By Landon Bravo, CMF Community Resources Manager

California Medical Facility (CMF) recently held its 52nd annual Blind Project Awards Banquet and luncheon.

Patrick Sahota, Blind Project director, hands out an award.

The event marked the 52nd year of the partnership between the Volunteers of Vacaville and CMF.

The Blind Project teaches real world skills that are sought after when inmates parole and is a nationally recognized Braille repair program.

The program has been providing cost-free services to the California Braille and Talking Book Library for 12 years, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars each year.

Inmates repaired more than 400 machines last year. The inmates also record dozens of books each year and are carving out a reputation for being able to do professional quality recordings of scholastic textbooks used by visually impaired students.

The program creates thousands of Braille pages a year with customers as varied as the Oakland Unified School District and the Xavier Society for the Blind which is connected to the Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

Every inmate worker learns skills which will translate to the public workforce (computer skills, office management, inventory maintenance, etc.).

The program does business in almost every state and five countries including Canada and the United Kingdom. Awards are given to some of the inmate workers and community volunteers.