National Rollout: Currency readers became widely available to all U.S. citizens, or persons legally residing in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired, on January 2, 2015.  Individuals interested in receiving a currency reader through the U.S. Currency Reader Program must submit an application, signed by a competent authority who can certify eligibility. Applications, available in English and in Spanish, can be downloaded here.

For complete information on this program, please click here to visit the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing website.

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On June 12, teams of Knoxville area teenagers took to the buses to compete in a city wide scavenger hunt organized by the Knoxville Area Transit (KAT). The goal was for local youth to learn about public transportation. The teams had a list of places they had to visit and were competing for prizes awarded to the fastest teams. Two Club VIBES members were among the winners, Joe Tibbets was on the first place team and Mckenzie Ayers was on the team coming in second. The participants had a lot of fun while learning useful lessons about riding buses. Joe Tibbett’s, winner, gives us a first hand report. To watch the WBIR broadcast, click here.

“I got the chance to compete in the KAT scavenger hunt for the first time this year. Originally a friend of mine and I were going to be on a team together, but the day before the hunt took place he had to cancel. I was then placed on another team whose members I knew very well, Madison Curry and Alex Gerkin. They are two of the most organized people I know. Joining their group was easy because they had a plan. We began our day in downtown Knoxville. We stopped by several smaller places such as the candy shop, and we danced to the cha cha slide on the stage in Market Square. From there we ran to the library (we did a lot of running). Then we headed to the sunsphere. Soon after, Madison took one for the team and ran through the fountains. Team Extreme members all got the chance to participate in an activity that gave them the perspective of someone without vision. This part of the hunt was constructed by Club VIBES. For lunch we took a bus over to West Town Mall where we found several more opportunities to get points. Before we knew it, we had bused our way to Walmart and Target. We briefly stopped to make a trailer for a movie we had never seen. We looked ridiculous, but it was awesome. We finished the hunt after passing through Volunteer Landing, and stopping by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. During the awards ceremony our team discovered that we had won first place. It was rewarding to know that the day we had spent on buses and in the sun ended with a bang. (Shout out to all the teams who participated, you made this possible).  After the ceremony everyone listened to some good music and had a nice meal in Market Square.”

In an interview with WBIR, Sue expressed the importance of the lessons the scavenger hunt provided. “Experience riding buses is especially pertinent for visually impaired youth who will be unable to drive. We can be socially isolated if you can’t drive. The scavenger hunt, which requires learning the transportation system and bus routes – especially for kids who are legally blind or low vision – provides a wonderful opportunity to get involved in the community and to participate as a team member,” she said.  “KASH provided a  serious lesson – learning to navigate Knoxville on transit. This is exactly what mainstreaming is all about. This is what Club VIBES is promoting. Get out there. Be a part of the community. Be independent. Learn how to get to a job, how to hop a bus, make it to work, be able to be as independent as ever,  just like everybody else,” Sue said.

In August we will roll out new Club VIBES products displaying our name and logo. Included are golf towels, cup holder coasters, and bumper stickers.  More information and photos will be in next month’s newsletter along with ordering information. If you would like to subscribe, click here.

Thank you to AKIMA for awarding Club VIBES a $1000 grant for our tandem biking program! You help keep our wheels rolling.

Sue AKIMA 2015


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