PROJECTS OF FRIENDS OF THE COMMISSION

Click here to view our Access to Non-visual Technology for Seniors (ANTS) grants; smart phone and computer training opportunities.

Accomplishments to date can be divided into two categories:

#1 Personal Consumer Service:

From the beginning and continuing to date, one important purpose/project has been to provide small financial donations for helping an individual consumer. The most common donation has been the purchase of needed medications, food and/or lodging for Commission consumers who were in a phase in the rehabilitation process, where the Commission was not legally able to provide funding. Though our financial assistance is small, it can prevente a hitch in the successful outcome of the rehabilitation process.

#2 Grants To Programs:

In 2015, we expanded our scope of service to include monitory grants, offering them to both Commission and non-Commission sponsored programs for blind Nebraskans, of all ages .

A. GRANTS TO NON-COMMISSION PROGRAMS:

With the new federal guidelines requiring vocational rehabilitation agencies to provide a higher percentage of their budgets on pre-vocational services for youth, we decided that our initial granting venture would parallel that mandate. Thus, we would target those Nebraska programs who are serving blind youth. The grant we created is entitled, Blindness Education Enrichment grant. Read the text immediately below to learn of how we present our criteria for interested non-Commission grantees.

Our Grant Notice:

The Friends of the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired is pleased to announce the availability of a Blindness Education Enrichment grant of up to $1,000.00 to support a worthy project benefitting blind youth in Nebraska. Friends is a nonprofit entity established to both supplement and compliment the work of the Nebraska Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired (NCBVI) as it seeks to fulfill its mission of empowering blind individuals, promoting opportunities, and building belief in the blind.

As a government agency, NCBVI operates under laws and regulations which sometimes limit its ability to fully serve the entire population of Nebraskans who are blind. For example, the funds are limited for services to blind and visually impaired persons under the age of 14. Yet we know that those who develop effective alternative skills at a young age dramatically improve their odds of achieving success later in life. The members of the Friends believe we can enhance skill building opportunities for this population by offering Blindness Education Enrichment grants; thereby better preparing blind young adults to benefit from NCBVI transition services when they become eligible for them at age 14.

2016: On this, our second year, we received three applications. Two were repeats from both last year’s applicants, and one new: Camp Abilities Nebraska; the NFB’s Braille Enrichment for Literacy Learning program; and Project VIEW, from the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

We did grant the full $1,000.00 to The National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska, Braille Enrichment for Literacy Learning program (BELL). This program was a day camp, spanning two weeks. It was designed to introduce children between the ages of four and twelve who would not normally receive instruction in the wonders and capabilities of the only method of true literacy for the blind, braille. Follow the below link to a short write up and photos from this fine program.

Click here to view the write-up of the 2016 BELL program.

2015: For this first time grant offering, we received two applications. We found both to be worthy and after much discussion, surprised ourselves by making the following decisions:

We would grant the full $1,000.00 to Camp Abilities Nebraska, an overnight week-long residential sports camp for children and teens who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind.

Click here to view the write-up of the 2015 Camp Abilities Nebraska.

Additionally, to the second applicant we decided to donate a sum of $300.00. The Braille Enrichment for Literacy Learning program (BELL) was sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska. This program was a day camp, spanning two weeks. It was designed to introduce children between the ages of four and twelve who would not normally receive instruction in the wonders and capabilities of the only method of true literacy for the blind, braille. Follow the below link to a short write up and photos from this fine program.

Click here to view the write-up of the 2015 BELL program.

B. GRANTS TO COMMISSION PROGRAMS:

2016 has brought our first ever request from one of the Commission’s internal programs. Commission staff have always been creative in finding resources to cover program expenses that did not fit federal spending guidelines. There again, with our new initiative, "The Friends" are now seen as a funding option!

We were asked, and did honor a request to cover the cost of T-Shirts for the students and staff of the NCBVI 2016 Project Independence program. It was a five day, overnight camp for blind youth, from ages 5-13. NCBVI has held this program each year since 1987. Its goal is to offer blindness skills for use in life’s activities, at home, play, school,and in the community. Follow the below link to read a thank you letter and view a photo of all the camp’s participants wearing the T-Shirts.

Click here to view the write-up of the 2016 Project Independence

program.

Come back again to see what additional projects we have funded. And equally important... help fund our work!!!