If you’re thinking about a good place to help out this coming fall in Austin, a great opportunity to consider is at the TX School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
This article on my news feed about blind twins Nikki and Kendal reminded me of this impressive school along 45th St. in Austin and the minor times I got to help out there—definitely a very fascinating experience and a place that I felt was commonly overlooked.
TSBVI is a public school for students that are partially to fully blind, housing students ages 6 to 21 during the week from areas all over Texas. The large campus offers an enriching environment for students to learn and opportunities for the community to be volunteers in classes like swimming and P.E., math, science and music tutors, and as personal guides while grocery shopping or helping with tasks such as reading the students’ mail for them.
The school provides comfortable settings for students to grow socially as well— their own prom, plays, student council, and an array of sports like track and field, cheerleading and goalball, a game with a three-pound ball containing bells where blindfolds are worn to even the playing field.
Gloria, the Director of Community Resources at TSBVI, says that volunteers hear about TSBVI every semester only by word-of-mouth or through fulfilling requirements for campus classes. Organizations like Social Cycling ATX have also had events like tandem biking with TSBVI students.
Interested? Check out the TSBVI’s volunteer page.
P.S. In the article, Nikki mentions the book Hailstones and Halibut Bones, which “goes through every color and pairs it with a taste, a smell, a touch and a sight,” descriptive for learning colors.