On October 21, 2018, nineteen tenth- and eleventh-grade students participating in the Art of Leadership program sponsored by Art with a Heart, a Baltimore nonprofit, visited the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute to gain an understanding of the capacities of blind people to live the life they want and to learn about leadership in the process. Through the Art of Leadership program, students in the Baltimore area with diverse backgrounds develop leadership skills and engage in conversations across socioeconomic and cultural barriers.
During their visit to the Jernigan Institute, the Art of Leadership students participated in four activities led by Jernigan Institute staff to introduce them to the skills used by blind people to complete daily living tasks. While under blindfolds, the students completed a short cane travel route on the fourth floor of the Jernigan Institute that included going up and down stairs. The students also learned about Braille and the way blind people use a computer and access current news through NFB-NEWSLINE®. The students also prepared a salad and baked cookies under blindfolds for the dinner that followed. During dinner, the students discussed the activities they had participated in and asked questions. In response to the question “What did you learn from this experience?” answers from the students included: “I shouldn’t assume what a person is capable of”; “To accept myself and put myself in other peoples’ shoes”; and “You don’t have to be ‘perfect’ to be a leader.” Clearly, the positive philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind has a powerful influence!