Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Resources for Partners March 19, 2021

Virtual Presentation on Mary Shelley of Frankenstein Fame

In celebrating Women’s History Month, the Morgan Library and Museum invites visitors to attend a free virtual presentation for people who are blind or have low vision, March 30 at 1 pm on Mary Shelley, the British novelist in their collection best known for “Frankenstein.” Verbal imaging and descriptions will be provided. To join in the program via zoom:.
 Go to Virtual Tour: Mary Shelley. Meeting ID: 831 9864 9234; Passcode: 431685

Diabetes Alert Day: March 23: A One-Day “Wake-Up Call”

Each year, the fourth Tuesday in March is recognized as “American Diabetes Association 
Diabetes Alert Day.” This “is a one-day ‘wake-up call’ that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk.” Toward that end, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases offers tips and guidance to spread the word about Type 2 diabetes, since many Americans are unaware they have this condition and thus are at greater risk of developing eye disease and possible vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of legal blindness in adults aged 20–74 years. For more information For more about diabetic eye disease from the NIH National Eye Institute (NEI) , prevention and rehabilitation for those who have lost vision: Diabetic eye disease

NAVI-Lens –

Scan the Tags to Find Your Way Outdoors, Indoors, and Identify Objects
NaviLens, developed in Spain, is a set of two free apps for Apple or Android phones that use a new kind of QR type multi-colored coded tag that can be affixed to landmarks, buildings, and even to personal items at home. Blind Abilities wrote this about the NaviLens app when used for mobility: “unlike existing QR codes that can only be read from a short distance, the NaviLens tag can be detected by your smart phone camera up to 60 feet away with a 160 degree wide-angle range. This means that you will now be able to detect NaviLens tags that are almost at your 9 o’clock or 3 o’clock direction, thus being simple to find if you are blind or visually impaired. For example, you will now be able to find an indoor room if you are walking down a hallway, or another destination as you are approaching a bus stop or store front. With NaviLens, you don’t have to aim or point your phone as precisely as before.” In New York, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has installed 100 NaviLens tags at its Brooklyn Jay Street-MetroTech Station, where travelers can also use the NaviLens app to get real-time train arrivals information in 24 different languages. The Navi Lens website provides lots of info and free, downloadable tags to schools and associations order-section. Individual NaviLens users can print out tags for personal use on a color printer by going to the quick start menu and selecting “Request tags for Personal Use.” In England, Kellogg’s is experimenting with NaviLens on its Coco Pops cereal boxes, which also have large print and Braille. Read more about it here.

Keep Your Sight Foundation Opens Free Access to TeleMedicine to Eye Doctors

The pandemic has escalated the need for – and use of – telemedicine to ensure continued access to medical care. In response, the Keep Your Sight Foundation has opened free access to its telemedicine platform for any eye doctor or practice. The “first Telemedicine Platform for Population Eye Health… (KYS) works with eye doctors to provide access to advanced telemedicine home vision tests that can be self–administered on personal electronic devices including tablets, PCs and laptops.” The goal is to increase access to eye care and, ultimately, help to prevent vision loss. For more information.

Flex Jobs: Remote Job Opportunities

While many companies are asking employees to return to work in person, others are not, and job seekers may have their own reasons for wishing to work remotely. One company that aims to fulfill that wish is Flex Jobs, which lists remote, work from home and flexible openings in some 54 categories for professional, entry level to executive positions, part-time and full-time. A typical listing states “Full-Time, 100% Remote Job Philadelphia, PA. Seeking a Writer for a freelance remote opportunity. The candidate will write about eSports and gaming-related topics. Must possess strong writing skills. At least 2 years of relevant experience is required.” Another, “Inbound Call Center Technical Support Specialist, Full-Time, Remote – During Pandemic Job, Mason, OH. Technical Support Specialist is needed for a remote contract role. The candidate will provide technical support in a timely, consistent, and courteous manner. Must possess strong communication skills. HS diploma and prior related experience required.” Basic listings are free, but those who wish to apply for jobs must sign up for a membership, which begins at $6.95 per week and goes up to $49.95 for an entire year (as of this writing.) Membership buys full access to every job, research on the companies, a member-created profile that will be sent to prospective employers, an uploadable portfolio for resumes and work samples, and a Guide to Best Companies for Flexible Jobs, with hiring data on 40,000 companies. For details:

Free Tree Seedlings Program for Schools and Youth Organizations

Schools and youth-based education organizations in New York that have 1800 square feet or more of open space can receive 50 free white pine or white spruce seedlings through the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation School Seedlings program. “Provide young people with a hands-on way to understand natural systems, observe their environment, and learn key vocabulary. When students plant tree seedlings they can discover the structure and function of trees while building their awareness about conservation. As the trees mature they can serve as an ongoing living laboratory for young people to learn from.” Seedlings are shipped UPS. Learn more and apply by March 31 at the DEC website. We found a similar program in Pennsylvania, so check your state or join the American Heart Association’s Teaching Gardens Network here for resources and grant opportunities information.

