IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The Idaho chapter of the National Federation of the Blind kicked off its summer program for blind children on Monday. Kids from all over the valley met to take part in learning activities.
Kids like Allison McCrecken participated in braille exercises and several crafts. Allison will start school next month at Rocky Mountain Middle School and is excited to show off her decorated mobility cane, but more important, she hopes she is able to keep in contact with her new summer friends.
"It's fun because there are other kids that are blind and at the school that I go to, nobody else is blind," she said.
NFB of Idaho spokesman Sean Malone said many children with visual impairments don't get the chance to interact with kids who are also blind.
"Even if they don't go to the same school, these kids now have someone who understands what it's like to be blind," he said.
In addition to gaining lasting relationships, Malone said this program is an attempt at childhood awareness.
"It's mostly just giving them confidence in themselves so when they meet other kids that are sighted, they can bring awareness to them," said Malone.
Experts said early childhood encounters can hinder a child's confidence and develop into more drastic challenges. Program organizers said their plan is to teach impaired children how to educate their classmates so they can experience a more healthy social life.
"By the time they even get into their teens or even graduate high school, they can go onto college with confidence that they can learn and study," said Malone. "They are equal to their peers."
The program will be held at the Parks and Recreation Activity Center on Skyline Drive until Aug. 1. The event has grown from four students last year to six. Participants had to preregister, but anyone interested in next year's program can stop by for a sneak peek.