Vision Forward: Celebrating 70 Years of Service

I hope your New Year is off to a strong and positive start! I am excited for the year ahead at Society for the Blind as we celebrate 70 years of service to the Sacramento Region. To mark this milestone and embark upon new horizons for Society for the Blind, our celebration will be focused on the theme of Vision Forward.

Society has certainly grown from its humble beginnings in the basement of a local church, to a 5,000-square-foot building in Curtis Park that was our home for more than 45 years, to our present 20,000-square-foot training and rehabilitation center.

In its early days, volunteers provided guidance and basic skills training for clients. Today, our professional staff of 35 carry certifications in Assistive Technology, Braille, and Orientation and Mobility. One important aspect of our staff that has continued through the decades is the vast majority – more than 90% – of our teaching faculty are blind or have low vision. Not only do they bring their professional skills and training but they bring a lived experience that fosters confidence and hope in our students.

The Lions Clubs and the Delta Gamma Fraternity were instrumental in the establishment of Society for the Blind, and they have provided steadfast support for the past 70 years. We will be sharing much more on the history of Society for the Blind in the coming months.

This year marks another important anniversary – it is the 200th Anniversary of braille. To this day, braille is a critical skill children with vision loss need to attain literacy. Braille is how a child learns to read, compose sentences and comprehend language. It is how they learn numbers and develop math skills. Please take a moment to read the article in this newsletter about our Braille Production and Training Program Coordinator Elizabeth Symington and her recent research trip to France to learn about the life and work of Louis Braille.

In these first few weeks of January, it is clear that the demand for our training programs for adults and seniors, our CareersPLUS Youth Program and our Low Vision Clinic is high. We are ready to meet this challenge and prepare for the future of Society for the Blind. Our Vision Forward includes you – our donors, volunteers, clients, family members and friends.

We look forward to celebrating our 70th Anniversary throughout the year. We will conclude with a gala event on Thursday, October 24, 2024. Please mark your calendars!