AOA and Helen Keller Birthplace Foundations Support Camp Courage for Visually Impaired Children

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TUSCUMBIA, Ala.— Optometry Cares ̶ The AOA Foundation and the Helen Keller Birthplace Foundation will invite blind or severely visually impaired children to the first “Camp Courage: A Helen Keller Experience.” Starting October 2013, the camp will be held here annually, offering hands-on learning experiences similar to those encountered by Helen Keller from an early age through adulthood and introducing participants to the arts and to nature programs through senses other than sight.

“This is the most exciting, innovative program to potentially inspire so many children with visual challenges and other disabilities to ‘Be Like Helen,’” said Martha Rosemore Morrow, OD, past president and board member of Optometry Cares. “Our optometric oath reflects the greatest gift to man, vision. I am so proud that Optometry Cares ̶ The AOA Foundation also cares enough to be a huge part of Camp Courage with these children [who are] so visually challenged.”

Camp Courage will include educational, social and inspirational components. “Our purpose is to show the fortitude and courage of Helen Keller, and how, with the guidance and wisdom from her teacher, Anne Sullivan, one person can make a difference in [someone’s] life,” said Sue Pilkilton, executive director at the Helen Keller Birthplace Foundation, whose primary mission since its founding in 1954 has been to showcase Helen Keller’s home and life story to people from around the world. “Those selected for the camp will come with their parents at no cost, and there will be designated activities for the parents, which will relate to the challenges faced by their children.” Qualified teachers of visually impaired and hearing impaired individuals from the University of North Alabama and the University of Alabama in Birmingham will participate as instructors.

Camp Courage has applicants applying for scholarship positions. Interested individuals or organizations can make a tax-deductible donation by sending a check payable to “Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation,” with “Camp Courage” on the memo line, to: Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation, 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141. Or, donate online by selecting “Camp Courage: Helen Keller Experience” under Program Designation.