Perseverance. Effort. Determination. These are just some of the attributes Society’s instructors used to describe our students who graduated from our Core Teaching Program on September 29th. Each graduate faced challenges that could have easily become excuses to quit and go home, but not Rochelle, Karen, Cynthia Patti, Arash or Jeff. These students faced their vision loss with a can-do spirit that enabled them to master traveling safely on their own with a white cane, reading and writing in Braille, managing daily activities with non-visual skills and techniques, and utilizing adaptive technologies.
For these students, graduation marks a new beginning. We make a point of marking this occasion, not just to acknowledge the graduates, but to inspire new and prospective students. Graduation also gives family members the opportunity to witness the vast strides made by the students and the potential they possess to build their future.
At Society, we see the student’s abilities not a disability. As one of our students put it, “Blindness is not a tragedy, it’s a challenge.” Our graduates met the challenge and then some.
The month of October is Blindness Awareness Month and on October 15th, we will join the California Council of the Blind, Capital Chapter, our students and their families and friends to commemorate White Cane Safety Day. Celebrated since 1964, this day celebrates the accomplishments and capabilities of people with vision loss and blindness, and the White Cane stands as the symbol of independence.
Loss of vision is a life-altering event whether it occurs at a young age or later in life. The number of people with vision impairment or blindness is expected to double in the United States, to more than 8 million, by the year 2050. That is why early screenings to detect eye diseases, regular monitoring for vision changes, and access to training in non-visual skills and techniques are so important.
No one needs to face vision loss alone. Society for the Blind is the Sacramento region’s comprehensive center for people with vision loss. During the month of October, let’s raise awareness, renew hope and meet the challenge of vision loss.