New activity center for blind and visually impaired kids opens up, preschool set for 2019

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More help is in sight for Southern Nevada’s blind and visually limited kids. The Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF) opened up a brand new, 12,000 square-foot learning center for blind and visually impaired children in Henderson.

The center provides more space and amenities for the kids they help out. At the learning center, the NBCF puts on educational programs, recreational activities, and life skills activities for the blind and visually impaired kids.

“Up until now, we haven’t had the facility or the resources to really be as proactive as we’d like,” Executive Director Emily Smith said.

Nevada is one of seven states in America that does not have a school for the blind, according to Smith. On top of the educational and social programs, this facility will also be home to a preschool for children who are blind and visually impaired. Smith says that will open up in Aug. 2019.

“Now we have the chance to do something special and get our kids on track early,” she said. “And then, help them get through the whole school.”

Since five-years-old, Carly Lamb has been visually impaired. She lost all vision in her right eye and has partial vision in her left eye. She’s now 18 and getting ready to start up her freshman year at UNLV. She thinks this new center will be extremely beneficial for other kids who either can’t see or struggle with vision.

“They can come here and feel involved and not shuttered away because they’re a little different,” Lamb said. “They can come here and feel unique and special in their own little way.”

She feels ready to take on college and is very excited to do so. That being said, Lamb is all for the idea of opening up a preschool.

“When I was little, I would have loved to have a preschool or school,” she said. “Or, something that would have prepared me more than I already am.”

Last school year, the NBCF helped out 61 blind and visually impaired children. They were limited to that number because of the size of their previous facility. They hope to assist more in the new center. The NBCF is privately funded with an annual budget of around $1 million, according to the organization’s fact sheet.

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