NFB BELL® Academy

The NFB BELL Academy provides children with Braille and nonvisual skills instruction through fun, hands-on learning activities.

A woman holds a young girl with glasses in her arms; both are smiling.   A young boy and a young girl both wear decorated sleep shades and stand holding their long white canes.   A woman and a young boy read Braille together.

NFB BELL Academy has helped me achieve goals in Braille and discover new things about myself, I didn’t even realize. And make new, great friends.

The NFB BELL Academy—which stands for National Federation of the Blind Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning®—is a nationwide (United States and Puerto Rico) summer program that prepares blind and low-vision children to grow into confident and independent blind people who live the lives they want.

Activities are provided in a day program or residential setting, depending on location. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, interact with blind adult mentors, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum. Through these activities and interactions, the children learn that blindness or low vision does not define them or their future. 

NFB BELL Academy typically runs Monday through Friday for six hours each day for two weeks.

Who Should Attend

Blind and low-vision children, ages four through twelve, who:

  • Do not receive enough Braille and nonvisual skills instruction in school
  • Could benefit from more Braille exposure over the summer
  • Would enjoy connecting with blind role models

To be honest, for a mother with a low-vision child, I was very uneducated by the blind word, and I didn't think he could attend an event like it…A friend that was taking her son, told me that I should try and we did. The first day was like a whole new world of possibilities and knowledge opened up for me.

Register

While we are living in unprecedented times, we know that the National Federation of the Blind has and will continue to meet the challenge of the times with hope, love, and determination. One of the commitments we made early in this COVID-19 pandemic was to provide resources for blind children and their families, and to support the teaching of critical nonvisual techniques and Braille literacy at home. We want to make sure that students, parents, and volunteers have the best NFB BELL Academy experience possible. We are condensing our academies into three nationally taught and coordinated sessions with support from NFB affiliates. This summer, two-week-long sessions of NFB BELL Academy will take place at 11:00 a.m. ET and at 6:00 p.m. ET. Each session will last for forty-five minutes during the following dates:

  • June 1, 2020 through June 12, 2020—This session has reached its capacity and is now full. 
  • June 22, 2020 through July 3, 2020
  • July 27, 2020 through August 7, 2020

Please note the 11:00 a.m. session taking place June 22, 2020 through July 3, 2020 will be bilingual. This session will be conducted in English and in Spanish.

Each registered student will receive the materials to complete all lessons alongside their parent/guardian via mail. Each day during the two-week session, there will be two opportunities to connect via web or phone with an experienced teacher. This gives students and families the opportunity to ask questions and get to know each other.

Complete the registration form to sign up for one of our NFB BELL Academy sessions (spaces are limited). The cost of this program is free to participating families. However, if you wish to support our efforts in providing Braille literacy please visit https://www.nfb.org/donate.

Supporters

Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support of the NFB BELL Academy.

As a coordinator I was so happy to see how excited each child was each morning when they came into the BELL classroom. Each child was willing to try new things and they are excitedly looking forward to next year's BELL Academy.

Wells Fargo logo.   Seedlings, Braille Books for Children, logo.   American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults logo.

More Information

For more information about the NFB BELL Academy, please contact us at BELL@nfb.org.