MEDIA ADVISORY: Braille Institute Hosts ‘Cane Quest’ Featuring Unique Challenges for Students in Grades 3 to 12 Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Demonstrating Fundamental Orientation & Mobility Skills Necessary to Navigate the Sighted World

MEDIA ADVISORY: Braille Institute Hosts ‘Cane Quest’ Featuring Unique Challenges for Students in Grades 3 to 12 Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Demonstrating Fundamental Orientation & Mobility Skills Necessary to Navigate the Sighted World
October, 2017 Client News

WHY CANE QUEST IS IMPORTANT TO OUR COMMUNITY: 

  • Cane Quest is an Orientation & Mobility contest for students in grades three to 12 who are blind or visually impaired.
  • Orientation & Mobility (O&M) skills include fundamental travel techniques and cane skills, such as sound localization, dropped objects, traffic light crossing, and vehicle detection.
  • For the first time ever, this year’s contest will happen on a college campus, with the intent to demystify higher education and promote career exploration for students who are blind or visually impaired and their families. According to a 2015 Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research study, the employment rate for individuals who are legally blind/visually impaired is just 37 percent. However, many adults who are blind or visually impaired have obtained competitive employment and good wages. Traditionally, there are high rates of unemployment among individuals who are legally blind or visually impaired in the United States, and events like Cane Quest are designed to bridge the gaps from high school to college to workforce employment.
  • Contestants will experience being on a college campus and speak with college graduates who are blind or visually impaired, many for the first time.
  • As of Oct. 17, 42 students have registered, which is the highest amount of participants since the event inception.
  • Students compete in three distinct skill categories – scouts, explorers, and trailblazers – and are challenged to demonstrate fundamental orientation & mobility skills and travel techniques necessary to navigate the sighted world they live in.
  • Parents may attend workshops to learn about accessibility resources available to students and families in higher education institutions and will explore a vendor fair.
  • The 7th annual contest signifies the advancement in orientation and mobility programs among youth and in our community at large.
  • The contest will be followed by the Charter College of Education’s (CCOE) Orientation & Mobility Program 50th Anniversary Celebration. A student scholarship will be awarded, and O&M pioneers will speak.
  • Together, Braille Institute and the Charter College of Education at Cal State Los Angeles will honor the impact that orientation and mobility specialists have in enhancing individual lives, schools, and communities.
    WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Best time for media to cover: 9 a.m. to 12 noon for visuals and interviews

WHERE: Cal State LA campus, Courtyard next to King Hall, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032

BEST PLACE TO PARK: Parking lot #4 (All press coming in not clearly marked vehicles must provide individual names in advance)

CAMPUS MAP: Download map here, no password required.

VISUALS BETWEEN 9 A.M. AND 12 NOON:

  • Opening ceremony
  • Children performing fundamental orientation and mobility skills and travel techniques during contest
  • Scouts (grades 3 to 6) perform more basic skills such as “sound localization” and “dropped objects”
  • Explorers (grades 7 to 9) and Trailblazers (grades 10 to 12) perform more advanced skills such as “traffic light crossing” and “vehicle detection”
  • The Los Angeles Metro is providing two buses to Cane Quest so students can have a realistic simulation of bus travel techniques

INTERVIEWS:

  • Peter Mindnich, President, Braille Institute of America
  • Sergio Oliva, Director of National Programs, Braille Institute of America (fluent Spanish)
  • Diane Fazzi, Orientation & Mobility Specialist, Coordinator, CCOE O&M Specialist Training Program in Visual Impairment & Blindness
  • Cheryl L. Ney, Dean, Charter College of Education at Cal State LA
  • Contestants (students in grades 3 – 12):
    • Sofia Nevarez, contestant in the Scout category, from Santa Ana, CA. Sofia is 11 years old, she is in sixth grade and has been a Cane Quest contestant since 2015. She loves to sing and is part of our Johnny Mercer Children’s Choir in Anaheim.
    • Graham Kope, contestant in the Trailblazer category, from Valley Village, CA. Graham is 16 years old and he is in 10th grade. He is part of the Los Angeles Youth Program and this is his first time participating in Cane Quest. He has attended our dance and fitness classes and outside of Braille Institute, he has attended ballet classes.
  • Parents and caregivers
  • Orientation & Mobility Specialists
    • Jacinda Danner, Orientation & Mobility Specialist and Teacher of the Visually Impaired. A resident of Alaska, she is coming to this year’s Cane Quest. Danner, who was named 2017 Teacher of the Year by Braille Institute during the recent Braille Challenge event, hopes to establish an Alaska Regional Cane Quest. (Click here to watch video)
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