The education of blind children has been a top priority of the NFB of California for many years. This is exemplified by our legislative efforts over the past five years. California now has a Braille bill and a reading standards bill which have been signed by the Governor. During this legislative session, we are working on the implementation of forgiveness loans for teachers who are working on a special education credential in the field of blindness.
Dan Flowers, parent, uses slate and stylus
Last year this affiliate applied for a foundation grant from the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The application was submitted under the categories of literacy and education. The purpose, as stated in our proposal, was to teach Braille to parents of blind children. A grant in the amount of $5,000 was awarded.
Joyce Wales, president of Parents of Blind Children; Caroline Rounds, an elementary school teacher; and I began planning for our first Braille Is Beautiful workshop. We set a date for April 26 and the work began. We mailed flyers and gathered materials for the workshop.
The response was amazing! Initially, the cutoff number was to be 25 parents. The office was deluged with responses. It was extended to 28.
Joyce Wales, president of Parents of Blind Children, speaks with parents
With some of the grant money, we provided overnight accommodations at the Burbank Courtyard Marriott for those parents traveling long distances. A mixer and registration was held in the NFBC office Friday evening prior to the workshop.
The workshop was held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Learning the Braille alphabet was stressed during the morning, and the afternoon was spent writing with a slate and stylus. A variety of fun, Braille-related activities were presented throughout the day.
Numerous requests for a workshop presented in Spanish have been received. We also have requests for workshops in other parts of the state. The NFBC will obviously look for additional grant funds to provide these ongoing workshops. It appears that a large number of parents of blind and visually impaired children are taking a serious step in order to be able to reinforce their child's knowledge of Braille. What a wonderful turn of events.