Your Dollars in Action – The Braille Challenge
At the recent awards banquet for the 2016 Braille Challenge Finals Competition, Tiffany Kim, the 2003 Braille Challenge varsity winner, stood at the podium ready to present one of the top awards to another deserving student. Tiffany was thrilled to be back and to feel the same excitement in the air that she felt thirteen years ago.
The Braille Challenge is an academic competition unlike any other. This two-stage contest motivates students who are blind to master braille skills while rewarding them with fun-filled activities and prizes. Students from kindergarten through high school, from across the U.S. and Canada, begin this annual process by competing in a preliminary contest in their region. In June, the top regional winners come to Braille Institute’s Los Angeles headquarters and compete for that year’s top national prize — the prize that Tiffany was thrilled to receive when she competed in 2003.
Looking back, Tiffany, who has been blind since birth, felt the most valuable aspect of the competition was that it motivated her to hone her braille reading and writing skills. She feels strongly that, “Being braille literate is essential for successful employment. You have to know how to spell, and you need to be able to take notes in meetings and presentations, because you can’t rely on memory alone.”
Tiffany knows that without her braille skills, she would not have been able to earn both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, and a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Nor would she have landed her dream job as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Blind Field Services.
Major support for the 2016 Braille Challenge Finals was provided by Dot and Rick Nelson, dot.dat.inc, The Julia Stearns Dockweiler Charitable Foundation in Memory of Marcus E. Crahan, Jr., Mary E. Burson, and the LA Optimist Youth Club Through a Bequest from Al & Billie Lond. The major prize sponsor is HumanWare.™