FAIRFIELD, NJ — The American Red Cross New Jersey Region Jane Bente Braille Center is currently seeking volunteer Braille transcribers and is offering a free training course this September at the Red Cross, located at 209 Fairfield Road in Fairfield.

The Braille Center was established after World War I to help soldiers blinded by mustard gas and is one of the largest volunteer-based Braille production centers in the country. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the Jane Bente Braille Center will offer area residents the opportunity to make a difference in a blind child’s life with this unique training.  

Each year, Red Cross volunteers create more than 1,300,000 pages of academic materials and more than 3,000 textbooks in Braille. These are distributed throughout the United States and foreign countries to help empower visually impaired children to study in mainstream schools instead of in specialized environments.

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“Becoming a volunteer Braille transcriber is a great opportunity for recent college graduates, retirees and others interested in making an impact on the lives of blind children here in New Jersey and across the country,” said Ana Montero, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region.

The Red Cross 20-week training course involves a two-hour class and twelve hours of homework weekly. There is no charge for the training and all materials and equipment are supplied by the Red Cross.

After completing the course, participants will prepare a trial manuscript for submission to the Library of Congress for certification. Upon certification, volunteers can transcribe textbooks at home.

For more information or to register for the training, contact Barbara Pietruszewski at (973) 797-3337 or Barbara.Pietruszewski@redcross.org. Also visit redcross.org/NJ for more information about the Jane Bente Braille Center and other Red Cross programs and services.

The American Red Cross in New Jersey provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 5,800 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state.

In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to 889 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 1,820 displaced families; collected 88,439 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 3,920 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 117,088 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics.