June – A time to celebrate the past and set our sights on the future…

This month we honor the life, legacy and enduring inspiration of Helen Keller. Born on June 27, 1880, Helen Keller had normal eyesight until the age of 19 months. She came down with what experts today identify as scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her deaf and blind. For five years following her illness she lived in near isolation, unable to communicate. Then in 1887, a young teacher who was also partially blind, Anne Sullivan, entered Helen’s life. Anne worked with Helen to teach her hand signing. They made very little progress until the day Anne pumped water over Helen’s hand while spelling w-a-t-e-r on her palm. Helen got it and from there her learning took off. She went on to attend Radcliffe University, graduating cum laude; the first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree.

Photo of Helen Keller using a typewriter

Photo of Helen Keller using a typewriter

Helen became an outspoken advocate for people who are deaf-blind as well as people with other disabilities. She also became active in the NAACP and was a founding member of the ACLU. She believed in the potential of people, regardless of ability to hear or see.

Society for the Blind is proud to carry on her legacy through the programs and services we provide in 27 counties. Whether it’s a middle school student learning how to use adaptive technology, a 40-year-old honing their white cane skills so they can travel to a new job, or an 80-year-old accomplishing her daily routine using non-visual techniques, we get to witness people reaching new milestones and discovering their full potential every day.

Speaking of milestones, Society for the Blind is preparing for its 70th Anniversary in 2024. We have so much to celebrate and so much more we are looking forward to doing for the community over the next 70 years. I will be sharing more about our 70th anniversary activities over the coming months.