If you are a frequent reader of the Vibravision Blog, the name Mike Armstrong probably sounds familiar. Since June 2017, Mike has participated in several weekly and weekend Vibravision immersion classes to develop his abilities to navigate his environment without the use of sight. Now, he is applying for an award to fund his Vibravision training to compete in a triathlon without the use of assistive technology or help. Below, we will look at how the Vibravision Foundation is motivating blind students to reach their goals.
Who Is Mike Armstrong?
Residing in Arizona, Mike has been totally blind for 20 years. He’s traveled up to our studio in Utah many times now to participate in immersion retreats that we provide for the visually impaired thanks to funding from the Vibravision Foundation.
Vibravision – a skill within Merpati Putih that teaches people of all abilities to improve their orientation and mobility without using their eyes – is offered to children and adults who cannot see. The money raised by the non-profit Vibravision Foundation helps pay for this. The Foundation simply wants to help the blind see the world with “new eyes.”
Mike was involved in the very first Vibravision Immersion Retreat. In both Kyokushinkai karate and Aikijujutsu, he is a high-ranking black belt, and he also owns Blind Tiger Martial Arts Academy. It’s almost as if there is nothing Mike can’t do. He has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, appeared on the cover of USA Today, and is a drummer in two bands. He’s truly an inspiration for everyone.
What Is the Holman Prize?
Recently, Mike applied for the Holman Prize so that he can train full-time to become the first blind person to compete in a triathlon using the non-visual Vibravision skills. Each year, the Holman Prize funds three ambitious blind people from across the world as they work on challenging projects. Each award winner receives $25,000 to fund their project.
The prize is named after James Holman, who lived from 1786 to 1857. He was the first blind person to circumnavigate the globe. And, prior to the invention of modern transportation, he was the most prolific sighted or unsighted traveler in history. Inspired by Holman’s life, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a San Francisco-based organization founded in 1902, launched the Holman Prize last year.
What Can You Do To Help?
The first step in the application process for the Holman Prize is submitting a 90-second YouTube pitch. Based on these videos, the award panelists will select the semifinalists at the end of February. The applicant with the most likes or thumbs-up on their YouTube video will automatically earn a spot as a finalist. Therefore, if you are inspired by Mike Armstrong’s story and want to help him achieve his goal of completing a triathlon, please check out his YouTube application for the Holman Prize and help him earn the People’s Choice award by giving it a thumbs up!
If our stories of how the Vibravision Foundation is motivating blind students to reach their goals has you wondering how you can help others learn Vibravision, we recommend checking out our blog on this specific topic. The Foundation is always open to accepting direct general donations. The money might then be split up among several individuals in need of funding depending on how many scholarship applicants there are. You can also start a crowdfunding page through the Foundation’s site. It takes less than five minutes and attracts more donors.
Vibravision is doing great things for blind and visually-impaired individuals in Northern Utah and beyond. And, we are just getting started. If you would like to learn more, please contact us!