“Long live the pioneers
Rebels and mutineers
Go forth and have no fear . . .
It's our time to make a move
It's our time to make amends
It's our time to break the rules
X Ambassadors Renegades
Last night I was at the X Ambassadors concert here in Minneapolis. I have been a fan since I first heard them. I went with my family, friends and a few people from the Louie’s Vision Board of Directors. The show was above and beyond what I could have expected. We all had a great time.
The X Ambassadors are the real thing. They sing about and share a message of inclusion. Inclusion of all types and for everyone. They specifically call out marginalized groups – and people dealing with blindness always top their list. That’s because Casey Harris, the bands’ keyboardist, has been blind since birth. They work with a non-profit called Reverb, that connects some of the hottest bands with causes. Cool connections.
A few months back, the Perkin’s School for the Blind in Boston reached out to me to write a post for their blog, BlindNewWorld. The Perkin’s School holds a special place for all of us dealing with blindness as it is the place where Helen Keller became a pioneer, breaking rules and changing her life – and the lives of so many of us. I’m 17 years old, blind and I recently founded Louie’s Vision – my non-profit focused on helping kids with blindness live a more adventurous life. I jumped right in and wrote something up – and they published it. It was cool, but I couldn’t see where that step might take me next.
Last month I was selected by the No Barriers foundation to join them in a leadership and adventure program for high school kids with blindness. We’ll be heading to the Grand Canyon in July for a couple of weeks of hiking, rafting and research. I loved this because I have been a fan of the founder, Erik Weihenmayer for a couple of years. Erik is an awesome adventurer who has been to the top of Mt. Everest and the highest peaks on every other continent on earth – and he is blind. Erik and his No Barriers organization do great things. The No Barriers programs are funded in part through a partnership with the X Ambassadors. There is a pattern building here.
Three weeks ago, all of these things came together. Reverb (the non-profit connecter working with the X Ambassadors) reached out to the Perkin’s School for the Blind and asked if they knew of a non-profit somewhere in the U.S. that helps kids with blindness break past boundaries. They said “you should connect with Louie.” And it happened – Reverb immediately reached out and asked if we’d be interested in being the featured non-profit for the X Ambassadors show in Minneapolis – yes, of course.
In addition to seeing a great show of a band I love, it was awesome for Louie’s Vision. There were 12 of us at the show sharing our story and answering questions. I estimate we spoke to about 500 people about Louie’s Vision, blindness, and possibilities.
“Go forth and have no fear . . . It’s our time to make a move.”