In May of 2008, Carolyn Meyer, Director of the Louis Braille School, and I attended a meeting of the Puget Sound Grantwriters Association in downtown Seattle. We listened to Claudia Kauffman talk about the Charitable Fund of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe in a plain-spoken, friendly, and professional way.
Comparing notes at the end of her presentation was just a formality for us. From the earlier glances we exchanged with each other while she spoke, we both knew the Muckleshoot Charitable Fund was one to which we would submit a grant request.
As we discussed project possibilities that would meet the fund’s guidelines and criteria, it wasn’t long before a booklet Carolyn had created some years ago popped up in our minds as a likely candidate.
The booklet, specifically designed for parents and friends of children learning braille, teaches the basics of uncontracted braille in an easy to learn manner, using interactive exercises, fill-in-the-blanks, and multiple choice.
Carolyn reviewed braille learning materials available at that time and talked to sighted parents of children who are blind. Many of them described the manuals as too complicated and having too much information.
“I wanted something that was simple, direct, and without a lot of explanation—a quick way that would take people through the alphabet, basic punctuation, and numbers,” Carolyn said.
And she wrote a booklet capable of doing all that, according to the feedback she received from families and others who learned the basics of braille from the initial workbook.
But, lacking the funds to expand publication beyond a limited quantity of hand assembled copies, the booklet was shelved until such time as more publishing capital could be obtained. After hearing Claudia Kauffman speak, we hoped that’s how the Muckleshoot Tribe might wish to be of help.
We wrote the grant, sent it off to the tribe in August of 2008, and didn’t think much about it after that as the months went by.
Then, in a letter dated June 19, 2009, we received an official notice informing us
“…your application for funding has been approved by the Muckleshoot Charitable Fund Committee.” Accompanying the letter was a check for $2,500 (slightly more than the sum we originally requested!).
The tribe’s guidelines state: “The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has long understood the importance of being proactive in meeting the needs of its community. The Muckleshoot Charity Fund has placed high priority in awarding grants to organizations throughout the region that address the unique local and regional issues facing the population.”
The Louis Braille School expects to order a print run sometime in the next few months, with eventual sales aimed at individuals, libraries, agencies and organizations within Snohomish County and beyond working with children who are visually impaired.
Check our Web site in the future for an opportunity to make an online purchase of the booklet. We’re excited at the thought of making such a useful resource easily available at a reasonable cost.
Our thanks go out again to the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and their Charitable Fund Committee for their support.