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RoAnn Costin has big dreams for Perkins International

A lifelong belief in education is what drives this Trustee to support Perkins International’s Educational Leadership Program. As a child, RoAnn Costin was deeply moved by the life of Helen Keller.

Headshot of RoAnn Costin

A lifelong belief in education is what drives this Trustee to support Perkins International’s Educational Leadership Program.

As a child, RoAnn Costin was deeply moved by the life of Helen Keller. It changed her perception of what people with disabilities could accomplish and helped shape her own lifelong belief in the importance of a quality education. That’s why even today, when discussing her support of Perkins’ international work, she can’t help but reference the story of history’s most famous deafblind person.

“I feel like we’re going to find the next Helen Keller,” she says. “That child could be anywhere in the world, so I’m inspired by the work Perkins does internationally.”

In particular, RoAnn is drawn to the Educational Leadership Program (ELP). Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the ELP brings educators from around the world to Perkins for nine months of intensive study. They then return home to use what they learned at Perkins to uplift children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities and provide expert leadership in their communities. As a result, every day, in every region of the world, a child with disabilities is able to learn thanks to the help of a Perkins-trained teacher.

“The ELP Program gives me so much hope,” says RoAnn. “The 100-year journey of this program is a testimonial to the excellence in leadership at Perkins, the dedication of all its teachers and the commitment of those who leave their homes to come and learn from us for the sake of children in their countries.”

Looking forward

RoAnn is excited to see how graduates will utilize technology to keep in touch with one another, share best practices and educate children remotely. At the same time, she’s thrilled to use her own voice to continue championing the work done through the program, on campus and around the world.

“I am focusing my efforts on expanding the program’s group of friends and backers,” she says. “Without support, this work just wouldn’t be possible, and there’s still so much work to be done.”

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Tiled portraits of: Sophia Hopkins, circa 1880; Edward E. Allen, circa 1890; Julia Ward Howe, 1902; Dennis Reardon, undated; Joel W. Smith, circa 1895; Anne Sullivan, circa 1887; William Hickling Prescott, undated; and Gazella Bennett, circa 1895.
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