An Extraordinary Hope

By Thomas Jakobs November 03, 2010

An Extraordinary Hope

By: Thomas Jakobs

Diane and I started InvoTek 22 years ago because it seemed like there was a need for engineers to help people with disabilities. From the beginning, our goal has been to get technology to the people that need it. For the first several years, our challenge was to find funding for developing new devices. We spent years – literally – learning how to get proposals funded and how to compete for grants. As we experienced some success, we tried everything we could think of to get the technology developed through grants to the people we wanted to help. We went to trade shows, worked through distributors, and partnered with other companies. After years of trying, it became clear that funding was our main obstacle. The technologies that people needed to be more independent do not have consistent funding streams and insurance usually will not pay for them.

At the same time that we were learning that the funding issue was paramount, we volunteered time with folks in our community and we started to see other challenges. People need more than just equipment, they need help integrating technology into their lives – and no funding agency seems to pay for that. We also found that people who had clear goals for why they want to use technology made better use of it. People who just “want to use the computer” run out of steam quickly and usually don’t have the fortitude to work through the limitations of assistive technology – which are many.

So we have learned a lot over 22 years! We have maintained our focus to get technology to the people that need it. But the challenge persists.

The Be Extraordinary program specifically addresses the need that we see. It requires people to have a clear life goal. It funds all of what they need for success – not just the convenient parts. And it values the skills of the people we work with by asking that they use those skills to give back to the community.

My hope is that you will join with us to make Be Extraordinary a success. The folks we work with can’t succeed without your financial support. We need every family member to pitch in, every friend, every engineer, every caring person. Our hope is in our community, made up of all of us, that together we will make a difference.

The last 22 years have taught me that, by ourselves, InvoTek cannot do this. What do you think? Is this too crazy? Will you help as much as you can to make this a reality? Lots of people tell us how “cool” Be Extraordinary is. I’m hoping you are someone who will follow-through by helping.