A Birthday Celebration of Life and Giving

By Allison Hilliker, posted on

Working in customer support for Bookshare, I have the privilege of hearing the stories of users from all over the world. Last year, when Sara, Ashley’s mother, contacted us to close Ashley’s account and express her appreciation for Bookshare, I was deeply moved by her story. I felt grateful to realize the significant impact our books had on Ashley as she navigated health challenges and strived to keep up with her studies, both inside and outside of hospitals. Recognizing how our platform had provided comfort to Ashley during her challenging journey, I aimed to find a way to extend that positive experience to others. This memorial scholarship was born out of that desire.  

In June of this year, Benetech announced an open call for submissions for the Ashley Tapparo Memorial Bookshare Subscription Award, which honors the memory of a bright young woman, talented artist, and beloved daughter, sister, and friend who aspired to attend college and study marine biology. Benetech is pleased to announce, together with Ashley’s family, that two awardees will receive free memberships to Bookshare in recognition of her giving spirit and love of learning.

While Bookshare is free for qualified students and schools in the United States, it has a low annual fee for adults and reduced fees in certain countries. All members gain access to the largest online library of textbooks, bestsellers, children’s books, career resources, and more for people with learning disabilities. In honor of Ashley’s birthday, today, November 13, these free memberships are being awarded to a teacher in Macedonia and a US college student in their senior year who will both use their memberships to further education.

Throughout the scholarship application process, we encountered students who were unaware that they still qualified for free Bookshare student subscriptions after one year or after transitioning from one school to another. As a result, Ashley’s memorial scholarship has not only benefited the two winners but provided continued access to others.

To learn more about Ashley and check out the Bookshare special collection of some of her favorite books go to: https://benetech.org/blog/announcing-the-ashley-tapparo-memorial-bookshare-subscription-award/

To find out if you or someone you know qualifies for a free Bookshare account, go to https://www.bookshare.org/cms/get-started/sign

Benetech would like to thank the Tapparo Family for continuing to share and spread Ashley’s legacy around love of learning and love of community.