Orange County Register – July 29, 2000

The Blind Children’s Learning Center has been filled with Binkies. One for each student over the past 6 months. Thanks to the help of South OC volunteers, Carolyn Berndt, The Itty Bitty Binky Patrol chapter and others, we were able to fill the request for textured, high contrast binkies that the kids could be wrapped up in. Click here for more info after you read this great story. There may be a Blind Children’s Learning Center near you that could use your help and binkies!

The Blind Children’s Learning Center has been helping those with the disability for 38 years.

SANTA ANA – The 10 blind kids didn’t see it, but about 50 people and two sighted classmates watched them graduate from the Blind Children’s Learning Center’s preschool Friday.

The kids can’t see it, but their teachers and family are rooting for them on their road to independence.

The kids won’t see it, but the center will continue watching them when they start kindergarten at their local public school and into their young adult years.

“Blindness can be very isolating and we try to break down those walls,” Linn Morgan, school spokeswoman said.

The center has been helping vision-impaired kids and their families see beyond their handicap for 38 years by working with children as early as birth. The goal is to foster a sense of independence that lasts into students’ adult lives. According to recent statistics from the National Federation for the Blind, 74 percent of working-age blind are unemployed.

That number doesn’t stop the kids from riding tricycles, kayaking or rock climbing. And it didn’t stop them from belting out songs like, “Seeing With My Ears,” at their graduation.

Patty Stewart of Anaheim Hills, whose 6-year-old son, Mark, was one of Friday’s crooning graduates, said she has no idea where she would be without the center.

Her daughter Danielle, also 6 and blind in her left eye, graduated from preschool last year and finished kindergarten this year.

“They’ve been a huge part of our life for the past five years,” she said. Stewart and her family are moving to Washington soon and Mark will attend an academy for the blind while Danielle stays in public school.

“A lot of times society puts restrictions on blind children when in fact they can do it,” Morgan said.