More Than What You See – Blindness Awareness Month
October is a busy and vibrant month at Society for the Blind. This month we highlight the accomplishments and the ongoing efforts of people who are blind and living life to the fullest.
We kicked off October with National Blind Sports Week, an event created by the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) to bring attention to the myriad sports and recreational activities accessible to people who are blind. For the past six years, Society for the Blind has partnered with USABA in the National Fitness Challenge (NFC), which is underwritten by Anthem Foundation. The National Fitness Challenge takes place in 10 select communities across the U.S. and promotes fitness and nutrition for people with vision loss. This year, we have more than 25 participants. They are walking, running, doing yoga, swimming and dancing their way to 10,000+ steps a day. Good Day Sacramento even featured some of our NFC participants on Oct. 2! View the clip by clicking here.
The week of Oct. 8-14 is National Braille Week. Braille is more than 200 years old and helps people read books, newspapers, documents and textbooks, as well as conduct business. It is a key literacy tool for children who are blind or have low vision. Braille is so important and more needs to be done to incorporate Braille to improve literacy and give equal access to people with vision loss.
On October 15, we celebrate White Cane Awareness Day. The white cane provides critical information to people who are blind. The white cane also is an important symbol to those of us who are sighted. In all 50 states, motorists must yield the right of way to a person using a white cane. In addition, during this time of Covid-19, if we see someone with a white cane, offer to be of assistance to help ensure that the person who is blind or low vision is a safe six feet away from others. We were just featured on Capital Public Radio for our work to teach social distancing to people with vision loss. You can hear the segment by clicking here.
Throughout this month, we also are focusing on employment for people who are blind. The unemployment rate for people with vision loss remains at an astoundingly high 70%. Too often, people who are blind are passed over for jobs for which they are highly qualified, simply because they are blind. Over the past three years, Society for the Blind has helped 68 clients attain employment. The jobs have been in finance, law enforcement, real estate and technology. Society for the Blind is committed to making sure our clients attain the blindness skills and employment preparation they need to be confident and competitive.
Our ability to maintain our services through the pandemic and keep our students on track with their blindness skills education is rooted in support from the community – from people like you. We are deeply grateful for your continued generosity. Together we are empowering people living with vision loss to reach their full potential – something we can all celebrate this month!