"In first grade, I was told I was dyslexic," begins Joshua
, a 12 year old from Florida. "I could not read or understand
the written word until 3rd grade. In 3rd grade, it would take me all week to learn to spell my spelling words correctly and sometimes I still could not get them right no matter how hard I tried. I always had to work harder than other students."
At his young age, he is wise beyond his years. Joshua knows what it's like to be the child who struggles. The child who is behind. The child who wants, more than anything else, to be just like everyone else. The child who wants to learn.
"Even though my reading skills have improved greatly (thanks to multi-sensory instruction), writing and spelling remain very hard," Josh continues.
"Audio books opened a whole new world for me and allowed me to enjoy books without stress."
For that reason, Josh decided that for his 13th birthday, his Bar Mitzvah year, he wanted to literally open the world to others by raising money to help Learning Ally support more students and adults who have print disabilities -- through community events and webinars, as well as an online library of 82,000 human narrated, accessible audiobooks.
"They've helped me because I have trouble reading. Audiobooks are not cheating. It's just a different way of reading a book," says Josh. His mother Jennifer adds, through tears, "the gift of reading, coming from a child who couldn't read ...it's such a wonderful thing!"
He is very close to reaching his goal of $2,500,
and many of the donations and messages are coming from former teachers! "Josh, I am so proud of you and the young man you have become, " writes Kristeen Clark, one of his teachers. "Your determination and motivation to succeed will continue to take you far in life and help you achieve your goals. You are an amazing young man! Congratulations on your Bar Mitzvah, and dream big!"
His response: "Thank you very much. You are one of the teachers who helped me succeed and a great reading teacher. Love, Josh."
If you would like to help Josh reach his goal, donate here
. His project ends March 12, 2016. As one last thought, Josh says "give to the cause because dyslexic kids are very smart, but they might need a little extra support and a push to succeed."
Love this idea and want to do it for your own life-event?
You can create a donation page, just like Joshua's, at this link
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that serves students and adults who have print disabilities like dyslexia or visual impairment. We offer both in person and online based events, a student-to-student mentorship program called YES!, and a library of over 80,000 human narrated audiobooks including textbooks. Consider donating