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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 1:53 pm | Overcast with Haze 60º


14th Record-A-Thon Finishes with a Record Flourish

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic is just $2,000 short of $65,000 goal, while drawing a record 350 guest readers

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic concluded its weeklong Record-A-Thon on Saturday after a flurry of activity throughout the six-day event. A record 350 guest readers participated, up from 276 last year. The organization raised $63,000 so far, just shy of its goal of $65,000.

“There wasn’t much down time,” said Tim Owens, RFB&D’s executive director. “We made a point of talking to each group that participated during Record-A-Thon, letting them know that their voices were going to give thousands of print disabled students access to the book they were reading.”

RFB&D is a national organization with a Santa Barbara chapter that provides audio textbooks to students who are visually impaired or have a learning disability like dyslexia. The books are read by volunteers and played back on special devices to allow easier access by the users.

“I wish I had access to RFB&D’s books when I was growing up,” remarked Stephen J. Cannell, who participated in reading his newest novel On The Grind on Wednesday. Cannell wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until he was 35. “There’s no telling how much further I could have gone,” he continued. Cannell was one of the lucky ones who persevered through his disability to become a well known actor, television producer and writer.

“This is such a wonderful service,” said author Selden Edwards, who joined Record-A-Thon on Thursday evening with a group of friends and teachers from Crane Country Day School. “I struggled with reading growing up,” he continued. “I don’t know if it is dyslexia or not, but I had a tough time of it. Even today I can only read about as fast as I speak — about 200 words a minute.” Edwards went from recording booth to recording booth with a big smile on his face as his friends read chapters from his critically acclaimed novel The Little Book.

Selden Edwards' 'The Little Book' was a big hit among Record-A-Thon readers.
Selden Edwards’ The Little Book was a big hit among Record-A-Thon readers. (Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic photo)

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic’s 14th annual Record-A-Thon began Monday with a tribute to Santa Barbara area firefighters. Both Santa Barbara fire Chief Ron Prince and Santa Barbara County fire Chief Tom Franklin attended with key members of their staff. Following their tribute, they read from the manual Fire Officer Principles and Practice,, which will be added to the RFB&D lending library as its 36th book on firefighting. “We have a high demand for these books from students who are studying to be firemen and women,” remarked RFB&D executive director Owens.

Other celebrity guests throughout the week included authors T.C. Boyle reading from his latest book, The Women; Jane Heller, reading from her Confessions of a She-Fan; Gloria Arenson, author of Procrastination Nation; and Cass Warner, author of The Brothers Warner. She was joined on her book by actors Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Darryl Hickman.

Other guest readers included the nonprofit Music Academy of the West, which participated in recording a biography on the school’s founder Lotte Lehmann called “I Never Sang for Hitler.”  Members of the board and staff of the Braille Institute read Out of Darkness, the biography of Louis Braille.

For T.C. Boyle, it was all about
For T.C. Boyle, it was all about The Women. (Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic photo)

Community groups that participated during Record-A-Thon included members of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, Rotaract Club of Santa Barbara and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. The employees of Deckers Outdoors, Horny Toad Activewear, Montecito Bank & Trust, Raytheon, SAGE Publications, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and Yardi SystemsYardi Systems also read from some 30 books that will soon be added to RFB&D’s library.

“All in all, this is probably the best Record-A-Thon ever,” concluded Owens. “We have so many people to thank, from our guest readers to our volunteers, board of directors, staff, donors and sponsors.”

The major sponsors for Record-A-Thon included the Towbes and Ann Jackson Foundations, Cox Communications, Elks Lodge of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians and Venoco.

Click here to make a donation to the Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. Click here for more information.

— Terry Keramaris represents Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

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