Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979

Fall 2008



by Ms. Terry Eason
Executive Director, Low Vision Center

Burr!  I hope that you are all enjoying the debut of autumn.  It came upon us quickly after a lovely summer.  This change of season has brought with it tumultuous times for our nation.  We at LVC have also felt these changes.

Like most of you, LVC has experienced a serious decrease in our funds.  However, the needs of those of you in our community struggling with low vision have only increased.  We are going to spend a moment in this newsletter to discuss ways you can help us continue our work.  We also have some coping suggestions to help you through these difficult times.

You may be saying to yourself, what happened to the Summer 2008 issue of EyePower?  In a cost-cutting measure we have decided to print only three issues this year.  If you or any of your loved ones wish to receive future newsletters via email, please send your email address with "email address" in the subject line to LowVisionCtr@aol.com.  This, too, would reduce our expenses.

In addition, in this issue we have some information about audible pedestrian signals in Montgomery County, used CCTVs for sale at LVC, exciting news about financial assistance for assistive technology and information about free or low-cost vision benefits.  We also have a piece on the first digital library for Spanish-speaking readers and a reminder that you can get inexpensive holiday gift items from LVC.

Finally, we include information about how you can help LVC and coping tips for this economic climate.  We trust you will find all of this useful.

Back to Top

Audible Pedestrian Signals:

Some intersections in Montgomery County are equipped with audible pedestrian crossing signals.  On some models, if you hold down the button for five seconds while it is beeping, it will announce the location of the crosswalk -- for example, "Wait to cross Frederick Road at Redland Road."  This might be helpful if you are looking for a specific cross street and have trouble reading the street signs.

Back to Top

Used CCTVs for Sale:

LVC has ten models of used CCTVs for sale with prices ranging from $250 to $1,500.  There are many styles and manufacturers, both black and white and color models.  All are sold in "as is" condition.  Please call our office at 301-951-4444 for more information.

Back to Top

Financial Assistance for Assistive Technology:

The Association of Blind Citizens offers funding to cover 50% of the cost of adaptive devices and software for eligible applicants.  The products must retail between $200 and $6,000.  To be eligible you must have a family income of less than $50,000, cash assets of less than $20,000, be legally blind and a U.S. resident.  Deadlines for applications are June 30 and Dec. 31 for each grant period (2 per year).  For information and an application form, see blindcitizens.org/assistive_tech.htm.

Back to Top

Free or Low-Cost Benefits:

National Visually Impaired Registry (www.theNVIR.org) advises that the Heritage for the Blind will provide a counselor to assist you in getting free and low-cost benefits provided by an array of government and non-profit agencies in your area.  Call 1-888-225-5542 for more information.

Back to Top

First Digital Library for Spanish-Speaking Readers:

Tiflolibros is the first digital library for Spanish-speaking blind and visually impaired readers.  Created in 1999 by a group of blind friends who wanted to exchange digital books, the library now has more than 20,000 books available in Spanish and more than 3,000 patrons in America, Europe, and Asia.  Registration is free, but there is a recommended donation of $50 every six months to support the library's operation.  To register, send an e-mail to tiflolibros@tiflolibros.com.ar.  For more information, visit www.tiflolibros.com.ar.

Back to Top

Methods of Giving to the Low Vision Center:

There are many different, exciting, and thought provoking forms of giving, both at holiday time and year end, all of which are tax deductible.  Standard direct donations are always the easiest, but if you find yourself short of cash and still wish to help us continue our mission of service to those struggling with low vision, perhaps you could consider giving securities.  Donations of stocks, bonds or shares in mutual funds are always appreciated.  *Depreciated stock can be sold, claimed as a loss on your taxes, and the cash donated to LVC can be used as a charitable deduction.  Business gifts of materials, services, cash, or even equipment (we are currently in desperate need of a copier and a printer) are valued too.  Life insurance and property can also be donated.  Many donors have used the Matching Gifts Program of their current or former employers.  This enables LVC to get additional funds as well.  If you are worried about not having enough money to live on these days, consider leaving a bequest to the Low Vision Center in your will.  And finally, if you wish to make your donation by credit card, you can use the "Support LVC" button
About donations to LVC
on our website www.lowvisioninfo.org.  Remember that the Low Vision Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and all gifts are tax deductible.  (*Always check with your tax accountant or financial advisor.)

Back to Top

To Recognize Your Support:

LVC does not charge for its services; the money you donate is what keeps our doors open.  We would love for the world to know of your generosity, and so we have created our web page sponsorship program.  In recognition of your annual contribution of as little as $100, we will list you or your business as a sponsor on the page of your choice on the LVC web site.  The listing may be a hyperlink to your own web site if you wish.  For details, see our web site at www.lowvisioninfo.org/donors.htm#w or email us at LowVisionCtr@aol.com.

Back to Top

Coping Tips:

In an article "Coping in Times of Financial Trial" by Carrie Hill, PhD, we have learned some tips that we would like to share with you.  According to Ellen Rogin, president of the financial planning company Strategic Financial Designs in Northfield, Illinois, here are some suggestions:
  1. Unclutter your mind by uncluttering your financial records.
    Having all your paperwork organized can reduce stress and give you a sense of control over your finances.
  2. Avoid information overload.
    Find a balance between staying informed and becoming bogged down with negative information.
  3. Devise a plan.
    It is a good idea to hold a family meeting, whether in person or through long-distance technology, or bring in an outside professional to help you manage your financial affairs.
  4. Manage your belief system.
    If we focus on strengths, such as our diligence and our ability to be organized and ask the right questions, we are more likely to make good decisions.
(Source: Managing a Financial Crisis on Your Caregiving Journey. Ellen Rogin on Denise Brown's Your Caregiving Journey, October 3, 2008.)

Back to Top

Farewell Dear Friends of LVC:

We would like to take a moment to express our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Don Coupard, husband of our former president, Pat Coupard, and long-time supporter of the Low Vision Center.  In addition we have lost from our LVC family, Barbara Dahlman, a longstanding board member and dear friend.  Our organization will surely miss both of these wonderful people.  We offer our condolences to the many people who miss them as we do.

Back to Top

Holiday Gifts from LVC:

Do not forget that the Low Vision Center has many low-cost items for sale that might help the person in your life who is struggling with low vision.  Perhaps bold lined paper and bold pens would be the right holiday gift this year? Or maybe a talking watch or a talking clock would be a useful gift? LVC is happy to send these items to your family or friends.  The order form included in this newsletter can be used for your purchases.  Keep in mind that we do not take credit cards so you will have to send a check with your order.  Also, please remember to allow at least a week for shipping of these items.

Back to Top

"Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."

-- Anonymous

Back to Top