'American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Future Reflections
       Convention 2019      CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS

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Braille Carnival: A Swimming Success

by Julie Deden

From the Editor: Julie Deden is the director of the Colorado Center for the Blind, and she also serves as vice president of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. In this capacity she volunteered to chair the Century Celebration Carnival. Here is her report.

Melissa and Mark Riccobono wear flamingo hats at the Braille Carnival.

TJ Baskeyfield explores the Canute 360.Schools of Braille enthusiasts swirled through the room for the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults Century Celebration Carnival on Tuesday, July 9. Hundreds of kids and adults were there to celebrate one hundred years of innovation in the areas of Braille and tactile literacy by the Action Fund.

At the center of it all was the Action Fund's latest innovative product, Pedro and the Octopus, a beautifully written and illustrated tactile print and Braille book. Author Deborah Kent (known to us as Debbie Stein) and tactile illustrator Ann Cunningham were on hand to pass out the books and sign them. Each of the first one hundred families to appear received a free copy.

Participants played Braille relay games, tried their hands at drawing, and sniffed out a variety of scents. They enjoyed popcorn and lemonade, and Dr. and Mrs. Maurer gave out the brand-new 2020 Braille calendar.

Not surprisingly, the theme of the carnival was sea creatures. Austin Riccobono (the son of our President and First Lady) was there to talk about all kinds of marine animals. He showed off three-dimensional replicas of many of them.

Mercedes Downs examines a sponge at the aquarium exhibit.When the American Action Fund began its work as the American Brotherhood for the Blind in 1919, Braille itself had been around for less than one hundred years. At that time all Braille was produced by hand, so its availability was very limited. The Action Fund began with the simple goal of making more Braille materials available to blind adults and children. So our celebration was not just about the past one hundred years, but about the ocean of possible innovation that the next hundred years will mean for the blind. The American Action Fund will be sailing with a brisk tailwind.

We want to thank the National Association of Blind Students for all their work at the Braille Carnival. Thank you also to the entire board of the Action Fund. All of us are ready for another century of service.

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