PCB Members: A Beautiful Blend
By Jule Ann Lieberman, Chair
Over two years ago, we surveyed our chapters to find out descriptive characteristics and other demographic information about our members. We found that an overwhelming majority of both active and non-participating members were over the age of 50 with most over 60 years of age. It was found that chapters may be serving several counties both rural and metropolitan. Some chapters have a regular meeting with agenda items that include advocacy issues and reports, fund raising activities and social events. We found that some chapters just get together to talk and spend time together in a supportive environment. Our survey did not ask racial identification but it is likely to be consistent with state representation figures. We also did not ask about marital status, families or in what type of home (apartment, single family home or residential facility) our members choose to live. Nor did we ask what education level was achieved by members or their employment history.
PCB membership is a diverse group in many ways other than age and location in the state. The other demographic information typically gathered by surveys was not included because we embrace all members regardless of race, economic status, and familial situation. Information requested by our membership database only reflects contact information and visual status. The membership committee discussed the value of asking visual status, since self-reporting would reflect various definitions of visual status. Regardless, we determined that this characteristic was necessary no matter how one defines visual status because ACB requires it for mailing literature as “free matter for the blind.” Therefore, our request for member visual status is based on whether you require written communications in large print, braille, audio, or electronic format.
As a member now for several years, my visual status from both the clinical and the functional measures has significantly changed. Yet, I still can be described as low vision in some aspects, but functionally blind in many tasks. I am certain this is true of many other members as well.
The Membership Committee, along with the Convention Program and Planning Committee, has been working on plans for a special segment of the opening session just for members to “mix.” We have come up with some creative ideas for you to get to know other members, including our members at-large and our student members. This is a great time to share with others your life experiences and learn from others with whom you share common challenges and successes. We are a truly interesting group with many characteristics other than our shared vision loss. This is our time to get inspired, get motivated and get more involved in PCB. Please consider joining us either in person or through our streaming feed over ACB Radio.
PCB membership is not just numbers and demographic data, but real people who have the same characteristic of vision loss or have interest in issues related to vision loss. The membership committee encourages you to participate and get to know our members, there is a great deal to learn and share!