More Than What You See – Community in the Midst of Covid-19

“Community is a place where the connections felt in our hearts make themselves known in the bonds between people, and where the tuggings and pullings of those bonds keep opening our hearts.” ~Parker Palmer, Author

As I write this blog, we are fast-approaching one month of the shelter-at-home status. Since making the decision to close Society to in-person services on March 16th, a lot has changed for everyone at Society for the Blind as it has for everyone around the world.

But one thing that has remained constant and gotten even stronger is the sense of community here at Society for the Blind. While we are not able to be together in person, the connectedness among staff and with our clients and volunteers bespeaks our tag line: “More Than What You See.” Along with our online classes, support groups are happening every week online and by phone. The Music Group is still playing and recording together remotely, thanks to technology. Not being able to see one another is not a barrier to keeping our community at Society vibrant.

Our volunteers are an important and vital part of our community. April 19th-25th is Volunteer Appreciation Week in the United States. This year’s theme is Every Moment Makes a Difference. That could not be more true at Society and certainly across this country as volunteers make face masks, deliver food and offer a hand of support to others. I want to express my deepest thanks to Society’s volunteers in our Bingo program and those who read for Access News, our 24-hour news and information service with more than 2,100 listeners. My deepest thanks also goes out to our Senior IMPACT Project volunteers, seniors with vision loss who have completed the retreat and now serve as mentors to new clients just beginning to learn blindness skills. Many more individuals, groups and businesses help with special projects and events. From all of us at Society for the Blind – THANK YOU!

While we may not know for a while when we can re-open Society to in-person services, I want to assure you that we are committed to serving people who are blind or have low vision and will continue to provide online services and teleconferences for as long as necessary. It also is important for us to get basic assistive technology and products to our clients, like hand-held magnifiers, recorders and video magnification devices. These tools keep them connected at a time when many are alone and isolated.

Your continued support of Society for the Blind makes it possible for us to get these resources out to people with vision loss. The Sacramento region’s 24-hour fundraising event Big Day of Giving will take place on May 7th. I hope you will join me in supporting Society for the Blind as we continue to serve people living with low vision and blindness so they can achieve their full potential.

Until we can be together in person, know that all of us at Society are sending our good wishes of health and hope to you and your loved ones.