Junior Blind of America

For nearly six decades, Junior Blind's mission has been to help those who are blind, visually impaired or multi-disabled achieve independence. 94% of those they serve are under age 21, and their service spectrum ranges from infants and children with one to six disabilities to newly blind adults who have been injured in a traumatic accident or diagnosed with conditions that lead to visual impairment. Nearly 80% of families served are low-income and all direct services are offered free of charge. Junior Blind has been awarded a grant for $16,400.00 to fund a Youth Tandem Program which will introduce youth, ages 8-18, who are visually impaired or blind to the exhilarating sport of tandem cycling. The Youth Tandem Program will be implemented during the school year at their after-school enrichment program, over selected weekends during their adventure trips, and at camp in the summer, and will serve 150 blind children and approximately 150 sighted peer "captains". At the core of their recreation programs is the integration of children who are blind with those who are sighted, offering them physically challenging activities that they can enjoy together. Integrating children in this manner not only promotes critically needed physical activity, but helps dispel stereotypes about children with disabilities, promoting awareness and sensitivity toward those with special needs. For some, biking will be recreation; for some, just getting on a bike and putting on a helmet with be a life-changing moment; for some tandem cycling will become a competitive sport, as it is one of the few official Paralympic sports that are available to the blind.