Insight E-Newsletter - April 2011

Welcome to the April issue of Insight! This month, we give thanks to some of our generous sponsors of Vision Health Month, which kicks off this May. Next, we look at ways you can get involved in this May’s federal election, and profile the unique contribution volunteer June O’Sullivan has made to her community. As always, feel free to drop us a line with your feedback at insight@cnib.ca or follow @CNIB on Twitter.



CNIB partners with national and provincial sponsors for Vision Health Month

Shades of Fun logoWe know that knowledge is power in preventing vision loss, and awareness of the early signs and symptoms of eye disease could literally save someone's sight.

During Vision Health Month, which kicks off this May, CNIB is calling on Canadians to take control of their eye health, starting with getting their eyes checked.

To help bring this message to Canadians from coast to coast, CNIB has teamed up with the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO), the Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO), the British Columbia Association of Optometrists, the Manitoba Association of OptometristsPeeks Eyewear, The Weather Network and Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) – all proud sponsors of Vision Health Month 2011.

Among the activities these organizations are supporting will be CNIB’s second annual Shades of Fun day, taking place on May 26, as well as an exciting series of CNIB “Vision Health Moments” – 60-second radio features providing important vision health information and tips to audiences across Canada.

The importance of eye exams, protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays, and other tips on how to save your sight are some of the themes highlighted in this year’s radio spots.

Have a listen to some of this year's Vision Health Moments on our website. Keep an ear out for them coming to a radio station near you in May. Who knows... you might just learn something new!

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CNIB encourages Canadians to get involved in May’s federal election

Image of Elections Canada ballotWith a federal election slated for May 2, CNIB is encouraging Canadians from coast to coast to raise their voices and help put unemployment issues for people with vision loss on the electoral agenda.

“This election opens up a huge opportunity for us to remind key decision-makers about the urgent need to address the employment issues facing Canadians who are blind and partially sighted,” says John M. Rafferty, CNIB President and CEO, “and we’re asking every Canadian to take action and get involved.”

Statistics from 2009 show that 65 per cent of working-age Canadians who are blind or partially sighted can’t find a job, regardless of their educational achievements. Meanwhile, more than half of all working-age Canadians with vision loss earn $20,000 per year or less. This unemployment cost the Canadian economy $886 million in lost productivity in 2008 alone.

“Readily available vision rehabilitation services could reduce these costs substantially,” says Rafferty. “Job seekers who are blind or partially sighted should have the same opportunities for employment as everyone else – and rehabilitation services help these Canadians get the tools, support and skills-training they need to find meaningful employment.”

How can you get involved? You can raise your voice during this federal election by calling your local candidates directly and asking them to stand up for the employment rights of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Ask them to commit to supporting employment programs that will enable these Canadians to find meaningful employment.

“Every Canadian can make a difference in helping to put these issues on the agenda, just by asking questions and getting involved,” says Rafferty.

Click here to send a letter to the candidates in your riding

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Meet June O’Sullivan, CNIB volunteer

Photo of June O'SullivanEvery day, thousands of volunteers offer up their time and skills to support CNIB’s work in communities across Canada. These passionate, dedicated people do it not for the recognition or reward, but to make a difference in the lives of Canadians with vision loss. June O’Sullivan, a dedicated CNIB volunteer, has guilelessly donated her time – with no anticipated reward but to give back to her community.

It wasn’t until a brain hemorrhage left her partially sighted that June, a Belleville resident, realized just how important our work at CNIB really is.

Today, the retired kindergarten specialist is a proud CNIB volunteer who devotes her time to helping children who are blind or partially sighted learn braille.

“Volunteering helps you to grow as much as it helps the person you’re helping,” she says.

To get kids engaged in learning braille – whether they’re blind or partially sighted – June creates her own games with science boards and items from the dollar store. Now her original, hand-made games are an inspiration to her local community.

“I keep trying out new games, and finding ideas that suit all children,” she says.

In fact, June’s games don’t just work for kids – they also help parents get involved in their child’s literacy. For example, while recently teaching braille to a small boy from Trenton, ON, June managed to make the lesson a fun family affair.

“The whole family benefited,” she says. “They were all involved in the games we played.”

June O’Sullivan is just one of thousands of outstanding CNIB volunteers who make our organization work. To celebrate the achievements of our volunteers and thank them for their contributions, CNIB celebrated National Volunteer Week between April 10 and 16th.

Throughout the week, CNIB volunteer appreciation events such as lunches, teas, and film screenings took place across the country. Letters, certificates and awards were also bestowed in recognition of their exceptional work.

We’re proud to empower and give thanks to incredible people like June to help blind or partially sighted Canadians achieve their goals.

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Shop CNIB

Photo of Genesis wrap-around sunglassesProtect your eyes with our stylish shades!

Genesis wrap-around sunglasses, $16.75

More than just a fun wardrobe accessory, sunglasses help protect our eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Our Genesis sunglasses boast the latest streamlined design with wrap-around lenses, adjustable temple arms and front angle, and soft foam strips to ensure a comfortable fit no matter what you’re doing. Shatter- and fog-proof lenses with black frames provide excellent UV and infrared (IR) protection all year long.

Click here for information or to order your Genesis sunglasses today!

Proceeds from this and all Shop CNIB products are invested right back into CNIB support services for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.

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Monthly Giving - Become a Partner in Vision

Photo of a woman hugging a young childFor as little as $10 a month, you can help CNIB empower people to overcome the challenges and isolation of vision loss ensuring they have the confidence, skills and opportunities to actively participate in life – 365 days a year. Become a Partner in Vision today and help us provide direct, one-on-one support for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted in your community.

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