Thursday, October 7, 2021

Sisters Sophie and Grace Vignato are pouring all their crafting, culinary, and creative skills into their quest to raise dyslexia awareness and funds for dyslexia research and services.

On Oct. 4, the pair presented another impressive donation to the Iowa Reading Research Center for the cause that is most important and most personal to them. Grace, 13, and Sophie, 11, have dyslexia. Their donation will go toward funding services at the IRRC such as the assistive technology consultation service which provides tailored appointments for students with dyslexia and their families to learn about devices and apps that can help them with literacy tasks at school or at home.

Read about the girls’ previous fundraising efforts involving baking and selling chocolate chip cookies, even in the cold and snow, and their dedication to making as many people as possible aware of dyslexia.

This time, the donation came from money raised by making and selling bookmarks and coasters, as well as baking and selling chocolate peanut butter bars. They even seized on the slime trend popularized by social media and made and sold their own gooey concoction. They were not deterred by the pandemic and took to safer outdoor spaces to sell their wares to teachers, parents, and others in their neighborhood.

The sisters and their mother, Dr. Julie Vignato, visited the center, met with Assistive Technology Co-coordinator Anna Gibbs and IRRC Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed, and saw some of the assistive technology devices that their efforts help to fund.

“We greatly appreciate the time, effort, and thought that Grace and Sophie put into raising money for our center,” Reed said. “We are able to put that money toward helping other children like them, and that is an amazing gift. But it’s the spark created by their bravery to share their stories of how dyslexia affects them that inspires us to do all we can for the dyslexia community.”

What’s next on the awareness-raising front for the Vignatos? Grace is pairing with a local filmmaker to make a documentary about dyslexia, with the goal of educating the public so children who come after her and Sophie have an easier time living with the reading disability. She dreams of showing the film at festivals across the country.

If the sisters’ dedication to making an impact is any indication of what they have in store, you are going to want to stay tuned.