Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Eyes of Me

The Eyes of Me – Austin Downtown Lions

On December 11 the Board of Directors of the Austin Downtown Lions viewed a sneak peek screening of the documentary film titled “The Eyes of Me.” Sponsored by the nonprofit organization All Blind Children of Texas, the film follows the lives of four teens who have lost their sight. The parallel stories of two freshmen and two seniors unfold over the course of one dynamic year at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin.

After watching 15 minutes of selected scenes, several members of the Board admitted to holding back tears as they watched. “The Eyes of Me” offers a fresh perspective on the lives of young people living with visual impairments. The film captures intimate moments of their everyday lives and tells their stories as they have never been told before.

Their teenage dramas (dating, prom, after-school jobs, academic anxiety and family relationships) are familiar to the high school experience, while their personal stories (how they lost their sight; how they deal with their disability; what direction their lives will take) are unique.

“The Eyes of Me” will broadcast nationally on PBS in 2009. As the only portrait of its kind about blind teenagers, the film presents a unique opportunity to shatter many of the misconceptions that impede the personal growth and independence of young people with visual impairments.

To maximize the positive impact of the film, the Austin Downtown Lions Club has approved a lead gift of $10,000 to fund the filmmakers’ educational outreach efforts. These funds will support the creation of curricula to be implemented in Texas high schools and will promote learning standards established by the Texas Education Agency. The curricula will examine themes raised by the film, including appreciation of diversity and the struggle for personal independence. The Austin Downtown Lions contribution will be matched by the Meadows Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities to satisfy nearly 30% of the project's total budget.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the contribution in the hope that other organizations or individuals will support this worthy project. Calculating the impact of matching funds already committed to the project, an additional $30,000 is needed to fulfill the budget. All contributions to the project go directly to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization All Blind Children of Texas.

For information on how to support this project, visit the All Blind Children of Texas website at:

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