(315) 782-2451

About the ABVINNY

About the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of NNY

The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been in existence since 1918 and was formed in the Watertown and Jefferson County area. The founders of the organization were James Avery, a local businessman, Frances Lynch and Evelyn Bourcy a nurse for the Watertown Public Schools. The three of them formalized the first volunteer program for the blind. They also formed the first sheltered workshop for the blind upstairs in the old Mohican Building. This would provide the blind community to sustain independence and become a part of the workforce in the Watertown area.

Many changes have taken place within the Association for the blind and Visually Impaired since January 2017. We are moving forward and anticipating many new and exciting ventures. One of the first changes would be our move from the Prospect St. location to 131 Washington Street, the NNY Philanthropy Center (the old Black River Valley Club). We are located on the 3rd floor Suite 300. Come by and visit our new setting and enjoy the warm and caring atmosphere of our staff.

Speaking of our staff, our Executive Director, Olivia Kassoum-Amadou is working to bring many new things to the North Country, such as up-to-date technology, equipment, workshops, and self-advocacy support groups. We also have on-board with us, Laura Warner, Assistant Director. Laura has been working for ABVINNY for the past year and is familiar with our consumers.  We are adding a Rehabilitation Specialist who will preform inhome or in office evaluations to help ensure the safety of our consumers by providing adaptive aids and if required, referals for home improvement through our partnering agencies. Tim Monaghan is the friendly voice you hear when you call in to our office. Tim heads up our support group sharing his experiences in his journey with legal blindness.

Lastly, we are expanding our services in affiliation with other organizations covering parts of St. Lawrence and Lewis Counties.

 Board of Directors

  • Dr. Charles Metzler, President
  • Karen Stumpf, Vice-President
  • Gary Mack,Treasurer
  • Heather Bowman, Secretary
  • Karen Strife
  • Robert Ashodian
  • Denise Wetterhahn
  • Dr. Grace Burke
  • Dr. Richard Matarese
  • Dr. Justin Pecori
  • Linda Beyette
  • Mike Tyo
  • Mike Simmons
  • Deltra Willis

The Association’s office is at 131 Washington Street Watertown, New York.  


The association receives an annual appropriation from the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors and an annual support contribution from the Jefferson County United Way and the Northern New York Community Foundation.