The NFB BELL Program is designed to provide intensive Braille instruction to blind and low vision children during the summer months. This program is meant to serve students who are not currently receiving enough Braille instruction in school or who could benefit from Braille enrichment over the summer. This program is modeled after the successful 2008 BELL Program led by the NFB of Maryland. Nineteen affiliates — California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia — hosted the NFB BELL Program in the summer of 2013.
Text BRAILLE to 41444 to pledge a gift! We need your help to ensure blind and low-vision children, like those in your life, have access to much-needed Braille enrichment in the summer of 2013 and beyond!
The goal of this program is to provide children ages 4-12 with two weeks of intense Braille instruction through fun, hands-on learning activities. The program will target blind and low vision children who are not currently receiving enough Braille instruction in school or who could benefit from Braille enrichment over the summer. The program is designed to run Monday through Friday for six hours a day. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children may also enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL curriculum.
Follow the links below to learn more about the NFB BELL program in your area. You may apply to your local NFB BELL program by following this link: APPLY NOW!
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
“My son, Noah, loved everything. I think for Noah, his favorite or most valuable thing learned was using the sleepshades to see what it is like to be completely unable to see anything and that he could still function and do things even though he couldn’t see a thing.”
“The most valuable thing my daughter learned is that she isn't alone. She is the only child in her school with a visual impairment and enjoyed knowing there are other kids out there who are like her and face some of the same vision related difficulties. The instructors and volunteers pushed her out of her comfort zone and helped her find success in mobility activities she has never had a chance to try at school. We will be asking many questions in our next IEP team meeting!”
“Besides Braille exposure, the most valuable thing my child gained at the NFB BELL Program is increased confidence. I can't believe the change in her attitude and initiative since attending the program. I know this is such an intangible gain but I contribute it fully to the instructors and volunteers. They were absolutely incredible. In talking to them and my child, I realized that every minute is structured and my child gained just as much from conversation time as she did more structured activities. Thank you so much for providing this program! It is an absolute fantastic opportunity for all children and I highly encourage parents to seek it out next year.”
If your state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind is interested in hosting the NFB BELL program in the summer of 2015, please complete the prospective affiliate application on or before September 30, 2014.
For all other questions about the NFB BELL Program, please contact:Natalie Shaheen Director of Education Jernigan Institute National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind would like to thank Seedlings Braille Books for Blind Children and the National Braille Press for their generous donations of Braille books for students in the NFB BELL program.
2008 BELL Program in Maryland
The BELL program was developed by members of the Maryland affiliate. They ran the program for the first time in the summer of 2008. The program was a great success and as a result the program was adopted by the NFB Jernigan Institute for further development and dissemination.
2009 NFB BELL Program
After its adoption by the NFB Jernigan Institute, the NFB BELL program was piloted in the summer of 2009. Two affiliates—Maryland and Georgia—hosted the program with great success. Learn more about the 2009 NFB BELL program in the Braille Monitor.
2010 NFB BELL Program
In 2010 the NFB BELL Program grew yet again and this time by threefold! The 2010 NFB BELL Program was held at six sites in five states and reached sixty blind children. Read about the 2010 NFB BELL Program in the Braille Monitor.
2011 NFB BELL Program
In 2011, the NFB Bell Program kept getting bigger. This year it was held at eleven sites in seven states! Learn about the 2011 NFB BELL Program in the Braille Monitor.
2012 NFB BELL Program
In 2012, the NFB BELL Program grew once more. Eighteen programs were held in eleven states. Read about the 2012 NFB BELL program in Future Reflections
2013 NFB BELL Program
Nineteen states hosted a total of twenty-three NFB BELL Programs. Read about the 2013 programs in the November 2013 issue of the Braille Monitor
Watch the NFB of Colorado's BELL program video on Youtube
Listen to the NFB BELL program panel presented at the 2013 national convention of the NFB in Orlando, Florida
- The Lincolnton, North Carolina program was featured in the Lincoln Times
- The Savannah, Georgia NFB BELL program was featured in the local news.
- The NFB of Texas put together a great youtube video about the NFB BELL program in their state.