Club Updates

President Elizabeth continues to encourage every member to bring a guest every month.

Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Roberta Griffith founded the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (ABVI) in Grand Rapids in 1913. Roberta was blind and had many accomplishments, including working with Helen Keller to modernize the Braille writing system. In 2020 ABVI became a subsidiary of Mary Free Bed. Their services can be accessed by a referral from an eye doctor.
Vision impaired people's talents are underutilized. Only 10% of them with Master's degrees are employed.
According to polls people most fear losing their vision, even more than losing hearing, memory, or even a limb. There are approximately 142,000 people in Michigan with some form of vision impairment. There are numerous types of vision impairment and causes. About 65% of people who have a stroke will end up with some level of vision damage.

Services ABVI Provides

These are a few of the devices that are available for assisted reading. ABVI helps people to try out devices to determine which works best for them and then procure them. They provide continuing technical assistance.

There are many simple changes that can be made that don't require high tech. For instance, you might put raised dots on an oven dial to indicate where 350 F is.

ABVI has Occupational Therapists who are available to do home visits to assess both vision and mobility challenges. All of their services are focused on assisting people with vision impairments to accomplish their goals. ABVI has vision clinics in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland. The Grand Rapids clinic is always available.

ABVI's Summer in the City program brings vision-impaired young people together. In addition to just meeting other people in similar situations, they work together to learn new activities. Cooking is a really popular skill to learn at this program.

White Cane Awareness days are also something sponsored a few times a year.

There are all sorts of technologies being developed, such as GPS-enabled canes and smartphone apps that do much more than reading.