Marquette University Student Creates Camp for Blind and Visually Impaired Children
Ian Kloehn is a junior at Marquette University studying Biomedical Science. He's also been legally blind since birth, due to a defect that wouldn’t let the optic nerve fully develop.
For some kids who are visually impaired, the classic experience of camp isn’t possible. Or at least, it wasn’t. When Kloehn was a kid, he got to go to a camp for kids just like him. That experience inspired him to create a similar camp.
With the help of local organization Vision Forward, Kloehn set up a two-day summer sports camp for blind and visually impaired students from kindergarten to high school.
“The whole time I saw the kids, they were all smiling, laughing," he says. “They were having a blast!”
At the camp, Kloehn coordinated classes for kickball, swimming, running, self-defense and judo.
Not only did the campers have a great time, Kloehn says the Marquette students and teachers who volunteered to work the camp took a lot away from it, as well. Working with blind and visually impaired children - for those who don’t have experience with it - can be life-changing.
“My parents really instilled in me not to let any obstacles stand in my way,” he says. “That really drove me to be who I am today.”
Kloehn plans on continuing to keep up with the planning and most of the operating of the camp for years to come, but isn’t sure how much time he’ll be able to commit, since he plans on attending medical school after finishing his undergraduate degree.