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Last year, despite challenges from the pandemic we still served over 700 children. We need your help to continue our critical work to make a difference in the lives of children with vision loss!

We need our VIPS supporters help more than ever during this uniquely challenging time with the gift of a new donation or pledge, or continuing your existing your support. If you are not a monthly donor--now would be a great time to initiate a monthly gift. The families we serve depend on our teachers and we depend on you to help us in our critical mission to provide early intervention to every child with blindness or low vision.

Learn more about how VIPS is moving forward with our services in spite of COVID-19.

Bret Dahmke Scholarship


About the Scholarship Fund

The Bret Dahmke Scholarship Fund was started in March 2015 when the family of Bret Dahmke, who was visually impaired himself, wanted to turn the tragic situation of Bret’s death at a young age into a beacon of hope for the future by supporting other families who have a child with blindness/low vision.  This $500 scholarship will assist a Kentucky family of a child with a visual impairment to attend a local or national conference that is related to blindness/low vision.  The goal is to better equip the family with resources, insight, and tools needed to support their child. The scholarship funds may be used for transportation, lodging, or conference fees. This scholarship is offered every other year.

Due to the pandemic numbers decreasing, the application deadline has been extended to March 25th. The scholarship recipient will be called Sat. April 2nd. Please consider applying, just click on the link for the form. Additional information about some upcoming family conferences is below.

Bret Dahmke Scholarship Applications

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a child with a visual impairment within the age range of birth to high school.
  • Be a resident of Kentucky.

In order to be considered, applicants must submit the following application.

Below is a listing of conferences of interest to parents of children with visual impairments that are coming up this spring and summer. 

*Two are conventions put on by blind and visually impaired adults to address their needs for technology, training, employment, mobility just to name a few.  But the best part is you will meet visually impaired adults who are doing what you want your child to be doing as an adult -- traveling independently – in this case, to and around the convention city -- advocating for themselves, and having a wonderful time.

Early Connections Conference sponsored by Perkins School for the Blind
April 30, 2022, 9 a.m.
Focus on children birth to seven years.

VISIONS2022 – Foundation Fighting Blindness Annual Conference
June 17 & 18, 2022
Lake Buena Vista, FL 
This conference has a focus on the latest research in blindness prevention and treatments and vision technology.

*American Council for the Blind National Convention
July 1-8, 2022
Omaha, NE
The ACB is a consumer group made of individuals who are visually impaired.  Conference focus is on issues related to living with visual impairment and blindness.  Massive exhibit area.

*National Federation of the Blind National Convention 2022
July 5 – 10, 2022
New Orleans, LA
The NFB is a consumer group made of individuals who are visually impaired.  Conference focus is on issues related to living with visual impairment and blindness.  Massive exhibit area.

NOAHCon2022 -- National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation July 14-17 
Orlando, FL.
The focus is issues related to albinism and hypopigmentation.

AER International Conference
July 20-24, 2022
St. Louis, MO
AER is the primary professional organization for an individual in the field of blindness and visual impairment.  Education and rehabilitation focus.

The 2022 American Conference on Brain-Based Visual Impairment (CVI
July 28 - 29, 2022
This will most likely be a hybrid conference, with both in-person and virtual participation options. Registration will not open until March and finalized details (types of participation, registration fees, CEUs and full agenda) will be included in the registration information. Presented by the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, NE

Previous Winner

Karin Geraci (2019 Recipient)

Karin Geraci picture (800x533)

I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to attend the conference and gain so much knowledge.

My name is Karin Geraci and I am the mother of Josie Geraci. She is 4 ½ years old and attends our local Catholic school with her brother. I am a certified teacher and currently, I am enrolled in the University of Kentucky's TVI program. With the completion of my masters I hope to aid Josie's teachers in adapting materials for her visual impairment and teach her braille. I also hope to work with other visually impaired students in Northern Kentucky once I graduate.

With the scholarship from the Bret Dahmke Scholarship Fund and his family, I was able to attend the 2019 KAER Conference. The scholarship covered my housing, food and transportation costs. Through attending the KAER conference I obtained a wealth of information not only for me as a TVI, but also as a mother of a visually impaired child. I loved learning about the latest technology for the visually impaired, how to create a safe environment for visually impaired students and the necessary life skills that are all very important for a visually impaired child. I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to attend the conference and gain so much knowledge. Thank you for the scholarship and the opportunity to serve visually impaired children locally with my newly learned skills.

Previous Winners

Ashley May (2017 Recipient)

Scholarship Winner

Thank you to the Dahmke Family for awarding me the Bret Dahmke scholarship to help make this trip possible.

Ashley May is the mother of Pyper, a little girl who is visually impaired. Ashley attended the AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) Conference in Jacksonville, Florida as a result of the scholarship.

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