BELL (Braille Enrichment for Literacy & Learning) Academy

NFB BELL (Braille Enrichment for Literacy & Learning) Academy logo

The National Federation of the Blind of Delaware (NFBDE) will be sponsoring its third BELL (Braille Enrichment for Literacy & Learning) Academy held weekdays, July 30 through August 10, 2018 between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. The program will be held at the BlindSight Delaware located at:
2915 Newport Gap Pike
Wilmington, DE 19808

The BELL Academy will provide instruction in Braille and daily living skills to children ages 4 through 12 who have lacked the opportunity and sufficient exposure to these important areas. In addition, the children will form new friendships with other vision impaired/blind children and adults, and interact with sighted children who will attend the PRAHD’s own summer program. Highlights from last year’s BELL Academy included working with model trains, building a toolbox, enjoying hands on activities at Turtle Back Zoo, building motorized cars and helicopters with Lego’s, played goalball, and participating in science experiments pertaining to chemistry and magnetism.

The children will have access to blind adults that will serve as mentors and facilitators of our program.

Our goal is to enable the children to live the lives they want through upbeat and positive attitudes, skills, and experiences provided by the BELL Academy.

If you would like to review and/or complete an application for the BELL Academy, please visit You can read the affiliate-specific Frequently Asked Questions brochure for Delaware at For more information, please contact Kathryn Bottner, our state BELL coordinator, at or by phone at 302-528-2963.

BELL Academy Pictures – 2017

BELL Academy students and instructors picking up groceries at ShopRite.
BELL Academy students assisting instructors while picking up groceries during their trip to ShopRite.

Sheila Vincent from DE Nature Society (Ashland Nature Center) with a fox pelt.
Sheila Vincent from DE Nature Society (Ashland Nature Center) passes around a fox pelt for all to touch at the DE BELL Academy 2017.

Otter and minc animal pelts from the Ashland Nature Center
More soft animal pelts to feel from Ashland Nature Center: an otter and a mink at the 2017 DE BELL Academy!

Hannah Pretz, Brandywine Traveling Zoo, shares snake skin, capybara skull and sea turtle shell with BELL 2017 participants
Hannah Pretz, Brandywine Traveling Zoo, shares snake skin, capybara skull and sea turtle shell at DE BELL Academy, 2017.

More sharing of animal skins, skulls and skeletons from Brandywine Traveling Zoo
More sharing of animal skins, skulls and skeletons from Brandywine Traveling Zoo at the 2017 DE BELL Academy

NFBDE BELL Academy posing with staff at the Minquadale Fire Company
The NFBDE BELL Academy visits the Minquadale Fire Company and poses with staff.

Having fun while reading Braille books at BELL 2017
BELL students and teachers are having fun while reading Braille books

Students & teachers reading Seedlings Braille books at BELL 2017
BELL students and teachers are enjoying reading Braille books provided by Seedlings.

BELL Academy Sponsorship Request 2018

You Can Help Sponsor This Summer’s BELL Academy
From Ice Cream to T-Shirts, Braille Paper to Pizza

Please consider the opportunity to help sponsor some part of the Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy this summer, to be conducted in Wilmington, DE. The 2018 dates for the BELL Academy are July 30th through August 10th.

The BELL Academy is a two-week program for visually impaired and blind children ages 4 through 12, many of whom have had minimal exposure to braille. The program presents opportunities to enhance braille and blindness skills. Instruction in activities of daily living furthers the children’s independence and self-sufficiency. Blind mentors and volunteers provide excellent role models, keeping expectations high and proving that blindness is not the characteristic that defines one’s future. All BELL Academy children receive a free white cane and a free slate and stylus from the NFB.

Please review and consider the following list of sponsorships. Thank you.

  • $200 Tee shirts for all participants
  • $200 Supplies for arts and crafts
  • $150 Christmas in July party with Santa
  • $100 Louis Braille birthday party
  • $100 Various games: Twister, Bingo, etc.
  • $50 Ice cream at the beach
  • $30 Mid-week pizza party
  • $30 Braille paper
  • $20 Dark lined paper
  • $15 20/20 pens
  • $10 Snacks per day
  • $5 Water for each day

Sponsorship for Tactile Graphic Products

Competence in understanding and using tactile/raised-line illustrations is critical for blind children both for academic and expressive needs. The following five items promote this important but often less-recognized subject area.

  1. 4 or more Sensational Graphics Blackboards at $49.95. Here’s a short video:
  2. 3D Doodler Pens, $100 each with “ink” strands. More packs of “ink strands” cost $12.00 for a 25-pack.
  3. InTact Sketch Pad $125.
  4. InTact Sketch Pad electric eraser $150
  5. Extra InTact Sketch Pad paper: 100 sheets for $24.00

Note: We have received several sponsorships prior to this posting, and we thank those that have made the donation.

Once again, thanks for your interest and support to drive the BELL Academy vehicle along the road to literacy and learning for blind children. Together, with love, hope and determination, we transform dreams into reality.

Please make checks payable to NFBDE and mail to:
Kathryn Bottner, President
24 Monterry Drive
Newark, Delaware 19713

In the memo, please write “BELL.” Any sponsorship in any amount will be appreciated.