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home : news : news March 27, 2023

7/25/2015 7:16:00 AM
Lions, Boger City UMC Sponsor NFB BELL Program
Two-week summer camp was held at church fellowship hall
Campers this year ranged from 4-15: (Clockwise) Abigail 5, Tyanna 15, Madison 8, Myah 5, Dallas 9, Jacob 9, Hayes 7, Joshua 14
Campers this year ranged from 4-15: 
(Clockwise) Abigail 5, Tyanna 15,
Madison 8, Myah 5, Dallas 9, Jacob 9,
Hayes 7, Joshua 14
Among the volunteers at this year's BELL camp were Stacey Davis, Faye Poovey (Lions Club VP--standing in front), Hannah Gold, Rachel McSwain and Maria Kraft
Among the volunteers at this year's
BELL camp were Stacey Davis, Faye Poovey
(Lions Club VP--standing in front), Hannah
Gold, Rachel McSwain and Maria Kraft

Wayne Howard

BELL is an acronym for Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning.  There are two National Federation of the Blind BELL programs currently operating in North Carolina.  The first of those was started five years ago in Raleigh.  The second was begun three years ago in Lincolnton.  There are future plans to add another in the Asheville area, but that's just in the beginning planning stages.

Lincolnton's BELL program was held the last two weeks (July 13-24) at Boger City United Methodist Church.  This was the second year at that location.  The program was started with the help of the Lincolnton Lions Club at David Memorial Baptist Church three years ago.  That first camp ran one week.  The program was expanded to two weeks last year.

This year's BELL camp had eight children participating.  Some were from Lincoln County; others from as far away as Kings Mountain. 

 Yvonne Franz, who lives in Lincolnton and works as a teacher for the visually impaired in the Cleveland County Schools, got involved with the North Carolina program from the start. Franz moved to North Carolina eight years ago.  She had previously lived in Oxnard, California, and worked there for eight years as a teacher for the visually impaired and as a Braille transcriber for 14 years.

"The camp doesn't teach Braille," said Franz's co-leader Sara Singletary, who also works in the Cleveland County Schools as a teacher for the vision impaired, "you certainly can't do that in a week.  What we're teaching them is life skills.  They learn about how to function in a group with other blind as well as sighted people."  The activities are supervised by adults, several of whom are also visually impaired.

1-Eddie Sigmon

"It's the blind leading the blind," Franz said.

Singletary noted that one of the campers had increased his Braille literacy from less than a dozen letters to 18 during this year's program.

In addition to Franz & Singletary, Dale Lieser was also one of the teachers at this year's event.

Joy Scott, who is president of the Lincoln County chapter of the National Federation of the Blind and NC Coordinator for the BELL program, said the programs are made possible by contributions from clubs, churches, individuals and businesses--among them the Friends of the NC Library for the Blind in Raleigh and both the Lincolnton Lions Club and Boger City United Methodist Church.

Reverend Eric Reece, Pastor of Boger City United Methodist Church and President of the Lincolnton Lions Club, received approval from his church for the NFB BELL Program to use the church's fellowship hall. Rev. Reece also secured a $2,000 grant from the Duke Endowment to provide financial support for the NFB BELL Program.

Lion Robert Tomlinson told us, "Lion Eric and my wife attended a series of workshops from the USDA and Lincoln County Schools Children’s Nutrition for Boger City UMC to become an approved Summer Lunch Program location. Several of us attended a one-day LCS Children's Nutrition Program workshop to become certified Site Managers. With the exception of the two field trips (the one to McDonald’s and the other to the Lazy 5 Ranch) and a cookout on the final day of hot dogs and hamburgers grilled by Lion Rev. Charles Stevens and donated by the Men of Pisgah United Methodist Church along with other food items donated by the Lions, the children received a bag lunch daily prepared by the LCS Summer Lunch Program. These meals were served by Lincolnton Lions and members of Boger City UMC."

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