Presidential Proclamation - Blind Americans Equality Day, 2014


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For half a century, our Nation has set aside one day every year to honor the contributions of blind and visually impaired Americans. In that time, we have built a more just and more inclusive society. We have torn down barriers to full participation in our democracy and economy -- but more work remains to guarantee all Americans have a fair shot at success. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to equal access, equal opportunity, and equal respect for every person and continue our work to ensure that no one is excluded from America's promise.

All Americans have a fundamental right to dignity and respect, and to fully take part in the American experience. Every day, people with visual impairments and other print disabilities enrich our communities and demonstrate the inherent worth of every person. In our classrooms, blind Americans teach history and mathematics while fostering an early awareness of the innate possibility within each person. On canvas and through music, artists with visual impairments show us the world as they know it and broaden our understanding of our universe. Across our country, Americans with disabilities contribute to our workplaces and our economy while securing stronger futures for themselves and their families.

My Administration is dedicated to expanding opportunity because all people deserve the freedom to make of their lives what they will. We are building on the foundation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by strengthening the protections against disability-based discrimination and advancing programs that increase accessibility in the places we learn, work, and live. Because Braille is a key tool that unlocks learning for many blind and visually impaired students, my Administration continues to support Braille instruction in classrooms throughout our Nation. We are committed to promoting access to employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, ensuring new technology remains accessible so disabilities do not stand in the way of cutting-edge innovation, and -- through new protections in the Affordable Care Act -- preventing health insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, medical history, or genetic information.

When our Nation is able to harness the full potential of all our citizens, we can achieve extraordinary things. On Blind Americans Equality Day, we resolve to live up to the principles enshrined in the heart of our Nation and do our part to form a more perfect Union.

By joint resolution approved on October 6, 1964 (Public Law 88-628, as amended), the Congress designated October 15 of each year as "White Cane Safety Day" to recognize the contributions of Americans who are blind or have low vision. Today, let us recommit to ensuring we remain a Nation where all our people, including those with disabilities, have every opportunity to achieve their dreams.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2014, as Blind Americans Equality Day. I call upon public officials, business and community leaders, educators, librarians, and Americans across the country to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.



New Technology Helps Those With Genetic Blindness to See


City of Naples proclaims October as Blindness Awareness Month and October 10 World Sight Day

Article Source:

The Little Rock Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children who are blind or visually impaired initiated a bill into law establishing October as "Blindness Awareness Month.” In October 2010, the City of Naples proclaimed October as Blindness Awareness Month and World Sight Day. On October 9, 2012 The Collier County Board of Commissioners presented Lighthouse of Collier with a proclamation from the County. Studies indicate that over 14,000 persons in Collier County live with blindness or significant vision loss. Although blindness and vision loss largely affects senior citizen; accident, disease, genetics and other causes can cause vision loss to persons of whatever age.

Those persons living with blindness or vision loss and their caregivers residing in Collier County and the City of Naples may now receive education, assistive technology, mobility and adaptive independent living training and a myriad of other support services locally from the only full service center in Collier County; namely –Lighthouse of Collier.

World Sight Day (WSD) is an international day of awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. World Sight Day is a day of awareness and urges the local community to observe personal eye health care and that the services of Lighthouse of Collier be made known for the assistance of the blind, vision impaired and their caregivers within Collier County and the City of Naples. On October 10, 2013 World Sight Day will be celebrated at Moorings Park with a special seminar for blind/vision impaired adults.

Other events during the awareness month are the Greater Area Naples Chamber of Commerce Accelerated Networking luncheon at Lighthouse of Collier, seminar at Moorings Park and a special tour and tasting for the blind/vision impaired children at Olde Naples Chocolate.

The mission of the Lighthouse of Collier is to promote the development, implementation and on-going evaluation of programs and services which foster independence and enhance the quality of life for the blind, visually impaired and their caregivers. To learn more about the Lighthouse of Collier please visit or call 239-430-EYE4 (3934).

This story is contributed by a member of the Naples community and is neither endorsed nor affiliated with Naples Daily News


Purchase a Pre-Diabetes Book and Help The Little Rock Foundation

When you purchase the book Type 2 Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes, and the Metabolic Syndrome written by Dr. Ronald A. Codario, M.D., FACP, the Foundation for Underprivileged Diabetics, will send a portion of your contribution to The Little Rock Foundation.

See attached flyer for details



Sun News: Camp, YMCA partner for improvements


Camp Little Rock has entered its third year of operation, offering kids with visual impairment the chance to experience a fulfilling summer camp while catering to their needs.

The camp was named after Rocco Fiorentino, who is blind due to retinopathy of prematurity. Rocco was denied admission to multiple camps facing liabilities over the years due to his blindness and inspired Tina Fiorentino, Rocco’s mother, to begin The Little Rock Foundation and Camp Little Rock for her son and others.

