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Araceli Avina
Hanover Park, Illinois

August 28, 2009

Dear President Obama:

I was born in Mexico, and I now speak English and Spanish fluently. I have lived in the United States for most of my life. I was blinded at the age of two due to a fever that caused an infection that damanged my optic nerve. My blindness is the reason why my parents decided to bring me to America. They thought I would have a better education here than in Mexico. Resources for the blind are scarce in Mexico.

I attended Frances Blend Elementary School, an all-day school for the blind and other students with disabilities. The people who worked with me at Frances Blend taught me English, and they also taught me to read and write in Braille. I have been a Braille reader since 1989. I used to love bedtime stories when I was younger, and my dad wouldn't be there to tell them to me all the time. With my Braille skills I can now read any book I choose at bedtime or at any other time of the day. I can write a Braille letter or Braille things such as reminders and phone numbers. Using Braille has helped me read recipes, magazines, directions, or lists, but, most important, knowing Braille has allowed me to read books. I love reading books, and I don't think it would be the same without Braille. Braille is awesome.

Araceli Avina