Puffin Foundation West
Press and Announcements for Puffin Foundation West
International Association for World Peace
Self-Awareness Through Self-Defense
Twenty-four first through eighth graders participated in this program for blind and visually impaired (VI) students and their peers at James Otis World Language Academy, a Chicago Public School. The program provided instruction in breathing, yoga and self-defense to develop physical awareness, flexibility, fluidity of movement and the ability to defend oneself. While the self-defense was exciting for everyone, some students really took to the yoga: “I’m ready to breathe and be peaceful,” said fifth grader Jasmin as she walked into class. Second grader Mekhi wrote, in Braille, “I like doing yoga. We felt healthy and good and strong.”
Gloria Moyer, an award winning Otis teacher and expert in VI education said, “Too often, the assumption is the VI students can’t do physical activities because they’ll get hurt or because they aren’t capable. Your program has shown our children that they can be in control of their own bodies. There are no boundaries between them and their sighted peers. Self-defense gives them a sense of empowerment and shows them, again, that they are in control. It is a very positive feeling.” This class graduated on March 26, 2011.