Voice of the Blue Ridge
3435 Melrose Avenue
Roanoke, Virginia 24017
Enriching the lives of those with vision impairments
What can I do to help?
Our primary volunteer opportunities are with our Dial In News Service. Volunteers call into the system from the comfort of their own home, office, or school using their touch tone phone, and read their assigned part of the newspaper or other item they are recording.
What is required?
All that is required is the desire and ability to help those who, for whatever reason, have lost access to the printed word. Access to a touchtone phone and a newspaper is also needed. This is also a great outreach project for church groups or college students needing community service work to meet requirements.
Reading aloud is very different than just reading to yourself. Please test yourself with the words listed below taken from recent newspaper articles. If you can pronounce close to 18 out of 20 without hesitation, please apply. We look forward to hearing from you!
Is it hard to do?
Not at all! We provide excellent instructions and it is a simple system of voice prompts that guide you through the system. It is really just reading out loud into phone.
What if I "mess up" or can't pronounce a word?
Not to worry. Barking dogs, doorbells, kids screaming, loud trucks, etc., are not a problem. Because you are reading into the phone most of those things will not even be heard on the recording anyway. It is very simple to back up and try again as many times as you need. It is so simple to do and so user friendly. Also, it is a very relaxed system. While the articles must be read as clearly and accurately as possible, perfection is not expected or required. Except for the Sunday paper and items that are not daily in nature, the system resets itself nightly and everything starts again new each day. That means your "mistakes" are short lived anyway.
I don't get the newspaper do you provide papers for the volunteer readers?
Not at this time. We continue to try to have the newspaper provided at no cost to our readers but until that happens, it is necessary for the volunteer to have their own access to the item they are reading.
Do I read the entire newspaper?
No. Each volunteer is assigned a section or part of the paper to read. Volunteers should read the articles in their assigned section or category. More is definitely better. We prefer that you have your reading done as early in the day as possible so the information is ready for the listeners when they call in.
Do I read everyday?
You can, but it is up to you, and certainly not required. Most people read once or twice a week.
What if I have something come up and I can't read?
You simply call the office and let us know and we take care of finding a replacement for you. Some volunteers do have backups that they schedule themselves and we love that help, but it is not at all required.
Do I have to be a certain age to volunteer?
Absolutely not! All are welcome so long as reading skills are up to the task. If the list above posed no problem then it should work out fine.
Can I use my cell phone to record?
Yes, they work as long as you have a strong signal.
Great! - How do I sign up or get more information?
To be a volunteer with VOBR, contact:
Voice of the
Or fill out the form below:
We can't wait to hear from you!!!