The Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF) will receive $5,000 as the recipient of its ABB Cares Platinum grant.
The ABB Cares program, now in its fourth year, recognizes and celebrates outstanding non-profit organizations throughout the country. The Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation was selected to receive the program’s top grant among nearly 100 charities nationwide. The Vision Centers, a local eyecare practice based in Las Vegas, nominated the charity for the award.
Because Nevada is just one of five states that does not have a school for the blind, NBCF provides essential services to help meet the needs of Clark County children who are visually impaired, such as educational tutoring, blind-specific technology, blind-specific recreational activities, special events, education for parents, support services, referrals, assessments, and an electronic resource and braille library. In 2018, NBCF will open a new location in Las Vegas with space for a pre-school.
The ABB Cares grant will help fund NBCF’s “Afterschool Adventures” life skills program and educational classes for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. NBCF’s programming includes What’s Cooking?, a class that helps students learn how to prepare meals with braille measuring cups, spoons and other utensils, Tech and Task programs that focus on a hands-on approach to adaptive technology, Booktime Buddies, a weekly Saturday program for certified therapy dogs and tutors to work with visually impaired students, STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art, and math – classes, and more.
“With the community’s support of these types of programs, a child with visual impairment can reach their full potential and think of a visual impairment as a diagnosis and not a disability,” said Dr. Chris Chiodo, an optometrist at The Vision Centers and a board member of NBCF.
Dr. Chiodo added, “It costs on average approximately $40,000 to educate a visually impaired student per year, compared to slightly more than $8,000 per sighted student in Nevada. Despite this increased spending, students with visual impairments graduate high school at an abysmal rate of 45 percent, compared to the 80 percent average for all students. And with a 70 percent unemployment rate for the blind, tutoring is truly essential to securing a future for visually impaired students. Thanks to community volunteers and grants like this one from ABB Optical Group, the Foundation is able to continue to work on its mission and set students on the path for success in school and in life.”
The Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation was founded in 2006 by Kevin and Toni Spilsbury. When their son was born blind in 2004, they quickly learned that services for visually impaired and blind children were limited in Nevada. They have since dedicated their lives to providing information and services that enable families and the community to understand and meet the unique needs of children who are blind or visually impaired.
“No parent is prepared to deal with the hardships that come with having a child with an impairment,” said Brad Weinbrum, president of ABB Optical Group. “We were touched by the incredible work of the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation and the profound impact they have on families. They are truly deserving of this funding and we thank The Vision Centers for highlighting them and their efforts. We are proud to have ABB Cares support causes that eye care professionals are passionate about.”
The ABB Cares program recognizes charities that have been nominated by eye care professionals across the country for exceptional programming and community impact. Other 2017 grant recipients are: Special Olympics Florida in Clermont, Fla.; Junior Charity League of Concord in Concord, N.C.; Valley Center for the Blind in Fresno, Calif.; Strathmere Volunteer Fire Company in Strathmere, N.J.; Mercy Health Center in Athens, Ga., and Plano Child Development in Chicago.