By Dana Leet and Jacqueline Wissinger
On November 9th, 2019, the Hank Bloomberg Chapter held a seminar at the Dubois Library to reach out to the visually impaired people in our community. Our main speaker was an Orientation and Mobility Specialist from the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS). She spoke about services available to perspective clients who needed mobility training as well as blindness rehabilitation services provided by their agency. She brought adaptive equipment, such as a variety of canes and tips. She also discussed the fact that bone conduction headsets would be a good tool to use when relying on GPS related apps for independent travel. This would allow us to hear our phones at the same time as we still heard all traffic noises around us. She also brought materials to simulate vision loss for those in the sighted community so they could experience what life would be like if they were either losing vision or without sight.
Dana talked about 3 different apps that she uses daily to promote independence, Aira, Voice Stream Scanner, and Envision AI. She demonstrated each of these aps providing examples of products used in her everyday tasks.
Jackie also discussed PCB by mentioning that we are an organization that is focused on peers mentoring peers and challenging beliefs
She also discussed the different teams that PCB offers and encouraged participants to join in and use their talents and skills to participate on a team of interest to them. She encouraged those who attended to join our organization.
Refreshments were served and great conversation was had. We even had an artist who used balloons to make animals, and flowers for the kids. Although no actual kids attended, we were all kids at heart and enjoyed trying to figure out what the different shaped balloons were. (smile)
We feel this seminar went well, thus we are planning something even bigger for next fall. We will start planning in January for a great seminar next year. We feel that it would be good to try to get in touch with as many people as we can in the Central Pennsylvania area, as we are the only chapter in the 814 area code, which covers a large region. . Our hope is to have a full one-day seminar with several speakers and a fun activity for all.