Delivering Perkins Pandas for the holidays

Hillary Kleck wants to donate a Perkins Panda Literacy Kit to students who are blind in every state to share the joy of reading

A mother and daughter reading a Perkins Panda book on the couch.

Hillary Kleck and her daughter, Madilyn, enjoying the Perkins Panda Literacy Kit. Kleck and her nonprofit, We Perceive, are raising money to give kits away to children in every state.

December 15, 2015

This holiday season, Perkins School for the Blind parent Hillary Kleck wants to give the gift of braille literacy to children in every state. But she can’t do it alone. 

Kleck and her nonprofit, We Perceive, are currently raising money to purchase 50 Perkins Panda Literacy Kits, which she plans to deliver to children in homes, schools and therapy centers. She hopes to raise $3,000 by January 2016 to fund the project.

Each Perkins Panda kit contains a large stuffed Panda bear and a collection of audio, large-print and beginner braille books that bring his adventures to life. The kit, which also includes an activity guide, a cassette with songs and a backpack, introduces braille to children from birth to 8 years of age and teaches fundamental literacy skills.

“We thought it was the perfect all-around toy to feature this year in our drive,” said Kleck. “It’s such a great resource for kids. It’s incredibly multi-sensory with audio, visual and hands-on objects for a tactile experience.”

We Perceive, which Kleck co-founded, works on behalf of children with visual impairments all over the nation to ensure they have the opportunity to participate in their local communities.

We Perceive members have helped parents apply for financial assistance to buy iPads for children to use in the classroom, or advocate for audio description services at their local theaters. Last year, We Perceive donated accessible toys and books to kids in the Arkansas Early Intervention Program and The Blind Children’s Center in Los Angeles.

“We’re looking to fill in the gaps across the country and connect people with one another,” said Kleck. “Our mission is to share resources and information on a local level.”

Kleck helped launch We Perceive in part to support families living in rural areas, where resources for children with visual impairments can be few and far between.

As a new mom living in Arkansas, Kleck recalls constantly Googling answers to common questions about parenting a child with a visual impairment. She quickly recognized the need for an organization that could connect parents like her with resources and information that would help their children.

“As a parent you can spend a lot of time researching — I know that’s how I felt,” she said. “We try to simplify things.”

Visit the We Perceive fundraising page to donate a Perkins Panda kit for a student or classroom in your state.