||Portrait of a volunteer: Cristina
Poscablo enjoys her work as a volunteer reader for RFB&D. Of
her stints in the NIH studio, she says, "Time goes by so quickly!
I wish I didn't have to leave."
You might never guess that a little recording studio can be found
tucked away in the basement of Bldg. 31, offering a volunteer opportunity
for NIH employees. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, a nonprofit
organization that provides recorded textbooks for students with
print disabilities, established a satellite studio there 5 years
ago. With headquarters in Princeton, N.J., RFB&D units in cities
around the country rely on more than 5,800 volunteers to produce
recorded textbooks in all subject areas.
The Washington, D.C., unit, located at 5225 Wisconsin Ave., NW,
hosts about 400 volunteers weekly who read, direct the recordings,
prepare books for production and do a variety of other jobs. In
recent years, the organization has been faced with a much greater
demand for high-level science texts than can be fulfilled at the
main studio. To help meet this demand, RFB&D established the recording
space at NIH for the convenience of scientists and medical experts
who can record college and post-graduate-level science texts. NIH
volunteer readers fill a gap by sharing their science and medical
Longtime volunteer and current board secretary Dr. Henry Metzger,
scientist emeritus at NIAMS, first heard about RFB&D through a
board member who put him in contact with Celia Hooper, special
assistant for communication in the Office of Intramural Research.
Hooper and others were recording books in the first temporary studio
"The project of recording biomedical and related technical books
at NIH seemed like such a perfect match that I started working
with the staff of RFB&D to get support for a bit of dedicated space
so we could increase our hours of recording," said Hooper. "With
the help of Dr. Michael Gottesman and the Office of Equal Opportunity
and Diversity Management, a permanent space was finally established."
Cristina Poscablo, a post-baccalaureate trainee who works in the
Laboratory of Mammalian Genes and Development, NICHD, is a new
volunteer in Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic's NIH recording
program. After an hour a week of training for 3 weeks, she is ready
to read on her own.
"We take for granted what is so second nature to us," Poscablo
said. "We do a lot of our learning through reading. For the blind
and dyslexic, it's not so easy.
This is such a great opportunity
to give them another avenue for learning...to gain the same knowledge
that I've been able to learn and enjoy."
|Science Readers Needed
RFB&D's most critical need is for specialists
such as chemists, physicists, physicians, computer scientists
and mathematicians. It provides all necessary training on recording
equipment and asks for a 1-hour per week commitment for a minimum
of 6 months. If you can help, contact Kathryn Sparks at (202)
244-8990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poscablo heard about the recording studio in Bldg. 31 through
a friend in her lab who also volunteers. She is currently reading
a college- level laboratory book on human anatomy and physiology
and is excited about volunteering her time so close to her place
of work. During her years at Rutgers University, she enjoyed volunteering
at the local rescue squad. In recent months — with moving
to D.C. and getting settled in a new job — she hasn't had
much spare time. "It's been about a year since I've been able to
volunteer regularly and I'm glad to be doing it again. I love using
my expertise in sciences and math to help those who have difficulty