Teen Virtual Workshops in Agriculture – They’re Free but Apply by March 25

The USDA’s Ag Discovery program has gone virtual at 18 of the 21 participating colleges and universities for the summer of 2021. “AgDiscovery is a unique opportunity for students to explore agricultural sciences, and gain knowledge about careers in animal and plant disciplines, wildlife management, veterinary medicine, biotechnology, entomology, food safety, food production, agribusiness, forestry, and MUCH more!” The program is free of cost to accepted applicants, who must complete a four-page application; write an essay on “Why I Want to Attend the AgDiscovery Program atgarden tools for the blind ___________ University (indicate the participating university you would like to attend), and What I Want to Learn”; and submit three letters of recommendation. A tall order, surely, given the deadline, but worth it for someone who is passionate about these fields. Learn all about this exciting opportunity at Ag Discovery.

Bold Blind Beauty: “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers”

Bold Blind Beauty “empowers, connects, and breaks barriers,” providing the means to “clear the air” for people with disabilities. The acronym A.I.R. – Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation – articulates the goals of this innovative initiative, expressed through “Beyond Sight Magazine,” on their website and via “Bold Blind Beauty on A.I.R.” and blog. Each edition of “Bold Blind Beauty on A.I.R.,” on You Tube, includes three segments: Bold – concepts and companies and people; Blind – accessibility, ideas, tips and/products and Beauty – products. Their “bold, blind and stylish fashion icon,” Abby, conveys the beauty of her “blind and low vision sisters nationwide.” Abby emerged from the imagination of Bold Blind Beauty founder Stephanie McCoy. Bold Blind Beauty embodies its founder’s vision: “The one thing sight loss taught me is perception is more profound than seeing. I may have lost my sight but my clarity has increased exponentially and for this I am grateful.” To sample the You Tube series: Welcome To Bold Blind Beauty On A.I.R.

Video Beauty Tips: “Doing a Full Face of Makeup With My Eyes Closed”
You Tube personality and motivational speaker Molly Jane Lucy Burke’s channel counts more than two million subscribers. Burke’s programming centers on her experience with fashion and make up advice. Blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa, she has produced a number of videos on “Blind Beauty,” with practical makeup tips. Check out her recent video: Doing a Full Face of Makeup With My Eyes Closed

Congratulations Helen Keller National Center on Oscar Nominee “Feeling Through”

The film “Feeling Through, featuring deaf-blind actor Robert Tarango, has received a nomination for best Live Action Short Film by the Motion Picture Academy. Dr. Susan Ruzenski, CEO of Helen Keller Services, a RDPFS grantee, served as a producer on the film and will receive an Academy Award if the films wins at the April 25 Awards ceremony. For more information on “Feeling Through.”

World Poetry Day: March 21

Poets throughout the world use rhythm and imagery to entice their readers. Recognizing the universal role of poetry, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated March 21 as World Poetry Day since 1999.
Descriptive imagery abounds in the work of poets, some of whom have drawn on their experiences with vision loss. Poet, short story writer and literary critic Jorge Luis Borges experienced progressive vision loss and described it in his work: “At the far end of my years I am surrounded by a persistent, luminous, fine mist which reduces all things to a single thing with neither form nor colour.” For more about Borges, his renown and how his vision influenced his work, as well as other writers with visual impairment, check out this article from Vision Australia: Famous writers who were blind or had low vision.

Deanna Quietwater Noriega’s poetry helps her “get through the tough times,” through a varied array of styles. Noriega, who has been blind since childhood, conveys her personal experiences, wisdom and humor in her writing. She shares her insights – and some poetry – in How Poetry Helps Me Move On As A Blind Person,” posted on VisionAware. She explains that writing provides “a way to think through a problem or even capture the joy of a moment.”
And as a final treat, here’s a sample of Ms. Noriega’s work and humor:
In my smart phone lives a dumb blonde named SIRI.
Her antics can make me feel Teary.
My humble requests,
She treats as mere jests,
And keeps me double tap tapping till weary!