The Tools in Your Toolbox: Everything You Need for PCB Outreach

By Mary Ann Grignon, Communications Team

The Pennsylvania Council of the Blind (PCB) has evolved so much in the past several years that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with everything new, and therefore, difficult to tell others all we are and do. That’s ok, because if you’ll keep reading, I’ll tell you what we have in our arsenal to encourage those you meet in the community to join our wonderful peer network.

First, let me ask you a question. Have you ever been out in your community, maybe at church, a doctor’s office, or just anywhere you frequent, and someone approaches you to say that they know someone who is losing vision or has lost vision? What do you say to them about PCB? If you are like me, even though I am very enthusiastic about PCB, I can become tongue tied and sometimes walk away thinking I didn’t get in the most important points about who we are. To help us out in situations like these, the PCB Communications team put their creative heads together and came up with an elevator pitch.

What’s an elevator pitch? Oh, well, it’s all you need to say about PCB to make them want to know more in just a couple of sentences. Ours goes like this:
“Hi, I’m from the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. We are a network of blind, visually impaired or sighted people working together to dispel the negative stereo types surrounding blindness and to educate those who have lost or are losing vision about their potential for independence and productivity.”

So, by now, because of your charming personality and our enticing pitch, they want to know more. Here is what we suggest if you are given a few more moments to make a lasting impression.
“We do this by offering a variety of discussion calls, an annual conference, local chapter activities, email and telephone information sharing, vision loss resources and so much more.” If you really want to snag them, continue by sharing your own story about how PCB has enriched your life.

Now that’s a great strategy for a chance encounter. But we have a whole arsenal of tools you can take with you if you are at a planned community event such as a senior expo or your own vision loss resource event. The office would be more than happy to supply your chapter with as many copies of these documents and other tools as you think you might need. We want you to be prepared so others can benefit from all PCB has to offer. For more information about any item or to request materials, call the PCB office at 877-617-7407 or send email to pcboffice@pcb1.org.

Available Documents:
Igniting Independence—describing many PCB offerings
PCB Peer Network Flyer
TheReImage.net Flyer
PCB Membership Form
Loving Touch Connection Flyer
PCB Business Cards—chapter customization available
Blindness Awareness Youth Activity Sheet
20/20 Pens with PCB Logo
Bold-lined Paper

We can also provide you with thumb drives which are pre-loaded with many of the above documents and longer resources including:
Recent issues of The PCB Advocate
Getting to Know Us—our welcome guide
Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals…
Now What? Assisting Your Loved One through Vision Loss (coming soon)
Select PCB podcasts and discussion call audio

Also, consider borrowing two additional items to make your information table more appealing. Our beautiful blue tablecloth has been customized with the PCB logo and contact information. It will spruce up any standard-size exhibit table. Use graphics to appeal to most people’s visual nature by using the PCB digital photo frame. We’ll give you two thumb drives with photos of people who are blind actively enjoying life. Simply plug in the frame and insert a thumb drive for photos to begin displaying automatically.

When all is said and done, you’ll have so much to share at your outreach event you’ll wish you had a toolbox to carry it all.

Are you now wondering how and where you might use these tools? I can make a few suggestions, but every community is different. You can try to locate senior expos because as we know, many lose their vision from age related conditions. How about making an appointment with your local PAB to speak to their consumers? Lions clubs are very interested in organizations that serve those with vision loss. Just use your imagination and make it a chapter project to find opportunities to share PCB offerings within your community. Remember when sharing, your own story will probably be the real power tool in that toolbox.

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