About Us     Donate     News     Contact
February 2020

Grow Your Donka Donation with a Matching Gift!

Looking for a way to maximize your donation to Donka? Good news! There are many companies in greater Chicagoland that encourage their employees to give to charitable organizations in their community by making a matching gift. If you work for one of the following companies in the area, check with your supervisor or human resources department to find out what steps to take to get all or a portion of your Donka donation matched.

  • Allstate
  • AT &T
  • Bank of America
  • Boeing Co.
  • BP Amoco Corporation
  • CarMax
  • Caterpillar Inc.
  • Chicago Title and Trust Co.
  • Deloitte
  • IBM
  • Illinois Tool Works
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • McMaster-Carr Supply Co.
  • Microsoft Corp.
  • Motorola Inc.
  • Northern Trust
  • Quaker Oats Co.
  • R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co.
  • Tellabs
  • Wells Fargo

This is the short list! If your employer doesn’t appear above, follow this link for a comprehensive list of companies that provide matching gifts.


Teacher Feature: Linda Yurka

Thanks to our listing on the Giving DuPage’s website, Linda Yurka began volunteering for Donka as a computer lab helper eight years ago. After nearly two years of volunteering in Donka’s lab, we were fortunate enough to hire her as an instructor in 2014. Recently, we asked Linda to answer a few questions about her work at Donka.

Why did you decide to volunteer and work at Donka?
“I spent several years juggling work and caregiving for my parents. My mother had Parkinson’s disease and my father had a couple of debilitating strokes, and both were in wheelchairs for several years. I lost my job when my department was outsourced to an offshore company, and decided to volunteer in a computer-related field while I was looking for a new job. I found Donka through Giving DuPage’s volunteer portal and thought it was a good fit for both my computer background and my caregiving experience. I enjoyed volunteering at Donka and had thought about looking for work at a not-for-profit organization, so I was happy to apply for a teaching position at Donka when one opened up.”

What is one of the hardest aspects of your job?
“Sometimes it can be hard to find the right combination of assistive technology, software techniques, and teaching methods that will work best for an individual student. I may need to try more than one solution before I find the right one. Every student is different, and each student’s lesson plan is tailored to the individual.”

What is one of the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
“Interviewing incoming students to find out about their backgrounds. I just let them talk, and they usually have interesting stories.”

Was is one of your favorite memories of working with a student?
“I have a soft spot in my heart for a 95-year-old woman who had never used a computer. I taught her to play games like Solitaire and Mahjong on an iPad.

What do you tell others about your work at Donka?
“I tell them I meet the most interesting people, and I’m impressed by how much they are able to accomplish.”

What do you think is the "coolest" type of AT out there right now?
“I was recently able to try out a small unit that attaches to a glasses frame and is able to describe objects and read text for a blind or visually impaired person. It still needs some work, but the possibilities are exciting.”

What is one of your favorite apps that you have on your phone?
“Probably Google Maps. I confess that I’ve pretty much just got the standard stuff on my phone. Nothing special.”

Why should people care about Donka's work?
“People with disabilities want to work and be productive members of society, just like the rest of us. The skills we teach them at Donka can help them accomplish those goals.”

If there was one thing you could change about the world for persons with disabilities, what would it be?
“Other peoples’ attitudes. Too many people write off people with disabilities and are afraid to give them a chance. They don’t know how much they can accomplish.”

Thank you, Linda, for sharing your Donka experiences! We are so fortunate to have you as part of the Donka team.


Save the Date for Race for Abilities 2020!

Team Donka runners and walkers, put on your racing shoes and start practicing for the Donka’s 4th Annual Race for Abilities Half Marathon and 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, October 18, 2020. Last year, Team Donka, our generous “sideline” supporters, and sponsors raised more than $7,000!

Stay tuned for more information about the race! We hope you will join us this year to support Donka’s no-cost AT computer training program for individuals with disabilities in the DuPage and Kane County communities.

For charity hero information or to raise money for Donka, please visit our events page.

Interested in running or walking? Visit the Run Naperville page to sign up!


AT Highlight: Donka’s Virtual Workstation

Thanks to a contribution from the Service Club of Chicago in 2019, Donka set up a virtual computer workstation in our Wheaton lab. With the grant dollars, Donka purchased an electronic adjustable desk – to accommodate the height of various wheelchairs and other types of mobility aids – and equipped the station with Assistive Technology and devices to improve independence. Listed below are a few of the items:

BigTrac Trackball Mouse
BigTrac allows for better control when fine motor skills are compromised.

C-Pen Reader
The C-Pen Reader is a totally portable, pocket-sized device that reads text out aloud with an English, Spanish or French human-like digital voice. It is also a scanner for capturing lines of text and uploading to a PC or Mac, making it ideal for students, teachers and professionals to capture essential information.

Hello Camera
Hello Camera is a facial-recognition web camera that helps users login to their computers handsfree.

