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Look at how these orgs help the visually impaired

For the visually impaired, it’s not just about the daily tasks. “We want people to not only be independent, but to have the same joy of living that anybody else has,” says Carmen Apelgren, community relations coordinator for the Braille Institute. These orgs help the blind and visually impaired do just that.

CONNECT THE DOTS The Braille Institute, which has operated in Hollywood since 1919, helped 64,000 people last year with classes at five Southern California centers, an audiobook lending program and computer technology training. The org also publishes Braille books and the bi-monthly Braille Mirror, which translates articles from magazines and newspapers.

In June, kids from the U.S. and Canada will compete in the Braille Challenge, a sort of Braille “Jeopardy.”

Learn how you can volunteer on the morning of June 13 at their Los Angeles Sight Center, 741 Vermont Ave. RSVP to Michelle Sheridan at 323-663-1111 or visit Brailleinstitute.org.

GET OUT THERE Junior Blind of America operates six programs to help the blind and visually impaired from infancy to adulthood. At the org’s Camp Bloomfield in Malibu, kids learn horseback riding, swimming and track and field, all with the goal of gaining independence.

“To come out of their world and have the same opportunities as every other child is extremely important,” says Miki Jordan, incoming president. To volunteer or donate, visit Juniorblind.org.

PREVENT AND CURE The Foundation Fighting Blindness works to fund research that will provide prevention, treatments and cures for those with retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and other retinal degenerative diseases. It is currently the world’s largest non-governmental source of funding for this research.

Help out by joining the 5k VISIONWALK in Irvine June 4, or sit in on the foundation’s seminar on macular degeneration June 24 at UCLA. Visit Blindness.org.

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