October was Meet the Blind Month, and across the country NFB affiliates, divisions, and chapters held events to introduce sighted people who might not know or meet a blind person in the normal course of their lives.
In Missouri the Jefferson City Chapter held a walkathon talkathon on November 6. Friends from other cities visited, as well as members of the local Lions Club, and the weather cooperated in making it a wonderful day for fellowship and sharing our message. But it wasn’t all tame walking. The Jefferson City Chapter had set up two guide ropes, and members of the Jefferson City and Columbia Chapters ran races, stamping out the idea that blind people can’t run to any who watched.
In Columbia, Gary and Debbie Wunder visited a local preschool. Debbie brought along the harness her now-retired guide dog wore at work, as well as the small white cane that would fit any in the audience who cared to use it. Gary demonstrated the use of his Perkins Braillewriter, embossing index cards with children’s names so that they could see how blind people read. Then came the fun part for the students, approaching with their cards in hand to see if that code using dots really worked.
Sometimes we wonder if people really want or need to meet the blind, but the enthusiasm of these children take the question off the table. They do, and we must.