How We Learn from Each Other

Outings with Christina

by Christina Ivanna

Christina IvannaAs you can see, in this issue of our newsletter my picture is more animated than usual. I was caught totally enjoying and applauding the performers from the Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder Drum Line. They kicked off summer braille camp this year for us at the local Civic Stadium.

Christina cheers the drum line
Christina cheers the drum line

All of us, kids, parents, friends and members of the drum line, had a great time. We also experienced the mutual warmth which comes with such generous and caring give and take. The Drum Line members experienced the joy of the smiles, clapping, and stomping to their music. The audience was overtaken with the amazing beats and playfulness produced by these lovely people. After the performance many of us shared a snack or soft drink together and got to know that other person a bit more personally.

Camp is definitely about having fun! Summer Braille camp was about having fun, and also about having the opportunity to be with and learn from others. Several of our visiting presenters were new to a visually impaired audience. Many of them expressed interest in returning during the school year. The children learned much which was new and interesting. Our visitors learned all children can be included in group activities, with some adjustments. No one need be left out.

As an observer, what was most moving about the camp experience was the genuine caring, love and respect displayed between campers, staff and guests. Equally as touching was the response from children who appeared to be shy during group activities. Then one day responds as if to say to us all, “I have been paying attention! Thanks for including me, not forgetting me. I have my special way, and I appreciate you allowing me the freedom to be myself but also continuing to love me and engage me.” A special place like the Louis Braille School camp is where this is possible. The focus is on building bridges instead of walls. The “other” is not so different after all. And there is always an aha! to be found in the smallest of us.

Now it is the beginning of the second academic year at the Louis Braille School. We look forward with anticipation to our new and former children arriving. We also look forward to new guest presenters coming to teach, and others to return.

Christina Ivanna is Outreach and Support Administrator for the Louis Braille School. She can be reached at 425-778-2384 or by email.