Established in 2022
In 1957, the Pinellas Braille Group was formed and has been sponsored by the Temple Beth-El for 65 years. The PBG is a 501c3 not-for-profit group of volunteers who produce Braille and digital recordings for use in the schools, and for anyone who requires Braille services.
The Braille volunteers produce literary works, braille menus for restaurants, Church bulletins for the blind, braille in Spanish and French, and textbooks and tests for school students, among other things. The focus of our work lately has been early reading books to help children learn to read braille. We produce 1400 FREE braille books annually for students throughout the State of Florida. Some braillists specialize in mathematics, science and foreign languages. PBG audio volunteers record books and produce CDs to accompany some of the brailled books.
Once a year the PBG gives Achievement Awards to visually impaired students in grades 6-12 in the Pinellas County School System. These awards are given in recognition of educational achievement, mobility and development in independent living skills. The Mildred Shavlan Achievement Award honors Mildred Shavlan, one of the early members of the PBG. Recently we have expanded our awards to include scholarship awards from the St. Petersburg Lions Club and the Pinellas Council of the Blind. We also present the Guiding Light Award which annually recognizes the work of one of the Teachers of the Visually Impaired in Pinellas County. We realize that good teachers make good students.
Braille classes are held for volunteers who are interested in learning Braille transcription. It is a 9-month course taught by one of the certified Braille volunteers. All materials are provided at no cost to the students. When the course is completed, the students must pass a test to be certified by the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
Our most recent project is an exhibition of visually impaired children’s artwork presented at the Morean Arts Center in Fall 2019 and at the Dunedin Fine Arts center in 2020. The artwork was created by the over 200 visually impaired or blind students in the Pinellas County Schools. It was called YOU CAN FEEL WHAT WE SEE, and the public was encouraged to touch the artwork, to “see” it as a blind person would.
Membership in the Pinellas Braille Group is open to all, whether you can braille or not! Annual dues are $10.
Volunteers are always needed to help us with many of our programs.
- Donate slightly used children’s books.
- Help with collating books.
- Help with receptions.
- Donate to the Scholarship Awards.
- Learn to transcribe braille.
For more information, contact Mary Klein at 727-418-8887 or go to our website at www.pinellasbraille.org.
PINELLAS BRAILLE GROUP | A 501c3 non-profit organization | 400 PASADENA AVE S | ST PETERSBURG, FL 33707