By Liz Oleksa, LVCB President
The Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind (LVCB) is blossoming with new ideas and ways of getting more involved with our community this spring. As the times are changing in the world we live in, so are the needs and visions at LVCB. With a positive attitude and a welcoming group of people, our chapter continues to grow. Currently, LVCB is a bouquet of great minds, ideas and individuals from different generations. Our members range in age from 14 through 81, and we bring out the youthfulness and fun from within each of our members. All of our gatherings, activities and meetings are accompanied by new information, laughter and continually blooming friendships.
For the 2019 year, LVCB has decided to take a break from running our annual hot dog sale fundraiser, which has been taking place since 2003. With many of our members being actively involved with family, work, and other commitments, it has been difficult to staff the hot dog sale for the original 3 day stretch. Last year, we shortened our hot dog sale to 2 days instead of 3, yet still found it challenging to fill all our shifts. Even though we had a fine fundraising amount raised, we are looking into other ways to raise funds, without as much of a time commitment.
We will continue to sell Gertrude Hawke chocolate bars for $1 each throughout the year. For the past two years, this has been an excellent fundraiser for our chapter.
In addition to the Gertrude Hawke chocolate bars, LVCB plans to hold raffles throughout the year. (These include 50/50 raffles, items like hand-made Afghans, gift baskets/gift cards donated by local businesses and more.) LVCB will also be holding a fundraising evening at a local Panera Breads and More Restaurant. Panera offers this opportunity to non-profit organizations, where 20% of all sales from that evening go to the organization holding the event. This event will provide great friendship, promoting LVCB and PCB, good food and an easy way to get involved in the community.
LVCB is teaming up with the local Center for Independent Living and Center for Vision Loss for a demonstration of Pennsylvania’s Certified Voting Systems Highlighting accessibility accommodations. On Thursday April 11th, at the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living, the vendors of state certified voting machine/systems will demonstrate the accessible features of their equipment. Over the next year, each county in Pennsylvania will be selecting a system to have in place by the 2020 presidential election. The demonstration, sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living, the Center for Vision Loss, and the Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind will begin at 10:00 A.M. with a presentation from each of the vendors discussing the accessibility features of their system. The remainder of the day, attendees will circulate among each of the vendor stations and have the opportunity for a hands-on demonstration to judge for themselves the quality of accessibility of each of the systems. While all individuals with a disability are invited to attend, as are family members and friends, a registration is requested. To register or for further information, please contact Debbie Rozear, firstname.lastname@example.org, 610-770-9781 ext. 124, or Tony Swartz, email@example.com, 610-799-4565. Please register by Monday April 8th. The demonstration event will be held in the Operation Overcome room on the second floor of the Center. Attendees are asked to arrive no later than 9:50 A.M. The Center for Independent Living is located at 713 N. 13th Street Allentown, PA 18102.
LVCB also continues to share information with the world through our Facebook page. Our page can be found by searching “lvcb1993” or “Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind LVCB”. We share all different types of information relating to vision loss, blindness and new technologies involving blind or visually impaired persons. Please check us out and like our page!
On Sunday evenings, the “Blind and Beyond” radio show, out of Orlando, FL, airs from 7:00 pm. to 9:00 p.m. EST. The show has guest speakers that call in and discuss various topics about blindness or vision loss. On Sunday, March 3, 2019, LVCB President, Liz Oleksa was a guest on the show to talk about LVCB, PCB, and over-coming obstacles in life with a positive attitude and determination. You can tune in live through their website or on your smart speaker. Just say: “Alexa, play WOKB 1680AM”. Liz was a guest speaker about 18 months ago, and was invited back to share more about LVCB.