AAVL hosts several events during the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) held each July. These events typically consist of a luncheon meeting with guest speaker followed by AAVL’s annual business meeting and a mixer at which members have a chance to socialize and get to know each other.
Due to the corona virus pandemic, the annual ACB convention for 2020 will be held virtually. AAVL will hold virtual meetings during which various speakers will participate. On Monday, July 6, from 1:30 PM until 2:45 PM, AAVL will host a joint seminar with ACB's Rehabilitation Issues Taskforce. From
1:30 PM until 2:15 PM, Lee Nasehi, President & CEO of VisionServe Alliance, the largest consortium of blindness agencies in the country, will explore ways in which we can attempt to fill the ever-growing need for specialized services for seniors who are blind or low vision. From 2:15 PM until 2:45 PM, Lori Scharf, Masters in Social Work and Certified Work Incentive Practitioner, will address Medicare questions. Find out about everything from when a person is eligible to what kinds of benefits can I receive. After a fifteen minute break following the seminar, AAVL will hold a panel discussion from 3:00 PM until 3:30 PM during which Jenine Stanley, Explorer Communications Manager Aira Tech Cor, and Alexa Holland, Enterprise Manager, Gogo grandparent, will talk about how these companies can enhance your independence and quality of life. Following this, from 3:30 PM until 4:15 PM. AAVL will hold an open discussion on the work it is doing on behalf of seniors with vision loss.
AAVL will not hold a business meeting nor elect new officers as it is only authorized to take actions at in person meetings though various reports may be presented.
Doug Powell is preparing a White Paper on current rehabilitation offerings for older blind and visually impaired persons and suggestions for improvements. He hopes to present this for legislative action. He is also preparing recommendations to the Rehabilitation Services Administration in the Department of Education for the need for more rehabilitation specialists and funding to assist older persons under the Older Independent Blind initiative.
In 2019 AAVL hosted a joint luncheon with ACB Rehabilitation Issues Taskforce on July 8 during ACB’s Rochester, NY convention. Mark Reichert, Director of Public Policy, National Disability Institute, spoke on the topic “Upping Our Game for Services to Seniors with Vision Loss”. Reichert, a long-time blindness community advocate, addressed the issue of how to make advocacy efforts more successful.
Following the luncheon AAVL hosted a panel discussion on “Innovations in Services to Seniors with Vision Loss”. The panel talked about new service delivery approaches to meet the complex needs of seniors suffering recent vision loss. Serving this rapidly growing population with the limited resources available is a major challenge and sharing success stories is extremely useful to improve service delivery nationwide. Panelists were Brian Daniels, Director, New York State Commission for the Blind, Albany, New York; Nancy Miller, Executive Director/CEO Visions/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, New York, New York; Sara VanBortel, Assistant Director, Vision Rehabilitation Department, Association for the Blind-Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, Rochester, New York; and Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Director, Older Blind Technical Assistance Center at the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi.
AAVL also hosted a mixer on July 9 for its members and friends. Food and libation were served in a relaxing atmosphere where people could reunite or meet for the first time and share their stories and experiences.
In prior years, AAVL’s speakers have described dealing with becoming blind after age 50, preparing for emergency situations without sight and establishing local organizations to provide social, cultural and athletic activities for people with physical disabilities. AAVL welcomes suggestions for future programs and presentations.