Vera Perlin was an extraordinary woman who dedicated her liife to children with disabilities. She loved to help people who were handicapped and wanted them to be able to do what any other person would be able to do. In the 1950's, Mrs. Perlin became really concerned about children wtih disablities because of the lack of special training and also the care of the mentally challenged children.
When Vera Perlin was finished school in the 1950's, she decided at the age of 18 to go to Westminster College in England. Westminster College had a special service to teach people how to treat the handicapped. This was one of many schools Mrs. Perlin attended to learn about the mentally challenged. When she got back to Newfoundland, after learning about the handicapped, she decided to open a new school for the disabled. She began these schools on her own. Mrs Perlin thought it would be better to have a school especially for the mentally challenged, then having them going to a regualr school when they are not capible of doing the same things as the other children. Vera Perlin found it a bit difficult to open a school up right away because she was recovering from a disease "tuberculosis". Therefore, she got a lot of help from her husband Albert B. Perlin on organizing a school for the mentally challeneged. Mrs. Perlin was so happy once she got everything sorted out.
Novemeber 1954, Vera Perlin opened her first school for the handicapped in the bottom of the orphanage on Hamilton Avenue. This was the first school in Newfoundland for mentally challenged students, and they started off right away with seven children. The following year (1955), a new school was opened in the Presbyterian Hall on Power Street. There were more people attending this school then the first one. Mrs. Perlin for to form, "The Association for the Help of the Retarded Child". Parents had to contact them two years before the formantion of the association. Mrs. Perlin was so impressed by how quickly the association grew. To accpet some of these children, the Provincial Government, in the 1960's, gave parents the option of more teachers involved and there were more activities for the children. They would take the kids swimming, bowling, and let them play games. Then on special holidays they would have a dance for the children as well. Mrs. Perlin treated the children very well, and gave a lot of time wisely to them.
During 1959, the Vera Perlin School on Patrick Street was started with the aid of donations and volunteer work. The association opened a five room school, which had a bunch of activities for the kids like going for walks, playing at the park, swimming, blowing, etc. Mrs. Perlin was President of the association until her death in 1974. In 1960, the Government began to assist the association as well. When the Government got involved, a new school was opened on Pennywell Road. By 1974, ten such schools were opened in Newfoundland. These schools provided the same services as the other schools. The school on Pennywell Road was renamed, "The Vera Perlin Pre-Vocational Training Centre". Mrs. Perlin put a lot of effort into her schools and the handicapped.
Mrs. Perlin was given many awards for her work. Before Mrs. Perlin's death, she received the "Citizen of the Year", given by the City of St. John's Junior Chamber of Commerce. She received this award because of her outstanding contibution to her community. In 1967 she was named on of eleven Canadian women honoured as "Women of the Century". She was given this from The National Council of Jewish Women. Mrs. Perlin was astonished by this. In 1970, she was awarded as honorary LL.D by Memorial University of Newfoundland.
In 1993, The Island Furniture Association gave the Vera Perlin Society a donation of $150,000 for the renovation of the Society's training centre on Pennywell Road. The last year (1992), over $600,000 was used to build a new school. The old school had over one hundred people in a space designed for seventy. Island Furniture had been a huge support to the Society ever sense.
The Vera Perlin Society has many services. Every week a bus will pick up the handicapped, and take them to school and back. There is now a school for the older handicapped too. Teachers teach the children and adults hoe to behave, clean, and follow rules. The Vera Perlin Society is trying their best to keep the handicapped occupied.
In conlusion, Vera Perlin always dreamed of making a better world, especially for the deprivledged children, and so she did acomplish that. Mrs. Perlin is remembered today as a great and dedicatedwoman. As many years passed, she became a great public figure through her interests in social work and her community work for many people. Other people recognized her as a hard worker in the various projects they shared with her. Her guiding spirit was an inspiration for many. Parents of the mentally challenged still support Vera Perlin for the amazing things she done for the handicapped. Vera Perlin is recognized as a woman of many interests who would give the world to the handicapped.