Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA Braille and Cane Club recognized with award, proclamation

March 31, 2016 - University Marketing Communications
Stephen F. Austin State University's Braille and Cane Club within the Department of Human Services has been recognized with the Natalie Barraga Award from the Texas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. In conjunction with the award, the City of Nacogdoches is proclaiming April 7 Braille and Cane Club Day.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's Braille and Cane Club within the Department of Human Services has been recognized with the Natalie Barraga Award from the Texas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

In conjunction with the award, the City of Nacogdoches is proclaiming April 7 Braille and Cane Club Day. The first formal reading of the proclamation and display of the Barraga award will be at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Human Services Building, Room 314, on the SFA campus.

The Barraga award acknowledges excellence in public school programs for students with visual impairments, and it is given in honor of Dr. Natalie Barraga for her long and distinguished career in the education of students with visual impairments and in university personnel preparation.

"This is a tremendous honor, and we are so proud of the club's initiative and achievement in the field," said Michael Munro, SFA visual impairment and orientation and mobility program director. "I am very proud that our Braille and Cane Club has become such an incredible resource for students and families in and around the SFA community."

The SFA Braille and Cane Club is a student-governed organization that strives to raise awareness about visual impairments. Shannon Dwyer serves as the club's president and is an SFA senior majoring in rehabilitation. She attributes the club's success to its members and past officers, such as Laura Poyner and Ashlynn Peterson, who have worked to elevate the club's standing within the community.

"Receiving this award not only means we are getting our name out into the community, but also that we are getting closer to achieving our mission statement," Dwyer said. "It truly is an honor to be recognized and to receive the award."

The club was established in 1999 and promotes advocacy, encourages empowerment and provides education to the surrounding community. Club-sponsored events, such as the annual Christmas and Easter celebrations, White Cane Day awareness, Dining in the Dark, Disability Pride Parade and more, have become important resources for the community and families of individuals with visual impairments. The club has approximately 40 current members.