Spring 2017

Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley
Grant Helps Individuals Live More Independently

New, larger monitors in GESMV's computer
lab make searching for jobs easier for clients
dealing with vision loss

Anne is one of an estimated 23 million adults living with vision loss. When she began losing her sight eight years ago as the result of macular degeneration, she turned to Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley’s (GESMV) Vision Services program for help. Then in her late 70s, she still was very active in the community and in her personal life but was having trouble acclimating to her newly developed sight limitations.

GESMV’s Vision Services worked with Anne and assessed her needs, recommending several digital magnifiers, including a portable closed-circuit television (CCTV) for Anne’s busy lifestyle. The CCTV offers a large LCD display that can be adjusted to meet users’ needed magnifications and give them control of contrast levels and brightness, among other features.

Thanks to grants from the James M. Hewitt Fund for the Blind of The Dayton Foundation, GESMV is able to provide scholarships for individuals who are unable to afford adaptive equipment or whose insurance doesn’t cover the cost. Anne received a scholarship, which provided her with the portable device free of charge.

“I am so thankful to The Dayton Foundation for providing funds for these scholarships,” Anne said. “I can carry my CCTV in my purse or a small bag wherever I go. It’s so much easier to read menus, paperwork at doctors’ offices and other materials when I’m on the run.”

“Thanks to these scholarships, we can give them access to equipment that otherwise would have been out of their reach.” – Lance Detrick, president and CEO, Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley

Anne was so excited about her scholarship that she encouraged friends, who were dealing with similar vision problems, to apply as well. Her friends, along with more than 80 other individuals, received scholarships in 2016.

“Technology for a person who has low vision or blindness is amazing. However, many of these individuals cannot afford to purchase it,” said Lance Detrick, president and CEO of GESMV. “Thanks to these scholarships, we can give them access to equipment that otherwise would have been out of their reach.”

In addition to helping individuals with vision loss through adaptive equipment, GESMV recently upgraded its computer lab to include new, enlarged computer monitors. The lab is available to adults seeking employment opportunities. The upgrades also were funded by a grant from the James M. Hewitt Fund for the Blind, which has awarded nearly $400,000 since its establishment in 1989.

“We noticed some users were squinting or working inches away from computer monitors. These individuals rely on the lab to submit online applications, conduct job searches, work on their resumes or communicate with prospective employers,” said Kathy Rearick, vice president of Marketing & Development for GESMV. “Thanks to the Foundation’s grant, the lab is more user-friendly. The new monitors alleviate eye strain and help users better see information on the screen so they don’t feel constrained by their vision loss.”

In the month after they were installed, more than 300 people visited the lab, with many users commenting positively. “Now this is perfect - I can see it all!” said one visitor.

“Even if people need help doing some things, they still want to do as much as possible for themselves,” Lance Detrick said. “Giving them the tools to do for themselves provides people with dignity and helps them live more independently. This makes a significant difference in their lives.”

Read more about the local charities and programs that recently received a Dayton Foundation discretionary grant award here.

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File date: 3.20.17
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