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Indy-based nonprofit receives grants to open family resource center for kids who are visually impaired

By Aleah Hordges

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    INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) is receiving more than $500,000 in grants to help open a family resource center near downtown Indianapolis.

The Simon & Estelle Knoble Family Resource Center is expected to open this fall.

Regional Director Meredith Howell told News 8 VIPS has served 900 kids statewide.

VIPS received grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust for its “Envision the Future” capital and operations campaign.

The nonprofit does in-home early intervention with children 3 years old and younger who are blind or visually impaired.

Howell says the family resource center will have classrooms, a doctor’s office, kitchen and large play area for kids.

The facility has walls written in braille with dark colors to avoid over visual stimulation for children. It will allow for more programming and training sessions. Howell says staff members will continue to work with kids’ emotional needs as well as their developmental, social and cognitive skills.

“We really need to be there for the families from the very beginning. Ninety percent of what their child learns is through their vision. Eighty-five percent of what that baby will learn will be in the first five years of their life,” Howell said.

Howell added the two significant grants helped VIPS reach 98% of its capital campaign goal and the organization continues to seek donations.

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