CARTHAGE, Mo. — A Carthage 1st grader is getting a chance to play with her friends like never before, all thanks to a fellow student. It’s an idea that came to life over the course of a semester.
Carthage first grader Mariana Lopez is all smiles these days at Fairview Elementary School.
“My husband teaches at the Junior High and I had a vision for Mariana that she could have a game she could play with her classmates,” said Kiley Kyte, Speech Pathologist.
Mariana was born blind, and 13-year-old Addie Faust jumped at the chance to make a project specially designed for the young girl.
“I thought it’d be really cool, kinda different kinda thing. I don’t know how to word it, but I just thought it’d be different and I thought I’d have a lot of fun and that I’d learn a lot too,” said Faust.
It’s modeled after “Sorry”, and the wooden product has been designed to replicate the famous board game.
“I knew that I needed to drill holes so I had to mark those out, and that took a couple weeks. I wanted to make sure it was good,” said Faust.
“She’s unable, obviously, to see the colors like her classmates are, but she’s able to feel the different pieces, so Addie’s made it possible for her to play a game that her friends already know how to play, and so there’s not that learning curve. They don’t have to learn into her world, she’s getting to fit in with all of her friends,” said Kyte.
“Very happy, because, with things like this Mariana is able to be involved, and be raised like a regular kid and play with other kids,” said Imelda Lopez, Mariana’s Mother.
Braille playing cards are in the process of being made for Mariana, which will then complete the game so she can play it with her friends.
Ms. Lopez states that she has friends and family that ask her if Mariana goes to a special school for the blind, to which she responds, “No. She just goes to a special school and they provide for her everything she needs and everything she’s learning.”
“Mariana’s teaching us to think outside the box,” said Kyte. “She’s got so many skills. She’s already learning two languages, and a third with Braille, and so we’re finding a way to fit into her world too.”
“It’s really cool and makes you feel good, too,” said Faust.