Thank you for your interest in joining the National Federation of the Blind Dream Builders Capital Campaign. As you know, we have several important projects on the horizon, and we want to share details with you.
Blind children under the age of thirteen.
What’s at Stake
Blind children have unique needs that are frequently left unaddressed at crucial developmental stages, particularly in the areas of identity formation and social engagement. Specifically, blind children can have difficulty connecting with blind peers due to the low-incidence of blindness and age restrictions placed on social media platforms that might otherwise facilitate interaction with children in other regions.
How NFB Kids Connect® Will Help
- NFB Kids Connect will provide face-to-face learning, online learning, and networking activities for blind children thirteen years of age and under in a safe, supportive, and supervised environment.
- NFB Kids Connect will build technology skills among young blind children, a demographic that is often denied the opportunity to utilize technology.
- Through its extensive online component, NFB Kids Connect will interact with the well-established NFB BELL® Academies and National Federation of the Blind training center buddy programs.
Building the Program
In order to maximize the effectiveness and authenticity of the program and the online interface to begin, we will research the efficacy of Kids Connect. Early on, we will gather feedback directly from young blind children in focus group settings. These initial peer-to-peer interactions will include opportunities for open discussion and the sharing of experiences, but will also be structured with features such as:
- Book Trailers and Reviews: Children will submit short videos promoting or reviewing their favorite books, and get feedback and comments.
- Read to Me: Children will upload videos of themselves reading Braille aloud.
- Badges: Children will earn badges for different types of online interactions (e.g., the “Five-Star Book Reviewer”).
- Video Chats: We will set up online video chats with Federation leaders.
- SnapGroups: We will administer a weekly question or prompt that children will respond to in a group chat-like system where messages disappear after a set period of time.
- National Convention Meet-Up: We will arrange a gathering at the NFB National Convention so that children can interact with peers they have met online, as well as leadership and other blind adult mentors.
- Parent Chats: The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children will help moderate opportunities for parents of program participants to discuss relevant issues and solutions to common obstacles.
Strengthening the Program
After the initial stage of program development, we will work to hone the current features and augment them with additional components such as:
- Homework Help: We will add a component where children can discuss subjects and receive peer support in academic areas that are causing them difficulty.
- Technology Support: We will add a component where students can receive peer-to-peer, and mentor support on accessible and general technology.
- Discussion Board: We will provide a monthly question or theme relevant to growing up as a blind child.
- Book-of-the-Month Club: Children will gather to discuss a book chosen for their particular age group.
- Writers’ Corner: Children will submit short stories, essays, or poetry they have written for discussion and feedback. The NFB Writers’ Division will help moderate this component and mentor participants.
- Adult and Teen Mentor Videos: We will offer videos of competent blind adults, teens, and young adults talking about their professions, their lives, their families, and how they are living the lives they want.
- Community Participation: Participation within the community will be encouraged and reinforced through product giveaways secured through donations.
- Accessible Gaming: We will develop a simple gaming platform to facilitate interaction and collaboration among blind children.
- STEM Gems: We will administer an online group or room where children will receive instructions and prompts for a monthly STEM investigation or inquiry.
- Creative Corner: We will develop a place for children to share their creative side in areas like music, theater, and art, and offer feedback to each other.
- Go Viral: We will develop a place for children to learn about current trends in accessible online content.
- Augmented Reality Game: We will develop a fun interactive game where children will solve puzzles and find clues.
- You Be the Teacher: Children will create content to teach the sighted community the things they want them to know about blindness.
- Summer Programing: Online content during the summer months can focus on subjects like STEM and Braille, and be connected to other NFB summer programing such as NFB BELL and NFB training center programing.
Evaluating the Program
The National Federation of the Blind will administer targeted questionnaires and interviews at periodic points throughout the year.
Resources and Personnel Needed
- Program Manager
- Content Experts
- Young Adult Mentors and Facilitators
- Technology Support
- Legal Expertise in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
Why the National Federation of the Blind
As America’s membership organization of the blind, the National Federation of the Blind has an established community from which to draw competent blind mentors who can support blind children at key developmental milestones. This includes a track record of creating, through our affiliated training centers, the best youth training opportunities in the country. We have connections with parents of blind children, schools for the blind, and participants in other Federation programming through which it can reach potential participants for Kids Connect.