By NewsLine Staff

For more than 60 years, the Temple Sisterhood at Congregation Ahavath Chesed in Mandarin has sponsored a program to teach Braille, a form of written language designed for the blind and visually impaired. This program teaches volunteers to convert printed books into braille versions used by the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, other institutions serving the visually impaired, and individuals who make special requests. These services are provided at no cost to all recipients. 

During 2020, the program’s volunteers contributed more than 20,000 hours, equating to more than $591,000 in donated value (based on the University of Maryland economic impact calculator.)

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The 2021 – 22 class of braille volunteers is forming now. It is open to both men and women of all faiths. An introductory meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23 at Congregation Ahavath Chesed/The Temple, 8727 San Jose Blvd. Braille classes will start on Sept. 30 and continue every Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is a nine-month program on transcribing text into braille, or converting illustrations into tactile graphics.

Course materials are provided to the volunteers at no cost. While no computer is needed for tactile graphics, braille transcribers must have their own Windows computer. Course graduates can go on to be certified as braille transcribers by the US Library of Congress. 

For more information, contact Pam Wiker at (904) 610-6733 or; Holly Cleveland at (904) 463-0357 or; or Nancy Cohen at (248) 250-2406 or

Photo courtesy Linda McQueen
The introductory meeting for this year’s braille volunteer class will be Sept. 23.

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