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Dozens of blind kids and adults celebrate the “Braille Games”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- For many of us, the act of reading requires the sense of sight.  But for those who are visually impaired, they use their own methods to read -- by using the Braille language.

“You can basically say they're Olympics for the blind, basically,” said 10-year-old Peyton Herrick.

You can call it a competition for those with vision loss or a way to bond with others who read and write in Braille.

“What's cool about this program is that we match blind children with blind adults as mentors,” said Cheryl Orgas, Executive Director of Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement or ABLE.

On Friday, 47 blind children from all over southeast Wisconsin and 11 blind adults took part in what is called the "Braille games."  It's an annual event held at Gaenslen School in Milwaukee to help improve Braille skills and celebrate a world of information at their fingertips.

“We can do all kinds of things that everybody else can do,” said 13-year-old Carlos Garcia.

With games that help demonstrate how those raised bumps create letters or exercises that help them grocery shop, each of these activities have Braille labels.  It’s so kids as young as five can learn to adapt and break the stigma associated with being blind.

“So children know when they grow up, they can have all kinds of cool jobs.  They can live in their own, they can be independent,” said Orgas.

“I was a little nervous, then when I got here, I got surprised,” said 6-year-old Rubi Hernandez.

It was Rubi’s first time at the Braille games and certainly not her last.

“Because they can't see like me because I’m special and they're special like me,” she said.

The day-long event helps build confidence by meeting with role models.

“We get to talk to them, like maybe we have questions.  Like how do you survive in an adult world when you're blind?” said Garcia.

Proving that they, too, are just like everyone else with the same dreams and opportunities.  An empowering sight -- that requires no sight at all.

“That they can grow up to be attorneys and social workers and athletes,” said Orgas.

This is the 11th year for the “Braille games.”  The event is made possible by the help of several groups including the Vision Forward Association and Audio & Braille Enhancement.