"I think it gives a lot of these kids an incredible experience that they don’t normally have and don’t get the opportunity to do. For some of them this is what their whole summer is – they look forward to this all year," said Rocco, CEO and counselor in training.

Camp Little Rock is an annual, six-week program and is for children ranging in age from 7 to 14. The camp takes place at YMCA’s Camp Ockanickon, offering space for the camp to spread out and use the natural and athletic resources offered by the facility.

Click on attached PDF for full article



Verizon Telecom and National Braille Press Donate First NBP Published Children's Cookbook in Braille "STIR IT UP" to the Little Rock Foundation

Philadelphia, PA (September 3, 2012) -- Stir it Up is the title of the first children's large print and braille cookbook published by National Braille Press, compiled by NBP Publisher, Diane Croft and NBP Trustee and braille reader, Joanne Becker. Thanks to the collaboration between Verizon Telecom and National Braille Press, 25 copies of this book were donated to the Little Rock Foundation, the non-profit organization based in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, dedicated to supporting families with children who are blind or severely visually impaired. There was a presentation at the end of August, 2012, made at Camp Little Rock, the free day camp for blind children in Medford, NJ, to Tina Fiorentino, co-founder and executive director of the Little Rock Foundation, who also runs the camp.

Verizon’s Disabilities Issues Awareness Leaders (DIAL) group selected Camp Little Rock as the recipient for their book donation this year. DIAL worked with the Verizon Foundation to collect contributions from their employees in order to partner with the National Braille Press on the donation. "We are thrilled to be able to give these books to the Little Rock Foundation," said Wismer. "We are so impressed with the work they do for children and youth and we know they will value having the ability to use the recipes in this book."

Quintanilla, a Boston resident, added, "The Fiorentinos are great supporters of National Braille Press, and we know the great work they do for children. I was anxious to visit Camp Little Rock as I was a young person who was not able to enjoy camping because there was no support at camp for the blind. I am so impressed. Camp Little Rock proves that blind kids can do anything they want to do from crossing a beam over the lake to even attempting rock climbing. I hope the kids enjoy using Stir it Up, and it gives them more skills to increase their self-confidence. That’s really the goal."

Stir it Up has many different recipes including "Meatloaf Cupcakes," "Mummy Dogs," and "Ice Cream in a Bag." It is filled with instructions on adaptive techniques like using a tray on the work station to prevent spills on the floor or using a measuring cup with tactile bumps.


Courier Post: Pinelands Camp an Oasis for Disabled Youngsters

Abigail West loves the feeling of freedom.

She prepares for a special ride as two adults attach her to a harness and cable that will lift her toward the tree tops at YMCA Camp Ockanickon deep in the preserved Pinelands of South Jersey.

She hangs there suspended like a tree squirrel for a minute, laughing with her limbs free to move.

For Abigail, this airborne adventure called the “squirrel” lift is a special treat — she says she loves to be “up in the air” — because feeling free is not the norm for her. She lives her life confined to a wheelchair. She has cerebral palsy and speech and vision problems.

West and 27 other campers who are blind, visually impaired, autistic or have other special needs are spending this week at Camp Little Rock — a special program for them within Camp Ockanickon. Most of them and the 45 volunteer counselors come from the region, but some travel to Medford from as far away as Boston.

Click on attached PDF for full article



Burlington County Times: Big things happen at Camp Little Rock

MEDFORD — At first glance, it might be any summer camp: the requisite noise, the cheers, the excitement and the activity.

But on closer observation, it’s apparent that there’s something quite different about Camp Little Rock, which is being held this week at the Y’s Camp Ockanickon off Stokes Road.

Here, the campers often are holding hands with counselors, and the connection is more than just friendly. It’s all about safety.

Camp Little Rock’s uniqueness is that it’s a weeklong camp for blind children, or those with significant visual disabilities. And beyond that, it’s a place where kids experience a kind of freedom that’s often scarce in their lives, with large doses of fresh air, exercise and just plain fun. And it’s all free to qualified area children.

Click on attached PDF for full article



Gloucester County Times: Visually Impaired Children Have Fun at Camp Little Rock

By Kelly Roncace/Gloucester County Times

Imagine building a robot, shooting an arrow and making a delicious taco, all while wearing a blindfold.

People who can see take these tasks, and so many other activities, for granted.

At Camp Little Rock in Medford, hundreds of campers do these and numerous other activities, including swimming, fishing and horseback riding, every day for a week each summer, and they are all either blind or visually impaired.

Click on attached PDF for full article



The Voorhees Sun: Rocco Fiorentino Named One of the Top Volunteers in the Country

Article in The Voorhees Sun
By Robert Linnehan

"If his young life continues in the same fashion, Rocco Fiorentino's parents are going to have to buy a second house to hold all of the awards and accomplishments he has won in just 14 years on this planet..."

Click on attached PDF for full article