Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Resources for partners May 1, 2020

Today is the first of May – May Day. Research revealed two very different definitions. May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on 1 May or the first Monday of May. It is an ancient festival of Spring.

Mayday is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice-procedure radio communications. This latter definition is of mind as news filters in about the difficulties organizations and their staff are experiencing as working in this new environment becomes longer term.

This morning, a bulletin from the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation stated:

“According to a recent survey of 215 nonprofits conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), more than half of the nonprofits surveyed throughout Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties described their financial circumstances as so difficult they may have to make significant changes ….within four months or less. This…is coming against a backdrop of increased demand among some nonprofits for their services due to heightened need brought on by the pandemic.”

So, some questions (I will repeat these questions in a separate email to follow later today for your responses):

1) After more than a month working as leaders in this new environment, what successes would you share with your colleagues, what has been most challenging or simply has not worked?

2) How are you connecting with staff so they receive the support they need to continue services to clients?

3) What does the future look like from your seat?

4) And – are there different approaches that we as funders can take to help?

Important Survey for families, TVI’s, O&Ms
Objective Ed, a partnership among 19 organizations, companies, and universities has released the Access and Engagement to Education for Students with Visual Impairments survey to determine how well students are being served during the pandemic. Family members, TVI’s, and O&M instructors are being sought to complete the survey, which is available until May 13 at 5 PM eastern. The survey is available in both English and Spanish at:
this website.
“Data collected as part of the study will be used to allow those invested in education of students with visual impairments to understand the way education is being delivered during COVID-19 pandemic, methods of instruction being used, if families and professionals believe students have what they need to be successful, if materials are accessible, and more.”

New resources

Over the last few weeks, we’ve shared numerous resources. Many of our recommendations have new activities weekly, if not daily. It seems like the world is pitching in to offer virtual experiences, mostly for free.

For Young People
Virtual Dog Days from Fidelco Guide Dogs May 4 – May 8. Kids will participate in a variety of interactive activities, including: “live” drawing lessons and Tao Dog Yoga sessions; a chance to speak with a Trainer, Puppy Technician and client who is blind; and, many more fun activities designed to be completed on your own schedule. Check here for schedule and activity details.

Online games

AFB’s Accessworld magazine always has a wealth of useful information. April’s issue included the article “Combat the Tedium of COVID-19 Quarantine with Accessible Games”, by Jamie Pauls, complete with links to sites with a variety of games for anyone. It’s under the Tips and Resources for Coronavirus Quarantine tab at this site.

Wet AMD and home adaptations

Some nine months ago, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and interior designer Nate Berkus put together a free kit for people who have been diagnosed with wet AMD with suggestions for adapting the home, room by room, to enable reading, cooking, hobbies, cleaning, using a computer and physical activity. The kit is still available through Kit. There’s also an audio home tour with adaptive suggestions at 1-800-290-3333.