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Empowering the Visually-Impaired Community: KCBAS's Commitment to Inclusion and Innovation

Recently, the KC Blind All-Stars (KCBAS) took on the role of Challenge Sponsor at Make48, an event that epitomizes innovation and creativity. By participating in this one of a kind competition, KCBAS aims to showcase the talents and capabilities of visually-impaired individuals while challenging stereotypes and misconceptions. 

Six schools of the blind will participate in the Make48 competition. As KCBAS representatives and local community supporters attend the event, including the VIP dinner, they will have the opportunity to witness firsthand the ingenuity and creativity of the participating teams. 

In past Make48 events, KCBAS has fielded teams comprising visually-impaired individuals, demonstrating their commitment to promoting inclusivity and showcasing the capabilities of their community. KCBAS team captains, Nick Privitera, Jonel Loreno, and Liji Thomas, rotated the role throughout the weekend for Team Varicella in 2022. 

4 individuals at the Kansas State School for the Blind
Team Varicella brainstorming at KSSB-Make48 2022 event

“We sponsored Make48 because it perfectly fits our goal of empowering students who are blind or visually impaired. Make48 focuses on STEM education, teamwork, and showcasing diverse talents. The involvement of "team captains" from the business community is vital. They guide the students through the innovation process, giving them real-world insights and connections. It's all about enhancing the student's learning experience, which is what KCBAS aims to achieve,” said Marites  Altuna (KCBAS). 

Board member Nick Privitera has taken up as team captain twice. In 2023 his team, DNAwesome won first place and attended Nationals in North Little Rock. Led by passionate individuals driven by the desire for equality and empowerment, these teams have exemplified resilience and determination in the face of challenges. 

By being present and engaged, KCBAS aims to celebrate the achievements of visually-impaired individuals and inspire others to support their cause. Since its inception in 1973, the Kansas City Blind All-Stars Foundation (KCBAS) has been a beacon of support and empowerment for individuals who are blind or have low vision. 

Dedicated to fostering equality and inclusion, KCBAS has tirelessly worked to enhance opportunities for visually-impaired students, particularly at the Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB). By providing essential resources and advocating for their rights, KCBAS endeavors to break down barriers and create a more inclusive environment where individuals of all abilities can thrive. 

Through their involvement, KCBAS seeks to demonstrate that with the right support and opportunities, individuals with visual impairments can excel in diverse fields, including entrepreneurship, marketing and product development.

By providing essential resources, advocating for inclusivity, and participating in events like Make48, KCBAS continues to be a driving force for positive change, paving the way for a more equitable and inclusive society. 

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