Dorothy watching a close-up live video of backyard birds using a CCTV in her living room.
When Dorothy got connected with the Council, her changing vision due to macular degeneration raised many questions in her mind. She wondered how she would continue to perform daily tasks independently, such as cook and read the newspaper, and she also lamented that her vision changes caused her to give up a hobby she had enjoyed for years: birdwatching.
During an in-home rehabilitation visit, Council staff set up a CCTV connected to a camera pointed at the many bird-feeders Dorothy had in her backyard. Thanks to this technology, Dorothy could once again enjoy watching birds from her favorite chair.
“Birding has been a part of my life since I was a little girl. Being able to see my yard and my birds again is delightful. It is a wonderful way to start conversations,” said Dorothy.
Gifts to the Council help make vision-related dreams come true. To impact the lives of people like Dorothy, visit bit.ly/2quiHiU and give easily and securely.
Thank you for your generosity!
Scholarship recipient Hunter at a restaurant in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Council scholarship recipient Hunter Lemerond reflects that over time, her visual impairment has given her an open-mindedness she believes will help her succeed. Hunter is a junior at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse studying business. She plans to become a buyer for a women’s apparel company after graduation. She recently sat down with Katherine Corbett, Communications Coordinator, for a quick chat about past inspiration, life lessons and dreams.
Katherine Corbett: Why did you decide to attend UW-La Crosse?
Hunter Lemerond: I toured many colleges and I liked La Crosse the most. I made the right choice, and enjoy it immensely.
Katherine: What lessons has your visual impairment taught you?
Hunter: I have learned to have an open mind when it comes to other people and their experiences. There are always many ways to accomplish tasks and overcome challenges.
Katherine: How do you plan to apply those lessons to the rest of your life?
Hunter: This unbiased mindset will help me, especially in the workforce. It is important not to judge people and to keep an open mind, particularly when interacting with those who are different from me.
Katherine: Tell me about a person who inspires you.
Hunter: I would have to pick my Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI), Erin. She did not give up on me, even when I was angry about my vision loss diagnosis. At first, I did not want to hear what she had to say. Over time though, I discovered we could relate a lot because she also has a visual impairment, and she totally understood what I was going through. She has inspired me, because she showed me I want to volunteer in my spare time to help other kids who are visually impaired. I want to be for them what Erin was for me.
Katherine: How does the mission of the Council to promote the dignity and empowerment of the people in Wisconsin who are blind and visually impaired resonate with your own life goals?
Hunter: I would love to help younger kids, so they can develop a positive perspective about their visual impairment from a young age. I definitely want to take time to be a part of the Council and help other kids get a good education. I would like to thank the Council for the scholarship. It has been so helpful for my family and I, and I want to do whatever I can to give back.
Katherine: What is your favorite instrument, sport or hobby? Why?
Hunter: I like to do yoga, because it is time to spend by myself reflecting and exercising simultaneously. I also love to shop, because I love new clothes and fashion.
A group downhill skiing outing offered by BOLD includes members of the BVI community and sighted guides/instructors.
Lions Clubs International has more than 1.4 million members, comprising 47,000 clubs in communities all over the world. Founded in 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, the Lions have undertaken many service activities over the past 100 years.
In 1925, Helen Keller, a deaf-blind speaker, author and activist, addressed Lions at the International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio. In her speech, she challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." This began a century-long mission—impacting hundreds of millions of lives through vision-related work.
Across America, Lions Clubs have continued this work by providing eye screenings to children, working with the University of Iowa to conduct eye research, and providing funding to make astronomy accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired.
Some Wisconsin Lions Clubs serve the blind and visually impaired community by planning and sponsoring events designed with people who are blind or visually impaired in mind. Events are modified by recruiting sighted volunteers to serve as guides for hikes and skiing outings, or bowling events taking place on lanes with rails, making it easier for participants to bowl in a straight line.
