhalla Foundation.

Every time my phone dinged, my eyes welled up with tears. I couldn’t process what was happening so quickly. In under 24 hours I had moved from worried contemplation, to requesting help, to verifying my address for delivery. And by 4:00 today, 3/5 pieces were delivered.

I am humbled by the outpouring of generosity. I cannot stop getting emotional every time I think of it. With this gift, I’ll be able to create keyguards for my students’ augmentative or alternate communication devices in just 3-4 hours for under $2. Pricing them out from a vendor, it is $126.90 and 2-3 weeks. It’s just not sustainable.

A $126.90 keyguard make from acrylic takes 2-3 weeks.

But now, with then generous gift of a 3D printer and 4 different color filaments, I can custom design and print similar keyguards in the morning then install them in the afternoon.

A $2 3D printed keyguard designed and printed in just 3-4 hours.

I’ll be using a tutorial from volksswitch.org to custom design and print each item on the printer recommended on the same blog. It is set to be delivered tomorrow or Monday. I’m still processing all this.

To all those who found it in their hearts to share my project, thank you. To all this who found it in their wallets to donate, thank you. Your kindness is a gift not just to me, but to my students. We are all forever grateful.

I am writing for the 15th annual Slice of Life challenge presented by Two Writing Teachers.

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