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NFB BELL Academy

The NFB Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy prepares blind and low vision children, ages four through twelve, to grow into confident and independent blind people who will live the lives they want. The program provides Braille and non-visual skills instruction through fun, hands-on learning in a day program staffed by certified teachers who are themselves blind, and by qualified teachers of blind students. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, interact with blind adults who serve as mentors, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum. Through these activities and interactions, the children learn that blindness or low vision does not define them or their future.

Since 2014, the National Federation of the Blind of New York has hosted a BELL Academy in Central New York, and in 2015 our program expanded to include a BELL Academy in New York City as well.  As a part of the NFB’s National BELL initiative, the NFBNY BELL Academy targets blind and low-vision children who do not receive enough braille and non-visual skill instruction in school or who could benefit from braille enrichment over the summer. NFB BELL Academies take place for two consecutive weeks, Monday through Friday, for six hours each day. In addition to braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, benefit from peer learning and mentoring from blind adults, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum.

The following vidoes provide a glimpse into the NFB BELL Academy, take a look!
Video 1 | Video 2

To enroll a student in one of New York’s 2018 BELL Academies, read parent testimonials, or to discover BELL Academies in other states, please visit nfb.org/bell-academy.

To contact the 2018 BELL Academy coordinator for New York State, Ms. Rasheta Bunting, or the 2018 BELL Academy Lead Teacher, Miss Cayte Mendez, please contact the office of the NFBNY of NY at 718-567-7821, or by emailing office@nfbny.org.

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Students make up their own stories as they practice writing braille.

 

Students learn the rudiments of Goalball.

 

Aedan, age 5, practices reading braille letters.

 

Mariam, age 9, shares her “Heart of a Blind Person” project.

 

April, age 6, and Mariam, age 9, play Braille Twister.