ChatterVox is simply the finest portable voice amplifier. It can boost your volume by as much as 18 decibels. ChatterVox works exceptionally well for people with disabilities that affect their speech volume. Even for someone who can barely speak or whisper, ChatterVox enables that person to be heard. People with many different types of disabilities use the ChatterVox with great success.

As they say, “practice makes perfect” and Donka’s students and graduates use the workstation to hone their business skills in a real-time. Navigating a new job or school setting can be daunting! Practicing new skills – and using new equipment – at Donka’s virtual workstation helps our students build their self-confidence as they prepare for employment, workforce training, or college.

The Service Club of Chicago is a women’s charitable organization established in 1890 that supports nonprofits in the city and greater metropolitan area. Donka has been fortunate to receive funding from the Service Club over the past 10 years for assistive technology upgrades and other special projects.


Donka’s Training for Individuals with Disabilities – An Overview

If you or someone you know is thinking about enrolling for Donka’s AT computer training program for persons with disabilities, it is super simple and available online. Use this link to access the form required to get you started.

Once you have completed the form and hit ENROLL, you will be contacted by Donka’s Program Manager, Samantha Moore, to gather more information and schedule an in-person visit and computer skills/assistive technology pre-assessment. The pre-assessment is used to develop a customized curriculum that builds upon your current computer skills – as well as to determine which type of assistive technology will allow you to access a computer on your own. You will also be asked to choose a training path.

Training Paths
There are three (3) training paths Donka students can follow:

  1. Employment – Students on an employment path are generally seeking a first-time job, working but transitioning to a different job as a result of a recent or progressing disability, or returning to work after a period of unemployment. Students learn computer basics, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Outlook), Internet, email, and business networking (LinkedIn). They also review job-readiness basics. Training is one-on-one with a Donka Instructor/Microsoft Specialist and is approximately 100-120 hours.
  2. Education – Students on an education path are generally seeking to go to a college or vocational school for the first-time, are in school but facing study challenges, or plan to go back to school to train for a new position – oftentimes due to a recent or progressing disability. Students learn computer basics, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Outlook), Internet, email, job-readiness basics, and business networking (LinkedIn). They can also learn various tablet, phone, and computer apps that assist them with notetaking and communication in the classroom – as well as other stand-alone devices, such as a Smart Pen, that help with classroom and homework navigation. Training is one-on-one with a Donka Instructor/Microsoft Specialist and is approximately 100-120 hours.
  3. Personal Enrichment – These students are generally seniors and people with mobility and transportation issues who wish to connect to the outside world through technology. They might be far from friends and family and want to connect through social media, or they have interests they want to pursue like reading, writing, gaming, photography, and more. Students learn computer basics, Microsoft Word, Internet, email, and social networking (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest). Students can also learn how to use an iPad or other tablet to download library books, use Instagram, and more. Training is one-on-one, or two-on-one with a Donka Instructor/Microsoft Specialist and is approximately 50 hours.

Because Donka offers a business curriculum that is approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), students who graduate from the Employment or Education paths can earn a “Certificate of Completion” that is recognized by other IBHE approved institutions.

Workforce Training
Employment and Education graduates can also opt for additional Workforce Development training (21 hours) at Donka. Through this opportunity, which is taught one-on-one by a certified vocational rehabilitation specialist, graduates review more advanced topics related to gaining employment, understanding their rights as a person with a disability, talking about their disability during an interview, asking an employer for an accommodation, and more.

Through Donka’s vigorous fundraising efforts and the generosity of our community, Donka’s training is generally free to persons with disabilities who meet certain income requirement. During your first meeting with Donka’s Program Manager, your eligibility for no-cost training will be reviewed.

Additionally, students might be eligible for funding through the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services, and well as Illinois’ WIOA (Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act) program. Each of these agencies provide strong supports for individuals who are seeking employment or training to strengthen their employment skills.

Training Atmosphere
Lastly, we hope that you are not hesitating to seek training at Donka because you are worried about your comfort level with a computer – or just about entering a space that is unfamiliar to you. Donka’s staff is warm, friendly, knowledgeable, and – very importantly – patient. Quite a few of our staff have been caregivers for family members with disabilities or have a disability themselves. Our graduates are so happy and comfortable at Donka that they have either worked, interned, or volunteered for us after training. It is a special place of caring and opportunity where everyone can “empower their abilities through technology.”

Alyson- “Attending Donka has been a really rewarding experience for me. I now feel stronger and more confident to face the future in graduate school and employment.”

Janine- “The team at Donka is extremely supportive and eager to assist in training with a smile and sense of humor.”

Chris –"I am most thankful for everything at Donka including the instructors, one-on-one training, assistive technology, confidence and gaining skills.”


Copyright © 2019 Donka Inc., All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
400 N. County Farm Rd.
Wheaton, IL 60187
Twitter Facebook

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -