by Jan Gray
Greetings from Texas! I am the second vice president of ACBT, and the one responsible for fundraising. There has been a lot of interest from other states as to our activities this year. The fund-raising committee and I wanted to do some different things that had not been done before. So what did we do?
We decided that we wanted an escape room that was totally accessible for blind people. Thanks to Vispero, we were able to make it happen. At first, attendance was a little slow, but after a couple of sessions, the participants were talking about how much fun they had, business picked up, and we were able to make a profit.
Generally, we hold a dance on Friday night for our fund-raiser; however, attendance has been dropping. So we brainstormed a little and came up with a Carnival in the Dark. Now the name is a little deceiving, as the lights were left on, but anyone who had sight had to wear a blindfold to play the games. We had a couple of casino games, but no money changed hands, only tickets. We charged a flat rate. The carnival games consisted of bowling, bean bag toss, Velcro darts, a duck pond, a Plinko game, and a cupcake walk. The cupcake walk had to be done blindfolded and using a white cane. There were tiles on the floor in an oval. The numbers were on the tiles, and when the whistle blew, whatever tile they were beside was how they determined the winner. Several sighted guys came away saying that they never realized how hard it was for their wives who were blind. We also had an area with a carnival backdrop for picture-taking. The tickets they earned were redeemed for prizes. We had the largest attendance that we have experienced for a Friday night entertainment in a long time. Everyone seemed to have a great time! The biggest complaint was that we had run out of back scratchers on the prize table.
I must attribute much of the success to my committee members for all their ideas and willingness to go the extra mile. They were fantastic to work with. All of our projects worked well because we planned carefully, and it was new, different, and, most of all, fun, not only for the participants, but for the committee as well. I would encourage everyone to reach out and try new things. Remember that success is in the planning and the willingness to put your heart into your projects.