2017 Florida Braille Challenge – A Decade of Dots

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Florida Braille Challenge Celebrates its’ 10 Year Anniversary

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the annual spelling bee held in the United States called the Scripps National Spelling Bee. You know, the national spelling bee where qualified students go to compete for spelling supremacy. They’ve crowned many spelling champions over the years and had a lot of entertaining moments like these:

Since it’s first year in 1925; the national spelling bee has gained national recognition and become part the popular culture here in America. But the question is… have you ever heard of the nationwide annual Braille Challenge?

If not; here’s your chance to learn more about this invaluable event that challenges kids who are blind or visually impaired to reach their peek potential in Braille reading and comprehension skills. By spreading awareness of the Braille Challenge, my hope is that it will join the Scripps National Spelling Bee as part of the cultural and social fabric here in the United States.
2017 Braille Challenge. 10th Anniversary Florida Regional. A decade of dots. A national program of the Braille Institute.

What is the Braille Challenge?

The Braille Challenge is the only national braille literacy competition of its kind in the country. The nationwide program by the Braille Institute® is hosted by regional schools and agencies that serve children who are blind or visually impaired. The Braille Challenge is specifically designed to test and reward students who are blind for their comprehension of braille, which is vital to their future success in academia and the business world. Students who score in the top 50 nationally are invited out to the Braille Institute in Los Angeles for a final competition!

What does the Braille Challenge promote and why does it matter?

The Braille Challenge promotes literacy, comprehension, independence and success; just to name a few. The kids who participate are encouraged to put their Braille skills to the test. The feelings of accomplishment they receive can help strengthen their confidence in future endeavors.

Knowing that, it’s plain to see why the Braille Challenge matters. It encourages and supports kids on their path to Braille literacy. Whether students are reading Braille or regular print, literacy truly leads to more personal independence and opens the door to more opportunities in life. What’s more important than that?

It’s been reported that the Braille literacy rate within the blind community is only 10 percent! If you ask me, that’s absolutely unacceptable. No one would be willing to accept a 10% literacy rate amongst the overall general public. I think it’s well past time for us as a nation to raise the bar for Braille literacy. Events like the Braille Challenge are helping to make this a reality and I applaud their efforts!

“Braille Challenge is so important to our students, they enjoy competing with each other and themselves.”
Sue Glaser, Florida Braille Challenge Coordinator

Why does Braille Works sponsor the Florida Braille Challenge?

We believe in the Braille Challenge and their mission to help kids from all over the country reach their potential. That’s exactly why we here at Braille Works have helped sponsor the events for several years; more specifically the events in our home state of Florida. We humbles us to know that the dollars are going to help local children in our own area who are working to be the best they can be.

More importantly; the experiences we’ve been blessed with while volunteering at the Florida Braille Challenge events will be forever cherished. The positive atmosphere is always apparent from the moment we arrive to the Award Ceremony that caps-off the event.

New themes make the Braille Challenge even more fun for the kids.

Before each Florida Braille Challenge takes place, coordinators get together and choose a special theme to help make the event more exciting for the kids, parents and teachers who attend. This years theme is called “A Decade of Dots” in celebration of the Florida Braille Challenge’s 10-year anniversary. Here’s a quick rundown of themes they’ve had since 2010 with links to photo albums.

2010: Braille Invasion (Pirate theme)

Florida Braille Challenge Coordinator Sue Glaser posing for a picture with two men who are dressed in pirate costumes.

2011: Aloha Braille (Hawaiian theme)

Braille Challenge participants, parents and teachers.

2012: Force of Braille (Star Wars theme)

Braille Challenge participant posing for a picture with Darth Vader.

2013: Red, White and Braille (American Pride theme)

Uncle Sam poster reading "I want you to Braille your best!"

2014: Rock ‘n’ Braille (Music theme)

2014 Florida Braille Challenge participants.

2015: The Wizardly World of Braille (Harry Potter theme)

2015 Florida Braille Challenge sign with a black witches hat.

2016: For the Love of Braille (Valentine’s Day theme)

2016 Florida Braille Challenge participants.

2017: A Decade of Dots (theme celebrating their 10-year anniversary)

How to get involved as a participant or a volunteer.

Volunteers and helpers are always appreciated! If you’d like to get involved with the Florida Braille Challenge and enjoy working with kids; visit their website and signup using their online registration. Dates are listed below:

  • North Florida – Jacksonville: Thursday, February 2, 2017
  • East Florida – Orlando: Friday, February 10, 2017
  • South Florida – Ft. Lauderdale: Friday, February 24, 2017
  • West Florida – Tampa: Friday, March 10, 2017


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This post was written by Jeff Frcho

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