Wednesday, December 5, 2007

AIDB celebrates anniversary, continues music program

Some goings-on of note this week at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind:

The Alabama Industries for the Blind will celebrate its 75th anniversary tomorrow. They plan a day-long celebration beginning at 8:30 a.m. and including a formal program at 2:30 p.m. The keynote speaker is Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of National Industries for the Blind.

Begun in 1932, AIB is one of the nation's largest employers of the blind and visually impaired. Products and services include screen printing, mops, brooms, paper products and military supplies. It's also the sole producer of men's uniform neckties for all branches of the military.

"We take pride in the products we produce and have been recognized for delivering quality goods in a timely and efficient manner," said Billy Sparkman, AIB's executive director. "But our most important products are our employees whose lives are transformed from tax consumers into tax producers."

Also this week, AIDB announced two grants to the music program at the Helen Keller School of Alabama, which helps between 75 and 85 children a year with sensory disabilities.

First, the Alabama State Council on the Arts provided the program with $9,840 to help continue a music educator on the campus. The program's total cost is $24,600, and the James W. and Wynona Wilson Foundation made a matching contribution.

"It's a phenomenal program that really motivates student learning and provides instructors with creative alternatives to teaching," said AIDB President Terry Graham. "We are fortunate that Alabama's residents have a true appreciation for the arts, feel that all children should be exposed to various cultures and have the opportunity for artistic expression."

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