Well, as some of you may already know, October is “Meet the Blind month. The purpose of this month is to help educate the public and create greater awareness of the capabilities of people who are blind. Across the country, groups of blind and low vision individuals and their friends and family observe this month through various outreach activities such as participating in public events, speaking in public venues like schools, civic clubs, and so forth, passing out literature, hosting meet and greets, and volunteering service in their communities . Even though the month is half gone, it’s not too late for you to do something to help observe “Meet the Blind month” in your own area. So, here are a few easy ideas I came up with to help spread the word about this exciting observance and great public awareness opportunity.
- Create a bulletin board with a blindness theme to display in your school. You should also consider making this an accessible and “blind-friendly “ bulletin board,a.k.a. tactually appealing and dual media with print and Braille.
- Pass out “Braille Party Mix” to your neighbors, friends, colleagues, classmates, co-workers, etc. Braille party mix consists of the following:
- 6 pieces of round candy like “Dots”, M and M’s, or Reeses’Pieces=the six dots in a Braille cell.
- Pretzel sticks= the stylus
- Cheese nibs crackers or other similar looking crackers with holes and ridges = the Braille cell
- Alphabet Cereal= print letters being translated into Braille
- Fruit roll-ups= piece of paper
- Spotlight a blind student or adult in your school/community at a public event such as a church or civic club meeting, school assembly, class, etc. This can also be a Q and A session with a blind person about how he or she does various tasks with non-visual techniques.
- Pass out Braille alphabet cards along with your Halloween candy. These can be obtained from blindness organizations like the American Printing House, the National Federation of the Blind, or the National Braille Press for free or a small nominal fee.
- If you are a teacher or parent of a blind child, help your child set up a volunteer experience at a public service venue such as a food pantry, nursing home, hospital, etc. This will be a great way to teach your child the importance of “giving back” and also provide a unique opportunity for the public to see the capabilities of your child.
- Set up a table and time to Braille names on index cards in a public place such as school lunchroom, outside a store, public library, flea market, etc. People are fascinated by Braille and will love getting a copy of their name in Braille. You can also hand out Braille alphabet cards at the same time.
- Pass out literature about blindness in your neighborhood, school, business, etc. This could include things like Braille alphabet cards, or general blindness facts.
- Host a tail gate party at a school football game. You can pass out Braille literature, Braille people’s names, and have blind people serving the food.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to get out and help spread the word about “Meet the Blind “month. I’d love to hear other ideas from you and/or the things you are doing to observe this month. Happy “Meet the Blind Month!”