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Volunteers Needed for Braille Group

11:55 AM, Aug 11, 2010   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- You can make a difference in the life of a blind person. Volunteers are needed to braille books for children and adults at the Temple Sisterhood Braille Group. 

Up until the 1950s, visually impaired students would take notes in class by using a notebook that looked like a board with a piece a paper on top and a pin to punch holes.  After the 50s, some classrooms also had a braille writer, which looks similar to an old typewriter. 

"If you think of Helen Keller or anyone before, this is what they used," said Sandi Driben, a retired teacher and volunteer.

Driben taught for years at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, and she volunteers for the Temple Sisterhood Braille Group.  She said as a teacher it was always hard to find good braille materials for her students. "We never really had good maps and charts."

She said the braille group helps teachers and students get braille materials they need to succeed in school.  "We teach people here to become certified in braille and you can go on to learn how to braille math and textbooks."

Pat Gray joined the braille group in 2002 after hearing about the need for volunteers on First Coast News. She called the volunteer phone bank, signed up, and has been there ever since. "It's fun to learn it. I love doing puzzles. I feel braille is another puzzle and every book we get is different then the last one."

Gray works mainly on charts and maps for students by taking a drawing in a textbook, using the computer to braille, and then printing out the final copy.  She said she does it because it's something she enjoys and she knows she's making a difference for a person who may not be able to see but can read. 

The Temple Sisterhood Braille Group brailles materials for people all over the state of Florida and in some states in the Southeast.  They braille everything from cookbooks to novels to textbooks, and they do it all for free. 

Volunteers are needed to learn how to braille. Classes will begin soon to teach anyone who wants to learn and help.  Call our Hero Central Volunteer Phone Bank at 904-632-1200 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. today for more information.

First Coast News