The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (GSF), a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing global awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the #1 genetic killer of young children, and supporting families impacted by SMA and other life-altering conditions, granted its 100th iPad through its Project Mariposa grant program this week; literally changing the lives of 100 people with SMA. On the heels of that milestone, GSF has committed to granting at least 100 additional iPads to those with severe disabilities in 2013.
In January 2012, GSF launched Project Mariposa with a simple mission of making the world more accessible to those with severe disabilities through targeted technology product grants. GSF’s initial goal was to grant 50 iPads to those with SMA in 2012. Due to the overwhelming need in the special needs community and because of generous public financial support for the program, GSF doubled that commitment during the year, granting 100 iPads to those with SMA in the last twelve months.
The iPad is literally life-changing for those with severe challenges, assisting with education, independence, and in some cases empowering people to communicate - to speak - for the first time in their lives. To date, GSF has granted iPads to SMA types I, II, and III, ages ranging from 1 year to 47 years old, four countries, and 32 states in the United States. The iPad touchscreen provides those with limited movement or dexterity the ability to freely navigate the device, its applications provide children and adults the tools to accomplish things like turn the pages of a book, paint, and play an instrument, and its extremely light weight affords them the stamina to live an independent life and achieve their dreams.
"Through our firsthand experience with our daughter, Gwendolyn, we saw what was possible with the iPad and we knew immediately that we wanted to provide iPads to others with challenging conditions,” said Victoria Strong, GSF co-founder. “To most of us an iPad is a nice-to-have luxury item but to those with conditions like SMA the iPad is literally making the seemingly impossible possible again. And that’s incredible. That’s wonderful. And that’s powerful."
GSF plans to continue expanding Project Mariposa beyond the 200 iPads and potentially to populations with other severe disabilities and conditions. To accomplish this goal, they are seeking official Project Mariposa Sponsors from private foundations, corporations, and large donors.
For more information on Project Mariposa, sponsorship opportunities, or to submit a grant application, please visit http://ProjectMariposa.com