Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

Most people know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, it is also Blindness Awareness Month. The Little Rock Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children who are blind or visually impaired, initiated a bill into law establishing October as “Blindness Awareness Month.” Goals of this organization include: building a better life for those with visual impairments/blindness as well as understanding and educating about the difficulties and challenges these people without sight face every day.
Here at West Chester University, Camp Abilities has a similar motto. Camp Abilities is a camp hosted right here on West Chester’s campus during Memorial Weekend. Camp Abilities PA @ WCU strives to empower children who are blind or have low vision, through sports and nutrition education, to be dynamic members of their schools, communities, and society in general. Studies consistently show that children who are blind or have low vision have lower levels of health-related physical fitness than their peers, and Camp Abilities PA @ WCU plays a vital role in reinforcing each child’s self-esteem and confidence in his or her ability to master specific sports, physical education, and social activities.
On Oct. 19, West Chester University Camp Abilities PA @ WCU hosted a Wellness Day. Wellness Day usually takes place in October and is a day the for the athletes of Camp Abilities PA to play sports, relieve stress, work on their mental health, meet up with friends and have fun! Camp Abilities PA @ WCU Wellness Day is a combination of sports, discussions, and activities to help athletes deal with issues of making school transitions, being an athlete and student with a visual impairment, stress, bullying, and lifetime physical activity. Currently, the elementary program, whose participants are under 13 years old, focuses on healthy friendships, empowerment through movement, and nutritious food choices. The secondary program, which involves participants 13 years old and older, addresses self-advocacy and self-efficacy, empowerment through physical activity, and making healthy meals. The ultimate goal of the day is to empower the athletes to take control of not only their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing, because being an athlete involves whole body health.
Visually impaired individuals are often seen as shy and timid in social situations; however, more often than not, they are more willing to be engaged in communication creating the perfect platform for approach because their social mentality negates the presumed or judgmental socialization norms of younger generations. This allows for the perfect environment for people to simply be themselves instead of exceeding society’s expectations.
Students may have also seen West Chester CAPA coaches around campus this month advocating and spreading the word about Blindness Awareness Month. These are the times they will be around campus if anyone would like more information about Blindness Awareness Month:
Oct. 28, Sturzebecker Health Science Center: 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 29, Sykes Student Union: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Oct. 30, Sykes Student Union: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
For more information about Camp Abilities PA @ WCU, go to campabilitiespa.org or email campabilitiespa@gmail.com. Don’t be blind; reach out, because they are waiting to catch you!
Christina Portelli is a fourth-year student majoring in physical education. She can be reached at CP735960@wcupa.edu. Millad Bokhouri is a third-year student majoring in pre-physical therapy. He can be reached at MB783140@wcupa.edu. 

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