Insight March 2015

3/5/2015

Welcome to the March edition of “Insight”. This month we’ll recognize National Volunteer Week (April 12-18) with a volunteer of the month, learn about the accessibility of four major Canadian cities thanks to AMI, and get an inside look at the new features on the updated Victor Reader Stream.



AMI explores the accessibility of major Canadian cities in new TV series

AMI_feature.jpgFormer Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan has famously referred to the city as the most accessible in North America – possibly even the world. But, how accurate is this statement? Accessible Media Inc., in partnership with Summerhill Media Inc., ventured to find out in a new four-part documentary series called “Access Unlimited.” Cameras hit the streets of four of Canada’s biggest cities – Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Montreal – to learn about the accessibility successes and shortfalls in each location.

Each 30-minute episode follows three local residents and examines their daily routine – everything from their commute to work, to visiting a local museum, to playing with their kids in the park. Those featured in the episodes are living with either vision loss or mobility restriction that can present a unique set of challenges when navigating their respective city. Episodes will also feature interviews with experts and decision makers including transit officials, politicians and accessibility innovators.

Andrew Morris, Manager of Original Programming for AMI, believes the honest approach of the program will be refreshing for the audience.

“It shines a light on what’s real,” he says. “People are sharing their personal experiences whether they’re good or bad, and giving a detailed account of what it’s really like to live with a disability in a major Canadian city.”

In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, the series will feature embedded described video, integrating natural environmental sounds while interviewees describe actions and surroundings as needed.

By weighing the accessibility successes and challenges, AMI hopes the series will inform residents about accessibility initiatives or lack thereof, inspire those living with a disability to travel and engage in their community, and encourage cities across Canada to be innovative and conscious in terms of accessibility.

From March 23 to 26 “Access Unlimited” will air every night at 8 p.m. beginning with the Toronto episode, followed by Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver. Episodes will also be available with the AMI-player on ami.ca one week after the initial air date. Viewers are encouraged to share their thoughts about the series by emailing feedback@ami.ca.

Visit ami.ca to learn more and to find the AMI-tv channel in your area.  

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Volunteer of the Month: Jehan Gamaa

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Volunteers are at the heart of CNIB’s mission so, in advance of National Volunteer Week (April 12-18, 2015) CNIB would like to thank all of its tireless volunteers for their passion, dedication and commitment to improving the lives of Canadians who are blind and partially sighted in their communities. 

Friendly, supportive, caring and determined; that’s how CNIB volunteer Jehan Gamaa has been described by her colleagues.  An internationally trained Doctor of Ophthalmology with 28 years of experience in the field, Jehan moved to Canada in 2010. Although obtaining her license to practice in Canada is one of her long-term goals Jehan says her true motivation is “to know that she is helping someone.” With this goal in mind she became a volunteer at CNIB in March 2013 where she felt her skills, training and experience would be an asset.

Jehan began her journey with CNIB as a volunteer in the CNIB store where she was keen to learn about the various aids and devices available to clients, and to continue to assist people who are living with vision loss. For Jehan this was a practical way to expand her knowledge while maintaining the one-on-one connection with clients that she craved.

Always eager to be of service, Jehan expanded her volunteer activities and became a Vision Mate volunteer shortly after settling into her new volunteer role in the store. As a Vision Mate volunteer, Jehan was able to make a difference in the life of a CNIB client on a weekly basis. After only a few sessions,  Jehan’s Vision Mate client was already describing Jehan as, “a very nice person” and said she “really enjoyed the walks they took together to the mall and the time they spent together each week” adding that she was “very happy with Jehan as her volunteer.”

As a lifelong learner, Jehan expanded her education in 2014 when she obtained a diploma in Medical Office Administration. To provide much needed support in the reception area at the London CNIB office, Jehan joined the CNIB administrative team as a volunteer reception assistant. Always brimming with exuberance and an ever-present smile, Jehan embodies the spirit of client service and teamwork.

Continually on the search for new opportunities to be of service, Jehan began providing assistance to her local Low Vision Specialist with follow-up calls and updating client files. She is also currently collaborating with staff on a new project to assist with coordinating information sessions for clients as part of CNIB’s new Pathways process.

As a new Canadian, internationally trained doctor, student, wife and mother, Jehan is no stranger to hard work and perseverance. As a CNIB volunteer, she has put her lifelong passion for helping people living with vision loss into practice. During National Volunteer Week (April 12-18), we are reminded of the positive impact that volunteers like Jehan bring to CNIB and we give our thanks for their generous gift of time and dedication.  CNIB wouldn’t be able to do what we do if it wasn’t for our dedicated and passionate volunteers who selflessly put in hours of their personal time to improve the lives of Canadians who are blind and partially sighted.

Find out about volunteering with CNIB at cnib.ca/getinvolved.

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Tech Access: The New Victor Reader Stream

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For years, the Victor Reader Stream has been a popular device for Canadians who are blind and partially sighted. It allows readers to access audiobooks in a number of formats, including DAISY books, and provides readers with a user-friendly interface and positive reading experience.  But HumanWare, the Victor Reader Stream manufacturer, is always looking for ways to make it better and they’ve done it again!

“Wireless access to Bookshare and Wikipedia; wireless access to the CNIB Library and the ability to enjoy online podcasts have been among the most popular requested features. We’re delighted to bring them to the Victor Reader Stream and in a way that users will find to be both easy and enjoyable,” says Matthew Janusauskas, Humanware’s technical product manager.

New features include:

Access to music, news or sports from anywhere in the world
With the new device, you can access over 36,000 radio stations around the world. Finding the stations you want is easy with useful functions like searching by the station's name, browsing by genre, and easily saving stations to your favourites list. Want to get started even faster? Try HumanWare's suggested playlists.

Online reference tools
You can now use the power of popular online reference tools like Wikipedia and Wiktionary anywhere you go. Get a brief synopsis with the option to return to the book, or read the full article; or get a quick definition of the word you're on. And even use the same familiar DAISY navigation features to read the articles. You can even save articles into the new reference bookshelf to read offline.

Rich media content from your favourite sources
Imagine having the latest editions of your favourite newspapers and magazines in your hand every morning. You can now browse books on Bookshare by title, author, category, most popular and then download the book with a single key press. The Stream also plays content from Audible.com and iTunes.

For information on the Victor Reader Stream and to purchase your own unit, visit shop.cnib.ca.

SPECIAL OFFER: For limited time, obtain a FREE pair of Aftershokz bone conductor headphones with the purchase of a new Victor Reader Stream (Configured) - a $75 value.

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Victor_Reader_shopCNIB.jpgShop CNIB

Victor Reader Stream Audio Player (Configured) - $369 

The Victor Reader Stream is a portable, handheld audio player that plays DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) books, MP3, MP4, EPUB and other media formats at the touch of a button.

Click here to order the “Victor Reader Stream (Configured).” To browse hundreds of other Shop CNIB products for everyday living, visit one of our 20 stores across the country, visit our webstore or call the CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642 to order a free catalogue.

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For any special occasion, honour a loved one with a gift to CNIB

Why not give a present that makes a difference? A CNIB gift in honour of someone you care about makes a difference in the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted, helping them lead active, independent lives. Your donation helps us change lives every day.

Donate today!

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Note: The information provided in this article is for awareness purposes only, and should not replace the expertise of an eye doctor. CNIB recommends that you visit your doctor of optometry regularly for thorough eye exams, up-to-date medical information and advice tailored to your own unique vision health and family history.

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