2015 Braille enrichment for Literacy Learning

The National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska would like to extent our sincere gratitude for your generous donation to our 2015 Braille enrichment for Literacy Learning (BELL) program! Your contribution allowed us to prove to blind children from across the state of Nebraska that learning Braille can be fun, and that blindness does not need to stand between you and your dreams. Over the course of two weeks, six students traveled to Lincoln each day to participate in lessons that challenged them, pushed them outside of their comfort zone, and allowed them to see themselves and their friends in new ways.

The goal of the BELL program is to help children learn that Braille can be fun, and your financial contribution allowed us to do that in ways we would not otherwise have been able to afford. Children love to play games, and if used correctly games can be a fantastic way to encourage them to learn new things. With your help, we were able to purchase several unique Braille games that we played throughout the program. These included games like Apples to Apples, Sushi Go, and even the classic children’s game Memory which had tactile pictures on each card as well as the Braille word. These games were a highlight of everyone’s BELL experience, and at the end of the program each student got to take one home with them so they can continue to practice their Braille skills with their families. On graduation day, the students couldn’t wait to open their gift bags to find out what game they had been given, and everyone was excited to teach the games to their parents and siblings. When I spoke to some of the students several weeks later, they mentioned how much they were still enjoying the games. Additionally, their Braille skills were noticeably improved because they had continued to play the games, which meant they were practicing their Braille.

On the last day of BELL, each student came up with a list of their favorite memories from the last two weeks. Below are some examples:

Brooklynn, age 8:
New friends
Making apple smiles
Playing games with friends
Playing Apples to Apples
Playing Braille Twister
Using sleepshades
Using the cane

Gage, age 6:
Braille baseball
Meeting new people
Decorating my cane
Ringing the bell

Tommy, age 6:
Using the Braille writer
Making ice cream in a bag
Playing Memory
Playing Apples to Apples
Playing Braille Twister

Liz, age 10:
Playing Apples to Apples
Going to the center for a field trip
Playing Sushi Go
Playing Braille Twister
Making cake in a cup
Playing red light green light with correct cane technique
Playing Memory

Lynn, age 11:
Playing Apples to Apples
Playing Sushi Go
Making playdough
Playing Braille Twister

Grace, age 14:
Playing Apples to Apples
Playing Sushi Go
Making Braille art using the slate and stylus
Writing in my journal
Learning new contractions
Getting Braille books of my own
Getting a game I can play with my brother and Mom

As you can see, the games were a highlight of the BELL experience, and would not have been possible without your help!

The below two pictures are BELL participants on graduation day. The first picture is of all of the BELL students ringing their graduation bells to celebrate their accomplishments. The second picture is of all of the students lined up waiting to receive their graduation bags. These pictures help illustrate, in ways that words cannot, what an impact your generosity toward the BELL program had on these students’ lives.

The BELL participants ringing their graduation bells

All students lined up waiting to receive their graduation bags