Devicing Your Independence

By Sue Lichtenfels

In 2016 PCB launched the iDevices for Independence project. Through this program, PCB collects pre-owned iDevices and recycles them into the hands of eligible applicants who are blind or visually impaired. During the pilot phase, PCB distributed three iPhones and one iPad to the first four recipients, all from Pennsylvania. Now PCB is looking to expand the project. Read on to learn how you can help in a variety of ways; especially as an iDevice star.
The next phase in the development of the iDevices for Independence project is to collect and recycle 10 devices. Once PCB has received at least this many devices, we will re-open the call for applications. Specifically, PCB seeks Apple devices that run on the iOS platform and related accessories. These devices include:
• iPhone 4S or later
• iPad and iPad mini all generations
• iPod Touch 3rd generation or later
Earlier this spring PCB created an information packet and flyer and began reaching out to Lions Clubs for assistance in collecting devices. One club, the Titusville Lions, has already begun a device collection drive alongside their eyeglass collection efforts. The club published a notice of this project in the community section of their local newspaper to solicit donations. PCB chapters might also consider conducting a device drive in their local area. If you have contacts within Lions Clubs, or other community service organizations, please encourage them to participate in our collection efforts. Supporters might also approach businesses that provide cell phones for their employees to donate devices the next time they upgrade technology. Please request copies of the iDevice flyer or information packet to share with contacts and distribute at community events. Call the PCB office at 877-617-7407 or send an email to

While each device donor can take a tax deduction for the value of their item, each recycled device truly is invaluable to project recipients. With just one iDevice, a person who is blind or visually impaired, gains independence which in the past would have required thousands of dollars and multiple gadgets. A recycled device is loaded with free apps that enable recipients to: download talking books from the National Library Service, set alarms and timers, identify money, objects, and colors; take text and audio notes, keep a calendar of appointments and special dates, create a list of contacts, determine if friends and family left the lights on, listen to the newspaper, get sighted assistance 24/7, read printed mail, and much more. Device owners have access to hundreds of additional apps designed specifically for people who are blind or visually impaired through

PCB is looking to showcase the impact that owning an iDevice can make on a person’s independence by creating a YouTube video compilation. And so, if you are blind or visually impaired, and you currently own an iDevice, it’s your time to shine! Ask a friend or family member to shoot a one to two-minute video of you using your iDevice to be more independent. You might consider getting video of you reading text, checking your color combinations, using GPS navigation, magnifying signage, listening to a book, scanning a barcode, using an app such as Be My Eyes or TapTapSee, checking a meat thermometer, identifying money, or the like. The possibilities are endless. Keep it family-friendly and focused on an independence function. Open the video with your first name, where you’re from, and a few words about your vision level. Then say, “Here’s how my iDevice makes me more independent.” Go ahead and describe what you’re doing and which app you’re using, but be careful not to speak over any audio feedback the device is providing. We want viewers to be able to hear and see the device in action. Email your video along with your full name and contact information to by September 30, 2017.

Please contact the PCB office at 877-617-7407 with any questions about the iDevices for Independence project.

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