KCBAS Yearly Highlights
Braille Challenge and Celebration of Braille Literacy
The Kansas Sunflower Regional Braille Challenge is a celebration of braille, regardless of the student’s level of participation. The Braille Challenge® is a unique two-stage competition. Each year, between January and March, students in grades 1-12 attend a regional Braille Challenge. Students participate in Braille Spelling, Reading Comprehension, Proofreading, Speed and Accuracy, and Chart and Graph Reading challenges. The top 50 scorers from regional events in the U.S. and Canada are invited to the National Competition held in Los Angeles, California during the month of June. Kansas participants invited to California will receive reimbursement for one round-trip airline ticket courtesy of the KC Blind All-Stars Foundation.
KCBAS 5K and Walk
The Annual KCBAS 5K and Walk is hosted as a hybrid event to accommodate those who were able to participate in-person, and those who prefer to participate virtually in their own locations. In 2022, the event grossed more than $70,000 and proceeds go toward renovating the gym floor and track at the Kansas State School for the Blind. Most important, the annual event helps to raise awareness for KSSB and the students and educators make up this very special community.
KanLovKids Low Vision Clinics
The KanLovKids Program provides low vision collaboration clinics at different locations across the state of Kansas per year, depending on the need. Much of Kansas is rural and without the clinics, access to services can be limited or nonexistent for children with low vision. The clinics take place in addition to the children’s regular optometrist and ophthalmologist check-ups and are intended to assist children with their needs for everyday living at home, school, or in public. The only clinics of its kind in the state, they provide recommendations for parents, teachers, and caregivers for adaptations to the students’ curriculum and environments to best meet the children’s needs, taking a comprehensive view of the child’s needs into account. The Kansas Lions Club and the KC Blind All-Stars Foundation assist the Kansas State School for the Blind in funding this project.
The Gwendolyne Hawley Trust Scholarship Award Program is designed to assist deserving post-secondary students who are blind or visually impaired with their education. Students are selected for the awards based on a variety of factors that indicate their high potential to make our investment in their future a worthwhile venture. The Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB) and its foundation, the KC Blind All-Stars Foundation, are responsible for distributing the Gwendolyne Hawley Trust on behalf of the Hutchinson Community Foundation. The late Mrs. Hawley, of Hutchinson, Kansas, left this trust to assist blind students with their post-secondary education. This will be the 24th year the scholarship has been awarded. The amounts of the scholarship award(s) have ranged from $500 to $3,350.
Summer Internships and Job training
Students aged 16 to 21 who attend our Extended School Year (ESY) program have opportunities for community-based work experiences, arranged by our school staff. Students are hosted by businesses who agree to provide access to job sites where students can learn to develop social skills, travel skills, and job skills in real-world environments. The length of the work experiences vary, based on the needs of the business and the readiness of the individuals, but all students learn valuable lessons about workplace expectations, culture, and demands. KSSB staff provide transportation, job coaching, and help businesses make their job sites more accessible for students who are blind or low vision.