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Lions Club program helps visually impaired children learn life skills

ANNIE BLACKBURN
Staff Writer

For Faye Poovey, president of the Lincolnton Lions Club, the BELL program means more than just helping community children.
For her, the partnership between the Lincolnton Lions Club and the Lincoln County Chapter of the National Federation for the Blind to sponsor the Braille Enrichment Literacy Learning program is personal.
“Both my brother and sister are legally blind so it made me want to work for the visually impaired,” she said.
The second annual BELL program is being held at Boger City United Methodist church at 2320 East Main Street in Lincolnton until July 11. Ranging in ages from 6 to 14, visually impaired children from Shelby, Kings Mountain, even as far as Charlotte, will receive daily Braille instruction, alternative nonvisual learning techniques and enjoy various arts and crafts, all in an effort to enhance their learning ability.
The BELL program has three public school teachers on hand, all certified to teach the visually impaired, but it is the visually impaired adult volunteers that Poovey says are really making their mark on the students.
“My brother is a volunteer and loves being with the kids. He learns as much as the children do,” Poovey said.
The adult volunteers help the children navigate through essential survival skills that are needed to succeed in the sighted world.
Robert Tomlinson, who handles publicity for the Lions Club, said the two years the program has run in Lincolnton have made lasting impressions.
“Today, when I delivered lunch donated by one of Lincolnton’s local restaurants, one of the visually impaired students who attended last year remarked that she was happy to be returning to be with the friends she’d made, Lions and other volunteers and she was excited to meet new people,” he said.
The cost for each student is $25 a week. Most meals are donated through local eateries.
“I would encourage any group in the community to help, to see these children at work,” Poovey said. “Just watching these children makes you want to work. They are so wonderful.”
For more information, please contact Faye Poovey, President of the Lincolnton Lions Club at (704) 460-2233.

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