Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "Santa approached the National Federation of the Blind a couple of years ago and asked us to be his helpers. I'm quite fond of the fellow and was delighted that we could assist him in his work. Braille literacy is the key to success and opportunity for the blind, but unfortunately too few blind children are learning it today. This program will not only be jolly good fun but will also serve an important educational purpose, as blind children will be able to practice reading Braille as they enjoy their letter from Saint Nicholas."
Between November 16 and December 20, parents can go online at www.nfb.org and fill out a Santa Braille Letter request form. The form can also be printed and faxed to (410) 659-6893. Beginning December 1, the Braille letters from Santa will start going out to boys and girls around the country. The Braille letter will also be accompanied by a print copy (for mom and dad to read), and parents can choose the contracted or un-contracted form of Braille for the letter. Requests for letters must include the writer's name, the child's name, birthday, gender, mailing address, and a telephone number or e-mail address in case Santa's helpers at the National Federation of the Blind have questions.
The Braille letters from Santa program is part of the National Federation of the Blind's national Braille literacy campaign, the largest ever undertaken in United States history.
Congress authorized the minting in 2009 of 400,000 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollars to mark the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille (1809-1852) and to support the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to promote literacy among blind Americans. This unique and beautiful commemorative coin is the first U.S. currency to feature tactile, readable Braille.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar will be used to support the NFB's "Braille Readers are Leaders" campaign, a national initiative created to double the number of blind children learning Braille by 2015, improve certification standards for teachers of Braille, and conduct innovative programs to support Braille literacy.
The deadline for letter requests is December 20, to ensure that a return letter in Braille is received before Christmas. For more information about this and other programs of the National Federation of the Blind, please visit our Web site at www.nfb.org. Those interested in ordering a 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar or the new Braille Education Set, which features the coin in a collectible folder designed to highlight the life and legacy of Louis Braille, should visit www.braille.org or www.usmint.gov or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar and the Braille Education Set will only be available until December 11, 2009.
About the National Federation of the Blind
With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.