Since launching Makers Making Change as an initiative in 2017, we have been able to grow our program and broaden our network of volunteer makers, disability professionals, and assistive technology users alike. As we have grown, we have been able to fund more build events, participate in more international conferences, and provide hundreds of quality assistive devices for free or at a significantly reduced price to Canadians, Americans, and even people with disabilities and organizations across the globe. For more on a recent international delivery, check out Jing’s story (opens in a new window).
In order to continue to provide our services nationwide, we have refreshed our website to reflect the new solutions we hope to bring to life at Makers Making Change! Most noticeably, we have replaced our Connect page (a responsive map that showed where local makers and users were located) with a live forum. This decision has enabled us to connect makers across the globe with people seeking open-source solutions, and has also allowed our community of makers to support each other by offering real-time advice and sharing design files.
Our forum was inspired by feedback we received from members of the community who felt that communication was an area for improvement. What we love about this new forum is that it’s publicly accessible and the information shared is completely free! When you are ready to either submit a request, make a build, or submit an idea for a new assistive device design, you can monitor the progress of your post on our forum.
Another of our new features is a more nuanced device library that enables users to sort assistive devices by key features such as: cost to build, level of skill required to build, and time. These filters can additionally be used by users who want to know which devices are best suited for their wellness needs.
We have also added a media library to our home page to share some of our favorite moments with you, such as our Powered to Game event with EA’s Vancouver team. This event proved to be the first accessible gaming tournament within Canada, and we look forward to pioneering other event firsts soon. In order to do that, we know we’ll need help from our wonderful volunteers, which is why we wanted to improve our services for those interested in helping out. We have created a Volunteer portal that details the ways you can get involved with our organization. If you are located in a region where we do not currently have an office, we hope you’ll consider starting a chapter of your own.
Our chapters program, launched in late 2019, has taken off in both Canada and the U.S. For makers interested in supporting a chapter, we have also added resources on our site that aim to educate. We have linked known 3D printers on a Google map, listed similar organizations, and created one-pagers to guide communication between makers and people with disabilities. Chapters also have a designated place in our forum, so be sure to check out their events postings next time you’re logged in!
As we look forward to more wonderful opportunities for Makers, we are pleased to announce that we have updated our News and Events portal. Similar to the Assistive Devices library, we have increased our searchability for both articles and events to increase convenience. We have also added a calendar feature for events so you can look to the past and future. This new feature allows for direct download to Google calendar and Apple iCal, which is just one of the ways we have made our site more mobile-friendly.
The Makers Making Change team thanks all our members for their continued support, and we hope that you will enjoy our new site as much as we do. To provide feedback on the site and forum, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on what’s in store for Makers Making Change, please subscribe to our newsletter (opens in a new window) to stay updated!