Votes needed to fund books at new Chicago Lighthouse preschool

The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired is one of eight finalists, the only one in Chicago, for a $7,500 Better World Books grant to promote literacy here. But it needs help to win it.

Chicago Lighthouse Executive Director Janet Szlyk says the grant money would be used to buy books for Chicago Lighthouse’s new preschool slated to open in September, allowing them to expose all of the children to Braille and alphanumeric characters.

“The school will be dedicated to building acceptance and tolerance,” Szlyk says, adding she believes it is the only program of its kind in the Midwest. “I think it will break down barriers in the long term.”

The preschool, with both morning and afternoon sessions available, is be open to all children ages 3-5, including those at-risk, those from the zip codes surrounding the Chicago Lighthouse and children who are blind or have low vision.

Chicago Lighthouse is currently in second place. To vote, visit

Voting ends Friday.

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