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BELL (Braille Enrichment for Literacy & Learning) Academy

NFB BELL Academy logo

Thank you for helping the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey (NFBNJ) sponsor its 6th BELL (Braille Enrichment for Literacy & Learning) Academy. Please stay tuned for next year’s details.

NFB BELL Academy – Placing Hands on the Future

The NFB BELL Academy helped blind and low-vision children, ages four through twelve, develop the literacy skills that will empower them to achieve their academic goals and live the lives they want. This year, with the assistance of our Wells Fargo partners, we provided opportunities for students to imagine, create, and touch their future and dreams; by not only raising expectations through Braille instruction, but by nurturing their development of tactile arts and graphics. Through the generous support of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, each student participant in the 2019 NFB BELL Academies were provided with an inTACT Sketchpad. To learn more about the NFB BELL Academy, visit https://nfb.org/bell-academy.

Thank you for getting the word out and thank you to The Allergan Foundation for transforming dreams into reality with your generous grant!

Application Steps

Please note that the application process for NFB BELL Academy contains several steps:

  1. Fill out the NFB BELL Application Form at https://archive.nfb.org/bell-student-application-form.
  2. After you submit the application, you will receive a confirmation email. That confirmation email will direct you to fill out the Permission and Release Forms at https://archive.nfb.org/bell-permission-and-release-forms.
  3. After you complete the permission and release forms, you will receive another confirmation email. This second confirmation email will contain your answers to the permission and release forms.
  4. Print out this second confirmation email, and sign and date it at the bottom of the last page.
  5. Send the signed confirmation email to the BELL Academy state coordinator listed on the email.

BELL Academy Pictures

To view all pictures and videos from current and previous BELL Academy programs, please visit our BELL Academy Pictures page.

NFB Code of Conduct & NFBNJ Sexual Abuse, Molestation and Harassment Prevention Policy

The National Federation of the Blind Code of Conduct and the National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey Sexual Abuse, Molestation and Harassment Prevention Policy will apply to our gatherings during the BELL Academy.

 BELL Academy Sponsorship Request for 2020

You Can Help Sponsor Next Summer’s BELL Academy
From Ice Cream to T-Shirts, Braille Paper to Pizza

Please consider the opportunity to help sponsor some part of the Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy next summer. The dates and location for the 2020 BELL Academy program will be announced soon.

The BELL Academy is a two-week program for vision impaired and blind children ages 4 through 12, many of whom have had minimal exposure to braille. The program presents opportunities to enhance braille and blindness skills. Instruction in activities of daily living furthers the children’s independence and self-sufficiency. Blind mentors and volunteers provide excellent role models, keeping expectations high and proving that blindness is not the characteristic that defines one’s future. All BELL Academy children receive a free white cane and a free slate and stylus from the National Federation of the Blind.

Please review and consider the following list of sponsorships. Thank you.

  • $200 Tee shirts for all participants
  • $200 Supplies for arts and crafts
  • $150 Christmas in July party with Santa
  • $100 Louis Braille birthday party
  • $100 Various games: Twister, Bingo, etc.
  • $50 Ice cream at the beach
  • $30 Mid-week pizza party
  • $30 Braille paper
  • $20 Dark lined paper
  • $15 20/20 pens
  • $10 Snacks per day
  • $5 Water for each day

Sponsorship for Tactile Graphic Products

Competence in understanding and using tactile/raised-line illustrations is critical for blind children both for academic and expressive needs. Thanks to the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, each BELL Academy program will receive an InTact Sketch Pad electric eraser and all of the students will receive inTACT Sketchpads. The following four items promote this important but often less-recognized subject area.

  1. 4 or more Sensational Graphics Blackboards at $49.95. Here’s a short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxHt_QYMg8E
  2. 3D Doodler Pens, $100 each with “ink” strands. More packs of “ink strands” cost $12.00 for a 25-pack.
  3. Additional InTact Sketch Pad electric erasers, $150 each
  4. InTact Sketch Pad paper: 100 sheets for $24.00

Note: We have received several sponsorships prior to this posting, and we thank those that have made the donation.

Once again, thanks for your interest and support to drive the BELL Academy vehicle along the road to literacy and learning for blind children. Together, with love, hope and determination, we transform dreams into reality.

Please make checks payable to NFBNJ and mail to:

Joe Ruffalo, President
254 Spruce Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

In the memo, please write “BELL.” Any sponsorship in any amount will be appreciated.

Additional Information

To learn more about the NFB of New Jersey BELL Academy program, please contact Mary Jo Partyka, our state BELL coordinator, at choirnfb@gmail.com or by phone at 609-888-5459.

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