Join the National Federation of the Blind Parent Mentoring Program

Mark and Melissa Riccobono smiling.

Join the National Federation of the Blind Parent Mentoring Program

All parents have questions and worries about their children, no matter how old their children get. Is she eating enough? Will these tantrums ever stop? Is he doing well enough in school? Will she ever be out of diapers? Is he really ready to have his own cell phone? Will everyone be safe on the road now that she’s driving?

Parents who are blind sometimes have additional questions—especially when they are expecting their first child or while their children are infants. How will I measure formula and medications? How will I be sure my baby is clean? Is there an easy way to keep matching outfits and socks together? What are the best car seats, strollers, or baby carriers to use? How will I keep track of my baby when he becomes mobile?

As a parent who happens to be blind, I enjoy talking to other parents and helping them find answers to their questions. I certainly do not know everything, and I certainly do not believe the ways my husband and I choose to do things are the best or only ways they can be done. However I do know I have parenting experience, and I am always happy to pass along my knowledge, support, and advice to others.

I was very lucky to have had parent mentors when my first child was born. My sister, who is also blind, was always willing to share techniques with me and my husband. Members of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland were also ready to help. Parents on the NFB blind parent email list always patiently answered my questions. 

During National Mentoring Month, the National Federation of the Blind is excited to revitalize our Blind Parent Mentoring Program. Whether you are looking for a parent mentor or willing to mentor a parent, we’d love for you to fill out our short parent mentoring form. Blind parents, expecting parents, foster parents, grandparents, and those interested in fostering or adopting children are welcome and encouraged to sign up.

Once you’ve filled out the form, someone from the National Federation of the Blind Blind Parent Initiative will contact you so that we can match you with a mentor or mentee as quickly as possible. Even if you have signed up to be a mentor in the past, we would appreciate it if you would fill out the form.

Here’s to the beginning of many wonderful mentoring relationships!

—Melissa Riccobono