History of A Touch of Understanding
Father-daughter team, Edward Ennis and Leslie DeDora, founded A Touch of Understanding in th early 1990's. Leslie began ATOU based on experiences with a disabled family member and many friends with disabilities. Leslie has many years of experience working with children with learning and physical disabilities as a tutor and in the public schools. This experience was the impetus for the vision of A Touch of Understanding.
Ed joined in following his retirement from a long and successful career in marketing management in both the public and private sectors. Ed and Leslie initially piloted the program under the name "Walk a Mile in My Shoes". After sixty successful presentations, they incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1996. Since the beginning, the message of A Touch of Understanding has been one of acceptance and respect for ALL individuals, with an emphasis on those with disabilities. Their dedication and leadership have attracted many accomplished volunteers, many of whom have disabilities themselves. Many others are retired from careers in education. Our volunteers range in age and experience from school students to retired individuals. All of our volunteers enjoy spending time with children.
ATOU has, to date, spoken to over 52,00 students in the Greater Sacramento Area. With an average of over 4,000 students each year enjoying the opportunity to experience the activity portion as well as the speaker portion of the program, ATOU will continue to grow and impact this area with its positive message.
Leslie DeDora and the ATOU team have been honored with the following awards:
Mr. Ed Ennis is the 2009 recipient of the SEPAC Exemplary Service Award:
"Ed Ennis, 82 years young, is the co-founder of A Touch of Understanding. In 1992, upon his retirement from state service, he began volunteering to create A Touch of Understanding. To date, he has been involved in disability-awareness presentations that have addressed more than 38,000 school children in the Greater Sacramento area. Ed has used his expertise in program development, volunteer recruitment, grant-writing, human resources, marketing, public relations and management. Through his efforts, A Touch of Understanding has become a sustainable agency serving children in Roseville and throughout the Greater Sacramento area."