By Jacob Perkins
Like schools throughout the Commonwealth, the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville was excited to welcome students back to campus in March.
After nearly a year of virtual learning, students and staff returned to the Louisville campus for in-person instruction. But within a month, the school faced a problem. It was running low on masks.
“We go through a large number of masks,” said KSB Principal Peggy Sinclair-Morris. Some of the school’s students need to change their masks frequently throughout the day, she said.
“Masks are really important for our kids. For us (at KSB), sometimes it can be difficult to socially distance. We may have a student who needs a human guide. Some of our littler students may need more direct interaction,” Sinclair-Morris added.
KSB was connected with Christopher 2X, a Louisville community activist, and his Game Changers organization, which had masks to give. Game Changers is a nonprofit that promotes early childhood education, mentoring, and parental and community involvement to positively impact the lives of Louisville’s children.
KSB originally requested 300 masks for students and staff. During an April 26 press conference, the Game Changers organization doubled the request and presented 600 masks to the school.
The donation by Game Changers will help ensure the school has enough face masks for the rest of this school year and for upcoming summer programming, which includes an enrichment program that will address the social-emotional needs of KSB’s students.
“Having these masks to provide will be a huge plus,” Sinclair-Morris said.
Also in attendance at the press conference was Sharon Porter-Robinson, vice-chair of the Kentucky Board of Education, who commended the collaboration between KSB and Game Changers.
“I am just thrilled and touched,” she said. “You see, we’re in this together and we all need to be observant of what is needed. We all need to have the courage, the energy and the caring to do what is needed.”
In addition to the donation to KSB, 2X is challenging the Louisville community to donate masks to KSB.
“What we need to do is keep the Kentucky School for the Blind stocked up on masks until we get through this pandemic,” 2X said. “Game Changers started with 600 masks. We now want to set a goal for at least 3,000 more.
“If the public would join in … we can make that successful for the Kentucky School for the Blind.”
Going forward, 2X plans to build a long-term relationship between his Game Changers organization and KSB, something school officials say also could benefit the organization.
“Not only can other organizations help us, but we have a wonderful student body and a wonderful staff, and we can really bring a lot to other organizations as well,” Sinclair-Morris said.
KSB provides comprehensive education services to Kentucky students who are blind and visually impaired, birth to age 21. Residential housing is available on campus for students who live throughout the Commonwealth.
The school provides a homelike environment in a dormitory setting that encourages students to attain independence in daily living. While residing on campus, students have access to a wide range of extracurricular and recreational activities.