On Saturday, October 15, 2016, the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana’s Greater Ouachita and North-Central chapters joined forces as part of a Saturday Club and Meet the Blind Month excursion. Individuals from each chapter attended the Touch-A-Truck Families Helping Families Event at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe, Louisiana. Seven young blind students from northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas and their families were encouraged to explore all manner of on and off-road vehicles and were given the opportunity to climb into the driver’s seat, blare the horn, and generally have a great time checking out machinery not always readily accessible to the general public.
“Our students are sometimes discouraged from exploring so-called ‘dangerous’ environments. Outings like these give them a great outlet to do just that and to have fun while using their canes to check out all the interesting exhibits,” said Greater Ouachita Chapter member and teacher of blind students Kristen Sims--who spearheaded our attendance at The Ike. Students were encouraged to dress in costume and received candy and other prizes from various exhibitors as they navigated the vast event grounds.Greater Ouachita Chapter President and First Vice President of our Louisiana affiliate Jerry Whittle, along with volunteers from both chapters, Brailled children’s names on alphabet cards and invited them to take part in a game in which they were asked to identify objects nonvisually. “Society continues to hold certain misconceptions about the capabilities of blind people. It is great to be able to interact with so many children and their families and for them to see us living the lives we want on White Cane Safety Day,” enthused Mr. Whittle.
A very special thank you to all of our volunteers including role models, mentors, event coordinators, and those providing transportation. This gathering would not have been the success it was without your love, commitment, and leadership.
Our next Saturday Club will actually take place on a Tuesday, November 15, in conjunction with the Thanksgiving feast—jointly sponsored by the Louisiana Center for the Blind and the North-Central Chapter.