Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Resources for Partners January 29,2021

Ski For Light’s International Event Goes Virtual – Catch It Before It Ends

They wanted their 46th anniversary event to be at the slopes, but the pandemic didn’t didn’t allow it. Instead, from January 27 through the 30th, from 6-10 p.m. eastern on Zoom, with recordings available on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, Ski For Light attendees can choose from physical activities, learn how to participate as a skier or guide, bid at a live auction, and even attend a “Saturday night ‘banquet’ (dress-up optional, BYO everything), with inspiring speakers, awards and other festivities”. All sessions are free, but SFL wants everyone to sign up here in order to receive Zoom or YouTube instructions as sessions occur. While at home, stay in shape for the season and try out the Focus on Fitness page for a schedule of classes during the four-day event plus access to the archives. Although the event is already in full swing, be aware that their fitness page has free resources from Blind Alive and the San Francisco Lighthouse for download anytime.
“We Ski for Lighters usually like to get up and go, but right now, in service of public health, we’re hunkering down,” says the intro to their Well at Home page, which features an audio recording of a stretch class, Facebook videos and a lesson on remembering to breathe during these anxiety-provoking times.

Vision Aware has a short, practical blog post with tips for those interested, but who haven’t yet tried, cross-country skiing and an article that offers an intro both downhill and cross country for people who are blind.

San Francisco Lighthouse’s Holman Prize for Blind Ambition – Apply Now

“Created specifically for legally blind individuals with a penchant for exploration of all types, the Holman] Prize provides financial backing – up to $25,000 – for three [blind] individuals to explore the world and push their limits.” 2020 Holman prize winners used their winnings to train women in Nepal for employment in women’s health, provide technology training in rural southern India, and create ReVision Fitness, an audio training program with descriptive information for people who are blind. How does it work? “Blind applicants must submit a first-round pitch, in the form of a 90-second YouTube video. Later, a select group of semifinalists will submit in-depth written proposals, and an even smaller group of finalists will be interviewed by LightHouse staff.” Fill out the application, which must include a link to the 90-second video along with a high resolution photo of the candidate by March 14, 11:59 a.m. Pacific time.

Thinking about applying?

Watch the 90-second video Dr. Mona Minkara, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Northeastern University, submitted for her winning project, “Planes, Trains and Canes.” When she isn’t traveling and putting together informative and humorous videos, Dr. Minkara helps other scientists with advice like How to Make Your Research Group Accessible which appeared in Science Magazine online.

Text only news sites

Introduced in 2017, text only web sites at CNN and NPR are going strong. “Text-only sites — which used to be more popular in the early days of the Internet, when networks were slower and bandwidth was at a premium – are incredibly useful, and not just during natural disasters. They load much faster, don’t contain any pop-ups or ads or autoplay videos, and help people with low bandwidth or limited Internet access. They’re also beneficial for people with visual impairments who use screen readers to navigate the Internet” said Poynter. In a current update to that article, CNN and NPR sites are still alive and up to the minute. CNN’s site is in plain text with an audio player for low-bandwidth usage available at the bottom of each page. NPR’s text only site also integrates NPR broadcasts into its articles.

Don’t Miss These Podcasts

“From accessing the voiceOver features on the iPhone or iPad to Cleaning a Bathroom with alternative Techniques, Blind Abilities draws from a community of members who not only share their experiences, they listen and offer advice when needed.” The podcast series beams out over the interweb several times a week through a connection with State Services for the Blind in Minnesota, and has become one of our go-to places for information and conversation. There’s a big emphasis on technology at Blind Abilities, but there’s a big role for careers, college, and independent living, too. There’s a free Blind Abilities app, or subscribe to their RSS feed and get podcasts automatically.
Hadley’s Conversation with the Experts podcast began in April 2019 and has grown to 25 episodes on a range of topics including handwriting, traveling, voting, home repair, peer support, tips for managing in the COVID-19 world, and the latest, a conversation with Dr. Jullia Rosdahl, a glaucoma specialist from the Duke Eye Center. Each episode is under half an hour, and host Ricky Enger’s mellifluous tones make for easy listening. Available on the Hadley website or on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, TuneIn, Overcast or RSS Feed.

On Tech and Vision” a podcast from Lighthouse Guild, is a series of conversations between Dr. Cal Roberts, President and Chief Executive, and technology innovators who are designing solutions with the goal of “restoring lost vision, enhancing existing vision, and improving function for people with vision loss.” The sixth episode focuses on sensory substitution and begins with a conversation with John-Ross Rizzo, MD., Assistant Professor at NYU, who describes how his visual diagnosis changed his career path from ophthalmology to rehabilitation medicine and inspires his work on sensory augmentation.

In the latest AccessAbility Works podcast from My Blind Spot, Albert and Jon interview Kirk Adams, CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind, on his blind life, AFB’s 100th anniversary, and what’s in store for the next 100 years. The AccessAbility Works podcast series “explains authentic digital inclusion — ensuring that organizations’ digital offerings, websites, mobile apps, and work environments are accessible and usable to people of all abilities– and why it makes sense in the modern business world.”

On February 11, Fill Your Plate, Raise Your Glass, Enjoy the Music

Speaking of Kirk Adams, he’s sent a delightful invitation to join American Foundation for the Blind’s virtual Dinner and Music for a Historic Celebration (they’re 100 years old in 2021) event on February 11 at 7 p.m. eastern. On the event page, find recipes from celebrity chef Christine Ha; wine pairings from Dr. Hoby Wedler and a 20% discount from Coppola Winery; and a 30-song playlist from jazz pianist and composer Marcus Roberts. As you dine, lively conversation will be hosted by Russell Shaffer, Senior Director – Global Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Walmart Inc, and former chair of the AFB board, at “this celebration of the senses, community, and the power of inclusion”.

Valentines for Veterans

Whether children, teens, adults or seniors, here’s an easy way for your groups to give back to local veterans and veterans’ organizations. Congressional Representatives are participating in the Valentines for Veterans program. Create homemade cards, drop them off or mail them to your representative’s office, and your Congressman will visit veterans to drop the cards off. Check your representative’s website to see if they’re participating and for mailing instructions.

Small museums go virtual – and house hidden gems

Small museums in or near your home, have fascinating exhibits, and in this COVID world, they have created great programs, particularly for families with children – virtually.

The John Jay Homestead in Katonah, NY, has a “Play Days @ Jay @ Home” activities page with games, puzzles, recipes and crafts, including how to make a glass harmonica just like its inventor, Benjamin Franklin, did. Explore their site and learn all about John Jay, too.

The Heckscher at Home Initiative (H@H), from the Heckscher Museum of Art, located on Long Island, has a range of online arts activities including virtual music and a virtual art activity series. A classical flute quartet is among the music choices and on February 6, a museum educator will read Ezra Jack Keats’s The Snowy Day, to teach kids about Black History Month and then help them create a winter themed collage. Register for other family programs, too.

The New York Institute for Special Education in the Bronx, New York, has a Museum and Archive, and one of its online sections is all about famed hymn writer, Institute student and teacher Fanny Crosby , noted as “one of the three greatest personalities that have risen from among the blind of America.” Fanny is noted in the archive as having been from Putnam County, New York. Actually, Fanny lived in the town where I live today, Brewster, and I live on Crosby Avenue. I’ll be visiting the archive more than once.

Find out more about your local museums by browsing by state and type of museum here.