I have two incredible ways for you to love your neighbor this summer, your neighbor being anyone in the world. These are really unique opportunities that will not only change a life (eventually Aidan’s I hope) but will also engage you in a new way. As a bonus, your teenager who spends too much time at the computer can do these as well.
1. Donate your voice. Weird but easy. Aidan’s talker has given him words and changed his behavior because he has a way to communicate. There are a limited amount of pre-programmed voices to choose from on his talker. Currently he’s using a young American voice called “Josh.”
Wouldn’t it be great if he could speak in his own voice? Well, that’s becoming a reality. This is how it works. Aidan records his voice so the good people at VocaliD know what to aim for. Many many other people record their voices (that’s you). They mix those voices together and use Aidan’s tone and tembre to create his own unique voice. Check out this Ted Talk and read through the information on their campaign page. It sounds amazing.
It only takes 5 hours of reading to give someone their own voice. I’m especially excited because the creators of Speak for Yourself will be working to bring this to their platform so when costs come down, this could be a reality for Aidan. They need all kinds of voices and all kinds of accents. I’m looking at you retired Irish folks!
2. Read scientific articles and cure a disease. I know it sounds intimidating but stay with me. Becoming a “citizen scientist” is remarkably easy and incredibly important. Basically, you read scientific articles and follow directions about what to highlight. You do NOT have to understand what you’re reading. We take care of the more mundane work which allows the actual scientists to do actual science. High schoolers have already gotten involved and I’m emailing Liam’s teacher about this. You can too.
The first campaign is centered around NGLY1. This is rare genetic disorder and the parents who have helped put it on the map have been incredibly helpful to our PURa gene group. I’ve contacted the people at Mark2Cure, including the person in the following TED talk, and we need more people power including software developers and domain experts to help define research questions, document sets, and make use of the output of the system in order to become their next campaign. So, if that’s you, pretty please contact me. For now, get highlighting. Check it out:
So, which will you do? Read? Talk? Both? I’d love to know. Don’t forget to pass this post along and invite your friends to join you. I know time is often more precious than money but isn’t it wonderful to have the opportunity to change a life and not have to write a check? To give to someone else and add to your story as well? Make sure you tell me which adventure you choose!