Leading Through Challenging Times   

Dear Friends,

During this period of time when Society for the Blind is closed to the public, we remain committed to fulfilling our mission. We wanted to let you know what we are doing to enable people living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential:

    • We are offering our Core Teaching Program classes – Braille, Assistive Technology, Independent Living Skills and Orientation and Mobility via virtual classes. Fortunately, so much of what is helpful for people with vision loss is technology-based, so we were able to ramp up very quickly and get our students connected via online programs, FaceTime, Zoom and Skype. Lessons are being taught on the same schedule, Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm.
    • Our Senior IMPACT Project is also conducting services over the phone. Many of our seniors live alone or are in residential facilities that are currently closed to visitors. Our focus right now is to keep these seniors connected, provide conversation and do some basic lessons by phone. We are exploring a virtual support group for some of our more tech-savvy seniors. 
    • Staying connected and up to date is critical, so our Access News Telephone Reading Service is keeping news and information as up-to-the-minute as possible. It is one of the vital links for our seniors and our clients who live in more rural and remote regions of the state. This service is available to anyone who has difficulty reading print material. If you know someone who may benefit from Access News, please call (916) 889-7519, or email accessnews@societyfortheblind.org. They can sign up at no cost. 
    • Our Low Vision Clinic is currently closed. However, clinic staff are working to fill all orders for glasses and assistive devices so our patients have the low vision resources they need. 
    • Society’s CareersPLUS Youth Program is working with parents, students and Teachers of the Visually Impaired to keep kids engaged in their academic work as well as offer resources for fun and entertainment. We plan on sending out a list of Society staff members’ recommendations of their favorite audio-assisted movies in the next week. 

Shari, her Leadership Team and the Board of Directors are in regular contact as we assess the short and longer-term implications of the coronavirus shut-down. Ensuring our clients are offered programs and services and taking care of our dedicated staff is of utmost importance. 

Some have asked what they can do to support Society for the Blind. Here are a few ideas we would like to share with you:

    1. A contribution of any amount to support Society’s ongoing operations. You can donate online by following this link.
    2. If you are not already following us on Facebook, please find us here for daily updates, fun posts and other resources. You can even start a Facebook Fundraiser to support Society! 
    3. Send an email of encouragement and support to Society’s staff. You can send your messages to Shari at sroeseler@societyfortheblind.org and she will share these with the staff.

Thank you for your support as we all navigate this pandemic. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Shari Roeseler                   Janice Walth

Executive Director             Board President