Braille Across America Kicks Off Today!

Serena, left, and LM, right, pause for a spontaneous photo in a hotel hallway in front of some colorful, abstract art; they are dressed a little fancy. Serena stands, arms folded and cane tucked into her right elbow, left shoulder out. She wears a traditional Kyrgyz kalpak, playfully lowered over her eyes and grins broadly. LM leans in, cane tucked into her left arm, wearing sunglasses and smiling lightly.

Only 10% Of Blind Children Learn Braille

If you’ve been following my new adventure with Bay Area Blind Mom, our podcast, The Blind Grind, you’ll know that we are both braille nerds at heart and braille literacy and getting braille into the hands of blind people is something we are both very passionate about. If there’s one thing the National Braille Press does with excellence, it’s getting braille into the hands of blind people, especially the kiddos—early intervention is such a crucial support to braille literacy. We compared and contrasted our personal experiences with braille literacy in episode 1 of The Blind Grind, when we launched our podcast on National Read Across America Day. Take a listen to the episode—LM began learning braille as soon as she went blind around the age of 5 and today she is a braille wizard with lightning fast speed and the skills, knowledge, and dexterity to use braille in any and all situations that a sighted person would use print, and with as much ease. In contrast, though I started losing my vision by adolescence, I did not receive braille instruction until I demanded it, fought hard for it, and was discouraged by more than one professional in the field who questioned its necessity, and not until I was 32. As a result, I know braille and use it in a narrow capacity, though have never been able to develop the skills necessary to use it as richly as a deeply fluent braille reader, and in many ways, this still leaves me sometimes in the awkward position of being moderately illiterate in both print and braille.

The National Braille Press Makes A Difference

This is why the work of NBP to put more and more braille books into the hands of blind and low vision folks is so important to me, and thanks to my recent wins in reclaiming my physical health, I’m committed to walking a virtual marathon between today and April 19. Along with my partner in shenanigans, Bay Area Blind Mom, and our Blind Grind Team, we’re going to raise $1000 to support the work of National Braille Press.

10 Books

Individuals all over the country like me, LM, and Leslie have committed to a minimum fundraising goal of $262 generating 10 books. Last year, Braille Across America raised more than $100,000–that’s at least 3816 books! Let’s keep the braille flowing! Visit The Blind Grind’s Braille Across America team page and click the donate button, you can also scroll down to click through to one of our team’s individual pages—mine, Lisamaria’s, or our newest team add, Leslie, and put your donation on one of those pages—it all goes to NBP. Give once or make it recurring, push us more than halfway to our team goal with $510, sponsor just one book for $26, or customize the amount to your preference. It’s also not too late to join our team, lace up your walking/running shoes or get on your bike, and ask your network to support you in raising $262 or more to put more braille into the hands of blind and low vision folks.

Thanks in advance for your generosity and stay tuned for updates! I’ll be tracking my mileage on Strava, I microblog over at my Facebook page, on Instagram, and most recently, am also tweeting, and you can also watch for updates over on The Blind Grind Facebook page.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. :Lao Tsu

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