Non-profit bridges learning gap for Valley’s visually impaired and blind students

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For months, Carly Lamb has been building a robot.

“I know I get frustrated with it easily,” Lamb said, she shared as she tried to get the robot to pick a ball up off of the floor.

Robotics is not something Lamb thought she could ever do. The 18-year-old is visually impaired and has sight in one of her eyes.

“I thought of it a little more as there’s no one else like me,” Lamb recalled of her childhood. “It was kind of hard because no one knows what I’m going through.”

That’s where the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation comes in. The foundation has existed for about 12 years offering some resources for visually impaired students in the Valley.

Monday night, the Foundation unveiled its new Learning Center in Henderson featuring a preschool, daycare, tutoring, braille literacy, and activities, like Lamb’s robotics team.

“Nevada is one of seven states that does not have a school for the blind,” explained Emily Smith, Executive Director of the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation. 

For years, the Foundation has been helping visually impaired students in the Valley, like Carly, play “catch up.”

“You hear them say, first you learn to read, then you read to learn,” Smith said. “For our kids there’s a step ahead of that, where you really learn the technology and the adaptations that you need to learn to read and read to learn.”

At the Learning Center, visitors will also find a full Braille library, technology lab, and a kitchen. Along with after-school homework help, there are also one-on-one tutoring, employment and life skills training. 

“They’ll have an opportunity to advance their education, educate themselves, get employed, and become empowered,” Robin Lamb, Executive Assistant of the Foundation, and mother of Carly Lamb.

Almost 70% of Nevada’s blind adults are unemployed. The high school graduation rate is only 37%. The Learning Center’s goal is to fix those numbers, and help kids like Carly Lamb improve their self-esteem and quality of life.

“Yay, I got the ball!” Lamb exclaimed. “After having so much frustration with it and seeing it all work out in the end is really fun.

Smith described the moment the Foundation’s kids saw their new Learning Center. “They just felt it. They could just feel the difference. Whether you could see it or not, it felt like home.”

The preschool will open August 2019, but the after school programs and parent support are available now.

Carly Lamb is on her way to UNLV where she’ll study to become a teacher. She plans to continue helping visually impaired children.

For more information you can visit the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation website.

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