2013 NFB BELL Program
Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning Riley Phelps of the Utah BELL session smiles next to his Braillewriter.

The NFB Jernigan Institute is pleased to announce the NFB Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) program for the summer of 2013. The NFB BELL Program is designed to provide intensive Braille instruction to blind and low vision children during the summer months. This program is meant to serve students who are not currently receiving enough Braille instruction in school or who could benefit from Braille enrichment over the summer. This program is modeled after the successful 2008 BELL Program led by the NFB of Maryland. Eleven affiliates—Georgia, Maryland, Utah, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina, Louisiana, Nebraska, Idaho, and Massachusetts—hosted the NFB BELL Program in 2012.

Apply Now to bring this exciting program to your state in 2013!

Details of the Program
Expectations for Selected States
State Coordinator Responsibilities
Support from the NFB Jernigan Institute
Program Contact Information
Past NFB BELL Programs
Bell in the News

Jacob Sorenson works on his Braille reading under sleep shades.Details of the Program

The goal of this program is to provide children ages 4-12 with two weeks of intense Braille instruction through fun, hands-on learning activities. The program will target blind and low vision children who are not currently receiving enough Braille instruction in school or who could benefit from Braille enrichment over the summer. The program is designed to run Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children may also enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL curriculum.

Expectations for Selected States

  • Establish a state team, which will consist of the state coordinator and a teacher of the blind. These individuals will work with the NFB Jernigan Institute to develop their program and coordinate program logistics.
  • Implement a two-week daytime program for low vision children between the ages of 4-12.
  • Meet logistical needs of the two-week program including arranging funding, meeting space, and volunteers; recruiting and registering participants; and obtaining materials.

State Coordinator Responsibilities

This individual will work closely with staff members from the NFB Jernigan Institute and his or her local affiliate to coordinate logistical details of the program.

The state coordinator will also collaborate with the local teacher of the blind and staff from the NFB Jernigan Institute to tailor the NFB BELL curriculum for his or her specific site and participants.

Job duties will include:

  • Recruitment and registration of youth
  • Recruitment of successful blind adults to serve as mentors
  • Procurement of the program location
  • Supervision of funding
  • Purchasing of materials
  • Participation in telecoms with staff members from the NFB Jernigan Institute to discuss curriculum and activities
  • Facilitating related field trips during the two weeks
  • Serving as a liaison for his or her state affiliate and this program

Support from the NFB Jernigan Institute

The NFB Jernigan Institute will provide extensive support to the affiliates who host the NFB BELL Program in 2012.  This support will come in many forms including but not limited to:

  • Telecoms with affiliates throughout the planning and implementation phases of the NFB BELL Program
  • A curriculum developed by licensed teachers of the blind
  • Lessons including Braille reading, Braille writing, blindness skills, and nonvisual skills (daily living skills); group activities; and first/last day lessons
  • Each lesson provides ideas for differentiating instruction to the individual needs of the participants in a given program
  • Braille documents (in .brf format) to accompany lessons
  • Resources for additional information
  • Suggested lesson sequence
  • Opportunities to collaborate with instructors and coordinators from the NFB BELL 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 programs
  • Orientation to the BELL Program and the associated curriculum. Training will cover topics such as: fundraising, budgeting, obtaining a location, implementing the curriculum, recruiting participants, recruiting volunteers, and publicity

Program Contact Information

For all other questions about the NFB BELL Program or to request a copy of the NFB BELL Program curriculum, please contact:

Meleah Jensen
Education Programs Assistant
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, ext. 2418

Past NFB BELL Programs

2008 BELL Program in MarylandA boy from one of the Georgia BELL sessions practices with a slate.

The BELL program was developed by members of the Maryland affiliate. They ran the program for the first time in the summer of 2008. The program was a great success and as a result the program was adopted by the NFB Jernigan Institute for further development and dissemination.

2009 NFB BELL Program

After its adoption by the NFB Jernigan Institute, the NFB BELL program was piloted in the summer of 2009. Two affiliates—Maryland and Georgia—hosted the program with great success. Learn more about the 2009 NFB BELL program in the Braille Monitor.

2010 NFB BELL Program

In 2010 the NFB BELL Program grew yet again and this time by threefold! The 2010 NFB BELL Program was held at six sites in five states and reached sixty blind children. Read about the 2010 NFB BELL Program in the Braille Monitor.

2011 NFB BELL Program

In 2011, the NFB Bell Program kept getting bigger. This year it was held at eleven sites in seven states! Learn about the 2011 NFB BELL Program in the Braille Monitor.

2012 NFB BELL Program

In 2012, the BELL Program grew once more. Eighteen programs were held in eleven states.

Bell in the news

  • The Savannah, Georgia BELL site was featured in the local news.
  • The NFB of Texas put together a great youtube video about the BELL program in their state.

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