Anderson Children's Foundation

Braille Institute Rancho Mirage

Distance Learning for Visually Impaired Children (2020-2021)

Braille Institute's Social Distance Lesson series seeks to replicate our in-person youth services, and is in direct response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, and resulting governmentmandated closure of our centers. Lessons are focused on independent living skills and day-to-day living. Skills that are essential for visually-impaired youth in a rapidly changing world. Proposed social distance lessons include: Kitchen Safety, Eating Tips &Techniques, Pouring Tips & Techniques, and Locating Techniques ( to name a few). Without this project student would be without a venue to practice their skills with other students.

Orientation and Mobility (2019-2020)

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Smart Pens (2018-2019)

Braille Institute’s mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and sight loss. Funding from the Anderson Children’s Foundation will specifically support the Rancho Mirage Youth Services Individualized Educational Placement (IEP) course series, which covers such topics as computers, independent living skills, exercise and nutrition, and creative arts.

In this project, we teach students how to take notes using a Livescribe Echo Smartpen. In partnership with the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, our students will have the opportunity to learn proper note-taking techniques through the Disabled Students Program. Funds will be used for purchasing 10 Livescribe Echo Smartpens, special notebook paper/dot paper, travel costs to the College of the Desert and staff time. These pens will benefit students because they take the place of bulkier and less efficient braillers. This project will also introduce opportunities for interaction with peers in a more formal educational setting preparing them for future academic endeavors.

Connection Pointe: Tech for Youth Services (2017-2018, 2016-2017)

Braille Institute is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate blindness and severe sight loss as a barrier to a fulfilling life. Therefore, our Youth and Career Services program is designed for youth between the ages of 6-18 who are blind or visually impaired and focuses on fostering confidence, self-esteem, life skills and independence leading to vocational training, higher education and employment.

It has been demonstrated that young people who are blind or visually impaired are just as capable as sighted youths. Braille Institute’s youth program offers a series of structured, activity-based events which supplement regular school and community activities, along with encouraging our students to interact with others.

For example, Braille Institute gives our students the opportunity of attending several educational and fun-filled activities such as behind-the-scenes tours to Sea World and Dodger Stadium, Snow Skiing at Big Bear Mountain and many more. In addition, every year Braille Institute holds a special event; the National Braille Challenge.

Braille Institute, Rancho Mirage has sponsored monthly educational “Youth IEP Days” for our local visually impaired students. This gives them the opportunity of attending our center and taking various courses concentrating on their independent living skills, orientation & mobility skills, braille, adaptive technology, socialization skills, etc. For example, technology is growing in today’s world and fortunately our youth and families have the option of scheduling free hands on demonstrations and technology training sessions on the latest mainstream and adaptive devices. Connection Pointe gives our youth and families access to discover the latest technology.

Braille Institute’s Youth Program will continue to focus and encourage our blind or visually impaired children, teens and their families to become successful and independent. In addition, Braille Institute’s Youth Program is involved with the following:

  • Home visits/School visits
  • Attend IEP (Individualized Education Program) Meetings
  • BIA’s Youth/Career Services Assessment
  • Distribute Resources Available