FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Organization Brings Hope and Opportunity to Blind Children and their Parents
Baltimore, Maryland (March 11, 2008): The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), a division of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the NFB National Convention in Dallas this year. Founded in 1983, the NOPBC is a national membership organization of parents and friends of blind children reaching out to each other to give vital support, encouragement, and information. There are over three thousand members in all fifty states and divisions or parent contacts in about thirty states plus Puerto Rico.
“The NOPBC is unique because it is a bridge between blind children and their families and the adult blind community. No other organization in the world can accomplish what we do because of our extraordinary relationship with the National Federation of the Blind. Blind children can grow up knowing they are ‘normal’ because of their blind role models and friends in the NFB,” said Barbara Cheadle, who has been president of the NOPBC for the past twenty-three years.
The NOPBC is committed to Braille literacy and promotes it through its nationally recognized Braille Readers Are Leaders Program. The literacy program includes a Braille contest for blind children grades K-12, special recognition to schools for the blind that promote Braille literacy, Community Service Awards for blind students who use their Braille skills to give back to others, and a prereaders program (Braille Pals) to help families introduce Braille and a love of reading to their blind infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
“As blind people, we know from personal and empirical evidence that Braille literacy is a key component of success for the blind,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind and a lifelong Braille reader. “Studies have shown that among blind people who are employed, approximately 85 percent read Braille. Encouraging blind children to begin learning and reading Braille as early as possible is one of the best things parents and teachers can do to insure their children’s future success. The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children’s Braille literacy programs have helped to ensure the future success of countless blind children over the past twenty-five years.”
The NOPBC led the revolution in promoting the usage of white canes for children–even those who are just learning to walk–and continues to sponsor a program that gives children their first cane for free.
Slate Pals is another remarkable program as it enables children who are blind to correspond in Braille with others from all over the world. It also finds blind pen pals for sighted children who are interested in learning the Braille code. Other NOPBC programs include scholarships for blind children to attend summer enrichment programs and distribution of Future Reflections, a quarterly journal for parents and teachers of blind children. The NOPBC is also an avid advocacy group, offering workshops and training programs for parents that teach them to advocate for their blind children’s independence in school and in the community.
The 25th anniversary celebration will be a part of the NOPBC’s annual weeklong family training conference. The conference brings together blind children of all ages, their parents, other family members, and blind role models and mentors from the NFB to instruct and inspire them.
For more information about the NOPBC, please visit http://www.nfb.org/parents-and-teachers or contact Barbara Cheadle at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2360.