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Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Ellis School's new partnership bolstering Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped's free services is a prime example of private-sector involvement leveraging public resources for greater good than could be achieved otherwise.

Melissa Dodge teaches French and English at the private Shadyside school and narrates and edits audiobooks as a volunteer for the library, which receives state and federal tax money. She arranged for classroom recording of Pennsylvania-focused books -- a program requirement.

As the young voice for the partnership's pilot phase, the Ellis faculty chose Zaynee Malik, 17. The junior's Pittsburgh Musical Theater background lends flair to her audiobook recordings.

The partnership is such an instant hit that Ellis already plans to offer a 10-day mini-course about audiobooks before this school year ends and will continue the program this fall.

Hopefully, that means more students will -- like Zaynee -- experience the joys of helping others who face challenges different from their own. And that more young, visually impaired readers will have more audiobooks newly available.

Kudos to those involved for blazing an exemplary trail across the public/private divide toward bigger, better benefits for all.

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