BALTIMORE, Jan. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, on the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the reading and writing system for the blind that bears his name, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Wells Fargo launched the 2017 Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy program. The program takes place throughout the country each summer and provides blind children initial or advanced Braille instruction so that they may learn how to use this powerful reading medium in fun, interactive ways. In addition to sponsoring the BELL Academy, Wells Fargo will provide strategic input into the program and offer team member volunteers at select academies.
Mark A. Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said "The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines children or their future. Our BELL Academy helps these children learn the basics of Braille, as well as meet other blind children and adult mentors. They engage in activities designed to increase their independence, allowing them to make friends, gain support, and start on the road to a future in which they will live the lives they want. In an environment where only ten percent of blind children receive Braille instruction, we deeply appreciate Wells Fargo's support of this critical nationwide effort to increase literacy and raise expectations for blind children."
This is the second year Wells Fargo is sponsoring the BELL Academy. In 2016, 325 students participated in the BELL Academy across 30 states and 45 academies. To spotlight this 2016 work, Wells Fargo released a video showcasing the Rhode Island BELL Academy program: https://stories.wf.com/kids-realize-sight-not-essential-success/?cid=adv_-_-_-_1701_104043
Kathy Martinez, head of People with Disabilities Segment Strategy at Wells Fargo, said "Wells Fargo is committed to the full inclusion of blind people and other people with disabilities. The National Federation of the Blind represents an integral part of our corporate mission. We are pleased and proud to support, and promote the innovative NFB BELL Academy, which teaches critical life skills to be successful adults."
To learn more about NFB and the BELL Academy, please visit https://nfb.org/bell-academy.
About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune's 2016 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially. In 2015, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 16,300 nonprofits, ranking No. 3 on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's rankings of the top corporate cash philanthropists. Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.86 million hours in 2015, serving more than 40,000 nonprofits. Wells Fargo's corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on three priorities: economic empowerment in underserved communities, environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
VP, Corporate Communications
Wells Fargo & Company
SOURCE National Federation of the Blind