Release Date: 
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
John G. Paré Jr.
Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2227
(410) 913-3912 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Announces
New Summer Program to Empower Blind Teens

Students will Build Skills, Increase Confidence, and Gain Work Experience!

Baltimore, Maryland (February 26, 2008): The National Federation of the Blind, the largest and most influential organization of the blind in America, today announced that it will hold the first-ever Teen Empowerment Academy at the NFB headquarters in Baltimore.  The Teen Empowerment Academy is the newest program in a series of initiatives striving to drastically increase the educational, social, and vocational opportunities for blind youth.

The eight-week residential training program, led by blind instructors and occurring from June 15 to August 9, 2008, is designed to help blind and visually impaired teens develop the blindness and job-readiness skills necessary for success.

The first part of the program will focus on helping teens develop their blindness skills.  Highly qualified blind role models will teach courses in Braille, technology, mobility, and daily living skills.  During the second part of the program, students will enter the working world at a level suitable for teens.  Each student will work fifteen to twenty hours per week earning minimum wage.  With the support of mentors, students will also be responsible for residential tasks like preparing meals, maintaining a clean living environment, and doing their own laundry.  Additionally, students will participate in various recreational and challenge activities. 

Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “By demonstrating the true capabilities of blind teens, the academy will encourage independence and raise the expectations students have for their own lives.  Many job fields are falsely believed to be closed to the blind, and we want blind teenagers to know that they do not have to limit themselves or their dreams.”

The Teen Empowerment Academy will combine a rigorous blindness skill-building curriculum with a work experience component to help all students gain new ability and capacity and develop long-lasting confidence.   Contact Rosy Carranza at (410) 659-9314, extension 2283, or via e-mail at for additional information.  Interested persons may visit to download an application.