Adjusting to vision loss as an individual or a family is not easy. However, knowledge and planning is key for a brighter tomorrow. Armed with the right resources, one can achieve great things. Club VIBES believes it is very helpful to learn from volunteers who have direct knowledge of vision services, available technology, and adaptive techniques. Equally important is facilitating an environment suitable for learning together with peers who fully understand the effects vision loss has on one’s lifestyle. There are three components to the services of Club VIBES. They include mentoring to the blind/visually impaired, support for the parents/guardian, and social/recreational opportunities.
Component 1: For the blind/visually impaired
Club meetings are held for selected members and their families to learn through the mentoring of visually impaired/blind professionals. The following list includes some of the lessons provided to young members:
- What resources are needed to live safely, confidently and independently.
- Skills needed to live alone like shopping, cooking, etc.
- How technology can be used or adapted to live independently.
- What helpful services are available and how to access them.
- What transportation options are available and how to access them.
- Identifying and dealing with awkward social situations.
- Developing future employment skills.
- Getting into college or graduate school.
- Addressing the major issues one faces in a sighted world.
Component 2: For the parent/guardian
Raising a child is always challenging, but when your child is blind or visually impaired, the challenges are even greater. The most important thing you can do for your child is be involved with and facilitate their transition toward independence. Club VIBES offers the opportunity to share with other parents in the same situation and learn from parents who have been in your position. In addition, there is the opportunity to speak with successful blind/visually impaired adults as well as consult with professionals working in the field.
Component 3: Recreation
Club VIBES also offers a Recreational component which includes special events such as bowling and social dinner outings. Some of these activities involve members incurring the cost for their own expenses. In October 2010 Club VIBES launched a new outdoor recreation program which currently includes monthly hiking and tandem biking excursions. Club members are paired with experienced hikers or tandem pilots, allowing volunteers to share recreational and fitness activities with those whose vision loss would otherwise restrict them from safely navigating outdoor terrain or piloting a bike. All fitness levels are welcome and all sporting equipment is provided by the Club.