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Date Posted: 15:30:21 05/27/15 Wed
Author: shirley walker
Subject: Leaving the world a better place

Recently I was holding a professional photo of the Roosevelt graduating class of 1954 – my brother’s. I hated to just toss it, but couldn’t imagine any other reasonable fate, until I remembered that Dave Agresti has amassed a huge collection of photos and memorabilia from Central New York. I thought perhaps he could save me from having to throw it out, so I emailed him – courtesy of the CTHS website directory. He agreed to accept either the actual photo or a digital copy. I was quite relieved.

I knew that Dave had a checkered past and that he was a real “up from his own bootstraps” success – having achieved his PhD and served as a professor and a major administrator in numerous criminal justice agencies in Florida. I also knew that he had a penchant for puzzles and such – a reflection of his eclectic interests. But in responding to my request, I found out about yet another remarkable interest, and am including here an excerpt from his correspondence.

I am not inclined toward political or religious discussions – and think that even the most persuasive and heartfelt positions rarely generate any substantive change in others, but do think that the forum can serve to build bridges and connect us to each other. I’ve been awed by Kathy’s poetry, and moved by Denny’s outreach efforts with his church, and suspect that there are others who have contributed to the world with the spirit of volunteerism and altruism. Those are the stories I’d love to see posted, though few will match the creativity of Dave’s project:

"I started another interest that ties into my coin collecting hobby. I've always had an interest in "foreign" coins as it expanded my understanding of the world. Each of my 5 grand kids have coins from about 240 countries to expand their horizon. Several years ago I came up with another brain fart, that is to put together world coins for blind kids. We are used to the round metal coins of the U. S., but worldwide they have a greater diversity in coinage. I've worked with several blind persons to create a system of touch to differentiate coins. Besides round ones, there are (6-8-10-12-14-16) scalloped, (3-4-5-6-8-10-12) sided and holed coins. Our U. S. coins are non-magnetic, but many countries use magnetic metal. I give each blink kid a small magnet to determine that characteristic. Also there are aluminum coins. Blind kids learn that pennies and nickels have a smooth rim and dimes and quarters have reeded rims. Some coins are thick and others wafer thin. As to size, I provide dime and quarter plastic tubes so that they can differentiate small, medium and large coin sizes.

I'm working with the Florida Dept. of Blind Services to provide 1,000 packets of 6 coins, one from each continent, for kids on Florida's west coast. While girls are not typically interested in coin collecting, they do have an interest in the sense of touch of
these coins and in learning about far away places. Blind Services type up the name of the continent, country and list of each of the 6 coins' characteristics using Braille writing."

Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

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