About Us

This blog is about how the world is viewed by the visual and the visually impaired. The intent of this blog is to bring the two worlds together. It is administered by two fabulous sisters, Toni, who is sighted and Robin, who became visually impaired in 2002 at the age of 18 due to misdiagnosis.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Listen-I Have Something to Say!

“Please listen to what I have to say, because a few minutes of your time, will make my whole day.” I think that a lot of people underestimate how much power one small action, such as listening, can have on a person. When I talk about listening, I mean truly giving the person your undivided attention and understanding the content behind the conversation. There is a difference between hearing and actually listening. Hearing is noticing the sounds around you, but not necessarily paying attention to the meaning behind them, as listening does.
One illustration of active listening that comes to mind, is around four years ago when I was attaining my undergraduate degree. I was engaged in this lecture about listening, which stuck with me. The professor was talking about the grief she felt after her son went missing during a hiking trip. Although, at complete ends of the spectrum, I feel that my professor and I could relate to each other because we both suffered some type of loss that completely changed our lives.
My professor had asked me in class if I knew what helped her to cope with the loss of her son, and I replied by saying, emotional support. My professor said it was having someone to listen to her pain, not the offering of advice, food, etc. At this time, it was four years since I had lost my eyesight, and after listening to what my professor had conveyed, I went home to reflect on my own experiences.
When I began to reflect upon the time that I was losing my vision, I had a great support system who took the time to listen to me by letting me express my feelings. Honestly, I can say the same thing today about my family and friends; they set aside some time to truly take note of what I am saying. As a result, this makes me feel like I always have a shoulder to lean on when I need to.
I consider myself lucky to have several people who listen to me, because not everyone has someone who will pay attention. This is why I make it a point to take the time to pay attention to the people around me, whether they are family, friends, or acquaintances; every person and moment is precious. I pledge each and every one of you to take the time to listen to what the people in your life are saying, because that small moment may make someone’s whole day. Beautifully Blind, Inc. wants to know how the power of listening has impacted your life. Comments are welcomed!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Who We Are...What We Do...

Well after 6 loooong months and tons of paper work Beautifully Blind Inc. has finally received its 501(c)3 designation! In this waiting period Beautifully Blind Inc. has been focused on letting the world know who we are as people, in this blog we will tell you who we are as a business.

Beautifully Blind Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides grants for assistive technology and optic atrophy research. Beautifully Blind Inc. also provides confidential emotional support to those who have lost or are losing their eyesight and their families.

Applications for assistive technology will need to be supported by an assistive technology assessment establishing the requested product meets the client needs. Applications must be accompanied with a recommendation letter from a third party such as a welfare worker, social worker, or a group that supports the blind or similar that can verify the need and financial status. Persons eligible to apply must have a family income less than $50,000.00 and cash assets less than $20,000.00. Previous grant recipients are not assured of future funding. To ensure the grant is used for the intended purpose, grants service will pay the product supplier directly and deliver the product to the recipient via in person at the Annual Gala or mail rather than providing cash grants. Grant applicants must be legally blind and a resident of the United States. The application will be available starting January 1 of every year that funding is available. The deadline to apply will be June 1 of every year that funding is available. Applications for 2011 will be available soon on the website www.beautifullyblind.org.

Optic atrophy or damage to the optic nerve is a widespread eye condition that affects many people across the world. According to the National Institutes of Health, optic atrophy is tissue death of the nerve; ultimately causing permanent blindness. There are many causes that can result in a person being inflicted with this life altering eye condition. Such causes can include but are not limited to poor blood flow, trauma, shock, glaucoma, brain disorders, and sometimes genetics (National Institutes of Health, 2010). If not controlled, optic atrophy can not only diminish a person’s vision, but also the ability to have light perception. There is no current treatment for optic atrophy due to its irreversible nature. Due to the lack of treatment options that are readily available to people with optic atrophy, research is crucial in order for sight to be restored. Currently, in the United States there are several researchers/scientists whose mission is to find methods to rejuvenate the optic nerve. Such research includes stem cells, gene therapy, and implants. The awarded grants from Beautifully Blind Inc. will allow the organization to assist in these research efforts through financial contributions. Beautifully Blind Inc. will award financial assistance to organizations that are making strides in trying to find treatment for optic atrophy. Research will create understanding, and understanding will hopefully one day lead to a cure. Organizations applying for a grant must qualify under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. The organization must have a proposed plan of action and there needs to be a level of collaboration/partnership with others for the benefit of advancing optic atrophy research.

When facing a big loss, such as one’s eyesight, there is a lot of adjustment that a person must make in their daily life. When going through this major adjustment, it can be beneficial to have a person to talk to about your feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Dear Robin is an option where visitors to the Beautifully Blind Inc.’s website have the opportunity to ask questions or make comments. Confidentiality is held to the highest for individuals who choose to write in to the Dear Robin section. Dear Robin serves as a tool to help blind/visually impaired individuals and/or their families cope with vision loss. Visitors have the option to write in through the website, therefore, their information is kept private.

Beautifully Blind Inc. is ready to take on blindness full speed ahead! We want to help in leveling the playing field in all aspects of life of those that are visually impaired. If there is assistive technology that can aid in an individuals life and will make a difference in them becoming self sufficient and independent we want to be able to provide it. Please help and support us by telling your friends, family and communities about us. We are on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beautifullyblind as well as on twitter @BlindBeautiful.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Helen Keller