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Shark Tank: Aubree Dunn of Iowa City sings a jingle to advertise the cookies in a jar.

Didn’t the Braille School close? This is a question many Vinton residents will be asking next week when they see blind and visually impaired students out and about in town, selling their wares.

While it is true that the school doesn’t have a residential component anymore, it offers numerous on-campus opportunities throughout the summer and on weekends during the school year. Shark Tank is just one example.

Shark Tank is a camp that is seeking to give students not just the experience of what it is like to participate in or run a business, but will also deal with “soft skills” such as work ethic, attitude and communication abilities, all necessary to being successful in the working world.

The campers received advice and suggestions from a team of “sharks”, which will consist of Kurt Karr, Don Eells, Karilea Ries and John Ketchen. Afterward, teams will hit the streets of Vinton, and will be seen selling in front of various businesses.

They will be selling Cookies in a Jar and The Crunchiest Munchiest Snack Mix at Fareway and the Friends of the Shelter downtown location until about 3:15 p.m. today, and also at the Benton County Courthouse during the Party in the Park activities tonight. Their goal is to break last year's record.

This camp took place last year, and in a few short days they managed to raise over $400 for Friends of the Shelter, an organization that benefits the local Animal Shelter.

This year’s money will be donated to Virginia Gay’s Tree of Lights Campaign, an over 20-year success story that raises money to purchase necessary medical equipment for the hospital, which is a non-profit organization.

Campers are attending from towns across Iowa.

These include Storm Lake, Readlyn, Hinton, Cedar Rapids, Nevada, Iowa City, Marion, Burt, New Sharon, Kelley, Monticello, Emmetsburg and Des Moines. They will be divided into three teams. The goal of each team will be to come up with, make, market and sell a product.

If you see students in town this week, stop by and say hello, and take a look at their wares. You’ll see that the Braille School is still active, and you just might be enticed to buy something.

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Comments (2)

Is it too late do get a child signed up for this camp??

Editor's Note: Contact Mr. Frank at for an answer to that question.
By: Jennifer Goad on June 18th 3:18pm
Great kids doing a great project. Please give them some support. I bought snacks and cookie in a jar; my first cookie-making effort :)
By: Kurt Karr on June 25th 3:30pm

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