The Madison Evening Lions is one of five clubs in the Madison area. More than half of their membership is blind. Their mission is to host activities for the blind and visually impaired community. In the past, they have held a Save Sight Night at the Madison Mallards baseball game, outdoor hiking events and bowling activities.
“There are many people in our club who are blind or visually impaired,” says Lion Ron Fait. “We as a club are excited to draw from their collective experience and plan events the blind and visually impaired community can enjoy.”
The club is hosting an upcoming cross-country skiing event, on Saturday, February 2, 2019, from 12 to 4 p.m. The event will take place at the Odana Hills Golf Course, 4635 Odana Road, in Madison. RSVP by January 23, 2019 and indicate shoe size. To RSVP please email email@example.com or call 608-616-5196.
Wisconsin Lions activities are possible through contributions from Lions, Lioness, and Leo Clubs and individual members. Support is also received from individuals, businesses and family memorial bequests. Lions Clubs in Southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Dodge, Jefferson, Ozaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Walworth counties) utilize their funding to support Blind Outdoor Leisure Development (BOLD).
BOLD’s purpose is to empower people who are blind or visually impaired to experience outdoor sports and leisure activities while developing their social and athletic skills.
“Our events are important because they give people who are blind or visually impaired a reason to get out in the public venue, just like anyone else,” says Lion Ray Tweedale, Wisconsin BOLD President. “The activities we do, such as ice skating, motorcycle rides and tandem bike rides, enrich their lives and give them the chance to do things most people might think they could not do.”
BOLD events are integrated with the sighted community, fostering diversity and building awareness for issues facing people who are blind or visually impaired. Membership in BOLD is free and open to all people who are legally blind. Events are free for BOLD members. Non-members can attend as volunteers or guides.
Two attendees pose for a photo at a BOLD Cross-country skiing outing at Lapham Peak Unit in the Kettle Moraine State Forest in February 2018.
Upcoming BOLD events:
Cross-country skiing*: 12/29, 1/12, 2/9 & 2/23
Downhill skiing**: 1/6, 1/13, 1/20, 1/27, 2/10, 2/17
Lions Day at the Admirals Game: 2/9
*Cross Country ski events are held at Lapham Peak State Park 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lessons and rentals included and lunch is provided.
**Downhill skiing is held primarily at Sunburst in Kewaskum at 5:30 p.m. Lessons, rentals and lift ticket included.
Register as a BOLD VIP to participate. Visit wisconsinbold.com and fill out the contact form.
Haven’t finished holiday shopping yet? Find the perfect gift to slip into the stocking of the blind or visually impaired loved one in your life this holiday season! The Council’s Sharper Vision Store has great items for under $10.
RL404 Hoyle Super Jumbo Playing Cards
Standard sized cards 2¼” by 3½”. Numbers and faces are 1” tall.
Available in-store or at store.WCBlind.org/games.
HL106 Day-Glo Orange Bump Dot Markers
Easy to see and feel self-adhesive raised dots to use on light switches, appliances, and other items. Pack contains 28 dots. In addition to orange, self-adhesive raised dots are also available in black, white and clear.
Available in-store or at store.WCBlind.org/labeling.
HK170 Oven Mitt
The 17” oven mitt covers the hand and forearm. The mitt is flame retardant and withstands temperatures of up to 400 degrees.
Available in-store or at store.WCBlind.org/kitchen.
HK500 Liquid Level Indicator
The EZ Fill hangs on the edge of any container and buzzes when the liquid is one inch from the top. Uses three A76 batteries, included.
Available in-store or at store.WCBlind.org/kitchen.
RF100 The Knotter
The Knotter is a fishing knot tying tool that provides the fastest and easiest way for anyone to tie a perfect fishing knot in seconds. Works on jigs, hooks, swivels, leaders, fly rods and crankbaits. Excellent for low vision, arthritis or shaky hands.
Available in-store or at store.WCBlind.org/daily-living.
For these and many other great gifts, visit our store located at 754 Williamson Street, in Madison. Regular hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Unable to make it during business hours? Hours will be extended on Thursday, December 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Alternatively, shop online at store.WCBlind.org.