Project Little Room Finishes BIG!

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by Lion Tracy Wicken, Grand Forks South Forks Lions Club

Since March 2020, the NDSB Foundation has been soliciting donations from North Dakota Lions Clubs for Project Little Room. Little Rooms are child-sized partitions that are designed to give infants who are blind the opportunity to practice reaching and grasping and to begin to understand the concepts of space and objects. Different objects hang from the “ceiling” of the Little Room and may rest gently on the child’s stomach or above their head for them to reach for and grasp. Textures and objects can also be placed on the three walls of the Little Room. The child’s feet stick out, allowing the child to move and kick. Little Rooms were first conceptualized by Lilli Nielsen, a Danish psychologist who taught children who were blind or had multiple disabilities. Her curriculums and teachings on Active Learning are still considered groundbreaking today, and Little Rooms are utilized by children served by North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind who could benefit from their use. This fundraising project began when the need for Little Rooms outweighed our current supply. Thanks to the generosity of Lions Clubs around the state, the NDSB Foundation is now able to purchase new Little Rooms for NDVS/SB.

The goal of this project was to raise $35,000 in order to purchase at least 10 Little Rooms from Lilliworks, a company that specializes in Active Learning products and is named after Lilli Nielsen. Even with the COVID pandemic occurring, Project Little Room efforts continued and North Dakota Lions Clubs along with other interested parties forged ahead to see this effort through. It took a bit more time to get the word out and raise the funds, but the $35,000 goal is now within reach. Donations from Lions Clubs that come in through the end of December will be put towards this project, and plans are being made to order additional Little Rooms and the objects that are used within it.

To date, four Little Rooms have been ordered and purchased, and NDVS/SB’s maintenance crew have been busy putting them together. The process of assembling them is time-consuming, so in the future, some of the Little Rooms will be ordered pre-assembled so that they can be put into use faster.  

The following is a list of all donations received as of Sept 1, 2021. Thank you all so much for the support that you have given this vision-related project. Your terrific support has made this project a success!  Vision professionals and parents of children with visual impairments are very grateful.  

Donations in 2020:
Horace Lions Club                $3500
Minot Lions Club                $1000
Williston Korner Lions Club            $1000
Grand Forks South Forks Lions Club        $1000
Bowman Lions Club                $100
Stanley Lions Club                $500
Bismarck Prairie Rose Lions Club            $200
Carrington Lions Club                $100
Grand Forks South Forks Lions Club        $500
Fargo Gateway Lions Club             $1000
Grand Forks Lions Club                $1000
New Rockford Lions Club            $1000
Lehr Lions Club                    $50
New Salem Lions Club                 $500
Grand Forks Lions Club                $1000
South Forks Lions Club                 $500
Headwaters Lions Club(Breckenridge, MN)     $75
North Star Lions  Club (Bismarck)         $1000
Magic City Lions Club                $500
Bowman Lions Club                $100
Bismarck Prairie Rose Lions Club            $500
New England Lions Club                $100
Carrington Lions Club                $50
Mandan Lions Club                $200
Personal donation                $200
Fargo Gateway Lions Club            $1000
Alexander Lions Club                 $100
West Fargo Lions Club                $1000
LFND, Inc. Video Magnifier Program        $3500
Grand Forks Lions Club                $1000

Donations in 2021:
Delta Gamma Sorority                $500
Stanley Lions Club                $500
Magic City Lions Club                $500
Dacotah Mandan Lions Club            $1,000
Horace Lions Club                $500
South Forks Lions Club                $400
Grand Forks Lions Club                $1000
North Dakota Association of the Blind        $5194 
South Forks Lions Club                $500 

Total                        $32,369

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