Jerry Perl discovered Perkins by chance as a college student in Boston in the 1970s. In 2006, he sat on the committee for Perkins’ first-ever capital campaign.
How did you get involved with Perkins?
In 1973, I was at a friend’s place and across the yard were some kids playing basketball. I walked over, because I played and coached basketball, and I was stunned to see they were blind and pretty talented. I was so moved by it, I visited Perkins a day later and asked if they needed volunteers.
What inspires you to keep giving?
I just always had fun at Perkins. I volun- teered there for about a year. I taught basketball, gave swimming lessons, read and took kids to hockey games. One of my favorite times ever was 36 years ago: I brought Ray Charles to Perkins to perform a concert. I was so amazed that these kids could do what they could do, so I’ve continued to stay in touch.
You’ve supported our transition programs. What draws you to those efforts?
These kids need a place to work like everyone else. I’ve hired people in the past who have multiple disabilities. If every employer just gave one person a chance the world would be a better place.
What are you looking forward to now?
I hope to retire soon, and hope to have more time to get further involved with Perkins. Time with the kids, that’s really the fun part.