SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The pandemic is creating more challenges for people who are blind and visually impaired. Care programs, that help them on a daily basis, are in need of support.
Lois Modell, the Executive Director for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision, said like many nonprofits the pandemic’s financial impact has significantly impacted their program funding. 29 counties are all served by the nonprofit’s programs. The center offers specialized training in orientation and mobility, technology assistance services, Braille and communication, vision impaired preschool, daily living skills, peer and employment support, and low vision assistance. Every training course helps people regain their complete independence.
The executive director said one of their biggest challenges is finding a way to get visually impaired community members their groceries and rides to their doctor’s appointments.
“If you don’t have a family member, and you live by yourself, you’re in trouble. You can’t go out to a grocery store cause you can’t social distance. How do you know how far away you are from someone and we all experienced the empty shelves of toilet paper and all of that. For a blind person, you can just shut your eyes and imagine walking into a store blind, trying to find something.” Modell added.
An accident, stroke, or diabetes can all cause visual impairment. Modell said the center focuses on adjustment to help people adjust to their new world. They are raising donations fo a movable tactile course that will help orientation and mobility students gain confidence as they practice using a cane or a guide dog. Modell said having a private space for them to adjust to their surroundings will help them feel safer walking out in public spaces. She said for many people who lose their vision, learning how to recognize the different texture on the ground will help them know where they are.
The center is holding a brick campaign where people can purchase a brick for 100 dollars. They will engrave the donor’s name on the brick and it will be built into their training mobility course.