[wisconsin] Fw: [acb-l] Fwd: FYI: Blindness Awareness Month
SCHNEIKS at uwec.edu
Thu Sep 22 18:45:31 EDT 2011
36 STATES RECOGNIZE OCTOBER AS
BLINDNESS AWARENESS MONTH
AND LITTLE ROCK FOUNDATION IN VOORHEES, NJ
Voorhees, NJ (September 22, 2011) – Initiated by The Little Rock Foundation in 2009 in the State of New Jersey, Blindness Awareness Month (BAM) has now expanded to 36 states across America. It is overwhelming to think what the determination of one boy (and his family and supporters) can do to make a difference in the world! Launched by Rocco Fiorentino, who is totally blind and now 14 and also one of the Top Ten Youth Volunteers in the USA (as named in Washington, DC in May, 2011 by Prudential), the goal of Blindness Awareness Month is to help everyone understand what it’s like to live without sight.
Throughout the month of October there will be events and special activities that will build awareness about ways to prevent, treat and cure blindness and other serious visual impairments. When NJ Governor Corzine initially signed this into law, he said it was, “the hope to educate the public about eye disease and eye care and to address the rising trend of blindness and severe visual impairment.”
>From Oregon to New Hampshire, from Montana to Alabama and Massachusetts, according to Little Rock Foundation’s volunteer Community Outreach Coordinator, Debbie Nichols, the volunteer Community Outreach Coordinator of Little Rock and the mom of a blind boy who has been very instrumental in the campaign said, “I’m a collector. I’m determined to collect them all!” Tina Fiorentino, executive director of Little Rock, is overwhelmed by the national support for BAM. “I remember how thrilled we were when Governor Corzine and PA Governor Ed Rendell first signed on and supported our goal to educate the public about blindness,” she said. “And now, with 33 states – and many more still pending, it is so personally gratifying to know how Rocco has made a difference, how everyone involved with The Little Rock Foundation has impacted on the nation.”
Rocco Fiorentino has always been an advocate for other children who are blind or severely visually impaired. As the Ambassador of The Little Rock Foundation, since he was five years old he was lobbying NJ State Legislators to improve Braille education in the State, and, because of Rocco, $1.2 million dollars has been designated for this cause. In later years, through the impact of his lobbying, he saved the jobs of over 50 employees of the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, totaling $600,000.
Rocco and his parents, Tina and Rocco Fiorentino who created The Little Rock Foundation to help other families with children who are blind or visually impaired, have rallied enormous support from many organizations throughout the State of New Jersey and also in Pennsylvania since BAM was launched. Some of these groups are: NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, National Braille Press, Perkins School for the Blind, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Association for Blind Athletes, Wills Eye Hospital, Overbrook School for the Blind, PA Association for the Blind, Free Library of Philadelphia, Talking Book and Braille Center and much more.
Rocco, who is an accomplished jazz singer and pianist, is an incredible story himself. Born four months premature at only 1 ½ lbs and with less than a 5% chance to survive, he said, “We want to send the message that being blind shouldn’t hold anyone back from being a success. We just have to do things our own way. You have to always believe in yourself and anything happen.” Rocco was honored to be a special guest on the award-winning television show Sesame Street and share this same message with Elmo and all the characters on Sesame Street (and the world of viewers.) The show was first aired in 2010 and it continues to run today.
Collaborations are encouraged throughout October to celebrate Blindness Awareness Month. Those organizations and individuals interested can find more information about The Little Rock Foundation and Blindness Awareness Month can visit www.blindnessawarenessmonth.org,
www.tlrf.org , e-mail tina at tlrf.org or call 1-877-220-2500.
List of States Participating in Blindness Awareness Month, 2011 (as of September 22, 2011)
8.. Georgia -
22.. New Hampshire –
23.. New Jersey
24.. New Mexico -
25.. North Carolina
26.. North Dakota
31.. Rhode Island
33.. Texas –
35.. West Virginia
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