Future Reflections         Summer 2010

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by Laura Weber

In 2009 and 2010 the Texas Parents of Blind Children (TPOBC) pioneered several programs for blind children and their families. In 2009 we started a program called Braille Education and Skills Training (BEST). Our goal is to supplement Braille and cane travel skills, expand social opportunities, provide resources to help families learn Braille, and allow blind children to meet and work with blind mentors--all while having fun. So far we've had six activities, mostly in Houston. In 2009 we held a Braille Scavenger Hunt, adapted games, and went on a beachcombing excursion in Galveston. So far in 2010 we've held a Braille story time and crafts hour, baked cookies, and practiced our O&M skills on Houston's public transportation. TPOBC has sponsored two family activities in the past year, a fall festival and a spring picnic.

Goalball is another new TPOBC activity. TOPBC sponsored a new goalball team for kids in Houston. There have been six information sessions and practice games.

In 2010 TPOBC launched a new Teacher-of-the-Year Award. The first annual award went to Emily Gibbs, a teacher of blind students in Brazosport Independent School District (ISAID). Ms. Gibbs received a certificate and a grant of $600. The grant helped her attend the 2010 NFB National Convention in Dallas.

TPOBC board members welcome the opportunity to speak at conferences. Recently we addressed the Texas Division for Blind Services Workshop at the University of Houston and the Texas Association of Blind Students (TABS) Conference, also in Houston. TPOBC had a booth at the Texas Division for the Blind Foundation for Life Conference in Corpus Christi.

Currently our TPOBC database lists 234 families. We communicate with our members via our Website, than <www.tpobc.org>, and our listserv. Our TPOBC Google Groups listserv now includes 131 members.

To date, most TPOBC activities have taken place in Houston, since that's where the majority of our board members live. Recently we have started to hold some meetings and activities in Corpus Christi as well. Our goal is to hold meetings and organize activities across the state.

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