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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/SUSAN HOLLAND Jeff Davis (left), secretary of the Gravette Lions Club, tells children attending Helen Keller Day about the Lions Clubs' sight conservation projects, testing children's eyesight at Glenn Duffy Elementary School and collecting used eyeglasses for shipment to other countries. Also listening during the program at the library June 4 are Al Blair, Lions Club president; Sue Rice, Lions Club member; and Brittany Mangold, library clerk.

GRAVETTE -- Karen Benson, manager of the Gravette Public Library, and library staff members hosted a Helen Keller Day celebration Tuesday afternoon, June 4. Members of the Gravette Lions Club also participated in the program.

The celebration honors Helen Keller, a well-known advocate for aiding the blind and visually impaired. Keller suffered an illness at only 19 months old which caused her to lose both her sight and her hearing. She learned to read and write braille with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Keller attended college at Harvard University and was the first blind and deaf person to earn a college degree. She went on to write 12 books. She challenged the Lions Club, a well-known service club, to become "knights of the blind" and aid them in any way they could.

Library clerk Brittany Mangold opened the celebration by leading the children in a fun exercise of spelling out various words by waving a colorful scarf. As they went around the circle each participant chose what word they wanted to spell.

Jeff Davis, secretary of the Gravette Lions Club, spoke briefly to the children about the Lions Club and its activities in support of sight conservation. He told how members of the Lions Club test the eyesight of children in pre-K and kindergarten classes at Glenn Duffy Elementary School each year and told the children they could expect to be tested when they reached that grade level. He also talked about their collecting pairs of eyeglasses at several locations around town. These are refurbished and sent to other countries where eyeglasses are scarce or hard to obtain because they are too expensive.

Cela Gaytan, tailtwister of the Lions Club, read the story, I Am Helen Keller by Brad Meltzer, to the children. The youngsters listened intently as Gaytan read the pages detailing Helen's life story.

After listening to Meltzer's book, the children were given papers showing how to make the characters in the Braille alphabet. Using the Braille characters, each child spelled out his name on another sheet. Then they were given lentils to glue over the dots on the page, creating a raised surface similar to that on the pages of a Braille book.

Community on 06/12/2019

Print Headline: Gravette Library, Lions Club celebrate Helen Keller Day

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