Meet Access News Volunteer: Tina Chang
Tina Chang was just 3 years old when her family moved to Taiwan. When she returned to the Bay Area at age 14, she was shy and did not speak English fluently. Her college counselor recommended she sign up for volunteer work, so Tina decided to look for an organization related to vision loss that could use her help. Her father has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease, and experiences vision impairment due to weakness in his eyelid.
They found the perfect volunteer opportunity at Society for the Blind – Access News. Our Access News program gives people with low or no vision – as well as people with dyslexia or other conditions that make it difficult to read conventional print – the chance to hear audio recordings of print media 24 hours a day. Recordings include newspapers, magazines and newsletters, as well as local ads from grocery, drug, discount and department stores.
“I noticed my father has a lot of trouble reading things,” Tina said. “So I thought this was a good way to make the process easier for him.”
Tina records for Access News from the comfort of her own home and then uploads the digital audio recordings.
“It’s not as perfect as machine reading,” her mom Stephanie said. “But it’s real people reading, and that gives listeners more comfort. Because we live farther away and Tina is shy, it’s the perfect volunteer opportunity for her.”
This past summer, Tina came up with an additional way to support Society for the Blind – by hosting a fundraiser. Back in Taiwan, Tina had started learning to paint plates. When she decided to take up the hobby again this summer, she wanted it to benefit Society for the Blind. Tina and her friends began selling the plates to family and friends, with each selecting their favorite from a variety of painted plates. The fundraiser raised $4,000, far more than Tina expected.
“People really like Tina’s paintings, and our family and friends know about my husband’s condition and that Society for the Blind is a good cause,” Stephanie said.
She says Tina, now age 18, has benefited tremendously from her work with Society for the Blind.
“Volunteering and holding this fundraiser have helped Tina overcome her shyness, practice her English and become more confident,” Stephanie said. “It’s a win-win.”