By Berrylynn Freeby, The Desert Sun

A perfect day for a hike! The Braille Institute of Rancho Mirage could not have ordered a more perfect day for “White Cane Safety Day.” A bus brought some of the Braille students to the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains national monument for a hike. Sabby Jonathan, mayor of Palm Desert, and Tammy Martin, director of Friends of Desert Mountains, were there to greet them upon their arrival.

Tammy answered questions regarding the “Ed Hastey” garden trail that has been recently completed just for white canes, wheelchairs, and walkers. It is paved and part of the trail has rails alongside. The trail has various desert plants that offer scents, birds, and desert “critters.” Loss of vision does not mean that you should not venture out!

Patricia Westcott, a new student at the Braille Institute, is experiencing new ways to make her day easier. She said the first thing she learned was hands out in front of you to protect yourself so you don’t run into things. She is in a sensory class that teaches you to rely on your other senses of smell, touch, hearing and taste; she is also being taught healthy living. Patricia was very excited about all the things she is learning. All classes are free.
White canes were made to assist visually impaired people in the 1930’s. Today they are easily recognized, and motorists identify and yield to people using the white cane.

Mark your calendars for Feb. 16, 2019, for the Braille Institute’s fundraising event.

For more information regarding the Braille Institute please phone (760) 321-1111.