For over 75 years, the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind has tirelessly worked on behalf of not only all people with vision loss, but also those impacted by vision loss, such as families, friends, employers, social workers, and the general public. Whether advocating for employment opportunities, assuring the right to an independent and private vote or promoting legislation improving access to information; PCB and affiliate chapters throughout the state continue to encourage and assist all those with vision loss to achieve their fullest potential.
Over the year’s communication methods and technology have changed. As an organization we understand the importance of adapting to these changes and strongly believe in the inclusion of all people with vision loss. The PCB web presence is both an example of adaptation and a method for teaching those less familiar with vision loss about current advocacy issues. The content in these pages will also document how people with vision loss live, work and play.
To promote independence and opportunities for people with vision impairments.
To continue to be recognized as the leading advocacy organization for people with vision impairments in Pennsylvania. The aim of all our efforts is to encourage and assist people in achieving their potential as valued members of society. PCB assistance, advocacy, and encouragement will be carried out in such areas as, but not limited to, all aspects of accessibility, transportation, education, employment, entertainment, recreation, and quality of life.
PCB’s strategy for accomplishing our mission and vision is by “Igniting Independence and Fueling Future Success” one peer at a time. PCB peer offerings provide the Self-Confidence, Peer Support, Accessibility, Resources, and Knowledge (SPARK) vital to empower individual peers and bolster our collective efforts.
Be the SPARK!
Believing in yourself, your abilities, and your dreams is crucial to overcoming the challenges of vision loss. PCB offers an array of opportunities that build self-confidence and fuel future success. By attending our annual conference weekend, peers new to vision loss have the chance to hone orientation and mobility, daily living, and social skills in a friendly, accessible environment. By volunteering alongside peers on PCB’s teams and projects, you develop practical and leadership skills that will boost work confidence and employability. When collectively speaking out on societal and systemic issues, you strengthen your individual voice and become empowered to strive toward goals.
Being able to find a community of supporters who truly understand life with vision loss is essential in gaining and maintaining life-long independence. PCB offers a variety of opportunities for peers who have experienced vision loss first-hand to provide support to one another. We can connect you with a peer mentor who will offer guidance, friendship, and encouragement. Support is offered in group settings through in-person and virtual chapter meetings throughout the state and our on-going calendar of topical discussion calls. Regardless of which support opportunities you use; you are guaranteed to find a judgement-free zone with peers who truly get what it’s like to live with vision loss.
Leading an active, independent life with vision loss is possible when you have equal access to all aspects of work, family, and community. PCB peers promote accessibility initiatives on statewide transportation, education, vocational rehabilitation, and voting committees. In concert with the American Council of the Blind (ACB), PCB advocates for and has achieved accessibility for others with vision loss including talking voting machines; audio described movies, television, and streamed content; audible pedestrian signals; talking prescription labels; accessible government websites; and tactile currency redesign. Through TheReImage.net website, PCB peers strive to make the world more accessible and accepting of people with vision loss through stories that demonstrate our abilities and experiences of everyday life as parents, workers, students, etc.
Utilizing all your available resources gives you greater opportunities for independence. Each year PCB provides financial scholarships for academic pursuits and to enable individuals to experience our conference weekend. By maintaining a database of services and opportunities for people with vision loss, PCB can refer you to rehabilitation, vocational, and educational resources in your community and beyond. PCB’s most valued resource is our network of peers who can provide insight and advice on any topic related to living a successful life despite vision loss.
Becoming informed and staying aware provides you with the knowledge necessary to maintain and enhance your independence. PCB peers consistently post interesting and useful articles to the PCB-L listserv that highlight new products, research break-throughs, job postings, and advocacy issues. Our discussion calls are always a fountain of knowledge as we talk about our favorite independence gadgets, chat about upcoming events, and share news we’ve learned through other vision loss resources. In our quarterly newsletter, The PCB Advocate, which is provided in accessible formats, you will learn of myriad opportunities, events, activities, independence strategies, and personal experiences. For individuals more comfortable using a phone than a computer, the PCB Information Line, 773-572-6314, includes much of the same listserv and newsletter information.