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. Next door to the YMCA. Come by and visit our new setting and enjoy the warm and caring atmosphere of our staff.
Speaking of our staff, we have a new Executive Director, Olivia Kassoum-Amadou, who is willing to bring many new things to the North Country, such as up-to-date technology, equipment, workshops, educational seminars and self-advocacy programs. We also have on-board with us, Brittani Lamb, Consumer Advocate, Laura Warner, Assistant Director, Tim Monaghan, Support Group Leader, and many volunteers to help us bring new ideas to help those in need of our services.
The Association has an abundance of assistive technology, a devotion of Mr. Storie’s, and will open an assistive technology laboratory for students and adults. This space will allow the association to teach how to use the equipment and show how it can help clients remain independent.
Social interactions will also help the clients further their independence, which is why we will be bringing back the support groups offered in previous years. The groups will participate in recreational activities such as bowling or a movie, as well as partaking in health and wellness courses.
For Mrs. Kassoum-Amadou, the largest obstacle revolves around the stigma from people who are sighted. To fight this stigma, the association will be hosting several speaker’s bureaus where people living with blindness or visual impairment, as well as family members and caregivers, will have the opportunity to share their stories. These presentations will also have interactive demonstrations with audience members,
Lastly, we have changed our name, we are no longer the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Jefferson County but the new Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Northern New York. This will entitle us to expand our services in affiliation with other organizations covering parts of St. Lawrence and Lewis Counties.