CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A holiday fundraiser has the power to empower blind and vision-impaired children for the rest of their lives. IFB Solutions is selling cards Brailled “Happy Holidays” to raise money for the S.E.E (Student Enrichment Experience) Program.
“Many of them are the only child with a visual impairment at their school,” said Alli Romero, the S.E.E. Charlotte program coordinator. “So coming here and having that time to hang out and socialize is really important for them to feel that they can relate to other kids.”
“You could just make a kid’s life,” teenager Hayes Hanvey of South Charlotte says of the card fundraiser.
Families of kids who are blind or vision-impaired scramble to find ways to support them. S.E.E. comes in, focusing on what they CAN do, and not what they can’t do.
FOX 46 caught up with Hanvey and her friends in the afterschool program at Sardis Presbyterian. At first, they were enjoying playground time together that many kids might take for granted. While the playground equipment creaks in the background, Hanvey made fond memories in the foreground.
“We were just swinging and talking and laughing,” she says.
“A lot of people don’t understand how it is to be blind,” Hanvey explained.
Hayes has been blind since birth because of a rare genetic disorder. Her dad got her involved in S.E.E. when she was just three.
“As time goes by you realize she can do everything,” Dan Hanvey told FOX 46. “It’s our job to make sure we expose her to it, show her how to do it, and she’s done fantastic and she does everything everybody else does.”
Hayes takes on everything from ziplining to music with a sense of adventure. She plays piano and guitar and has a love for groups like Nirvana and Green Day. Her goal is to go to Cal Berkeley and become a child psychologist.
“Being blind doesn’t put me at a lower level than you,” says Hayes. “I can still think just like you can. And I can do everything you can… it’s just in a different way.”
She’s a prime example of how instilling the confidence to get out of their comfort zone is a life-changing gift.