Insight E-Newsletter - August 2011

Welcome to the August edition of Insight! In this issue, we congratulate Winnipeg resident, Tara Miller – winner of our Eye Remember photo contest. Next, we turn our attention to Accessible Media Inc., who are breaking new ground as the world’s largest broadcast reading service. As the summer wraps up, we look back at Lake Joe’s 50th birthday celebration and the remarkable impact it’s had on Canadians with vision loss. Feel free to drop us a line with your feedback at insight@cnib.ca or follow @CNIB on Twitter.



Image of Tara Miller's winning photo entitled "Fortuitous Twilight"Blind Winnipeg resident wins national photography prize

Having vision loss has never stopped Winnipeg resident, Tara Miller, from enjoying the art of photography.

In fact, last month, Miller was announced as the winner of our national Eye Remember photo contest.

Miller’s stunning photo, entitled “Fortuitous Twilight,” captured the attention of CNIB’s celebrity photographer judges, who were not aware the entrant had any vision problem whatsoever, let alone having only 10 per cent vision in her left eye.

Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer, the Eye Remember photo contest is designed to educate Canadians about the importance of detecting glaucoma early in life and to remember to be proactive about their vision health.

Miller’s photo, which was voted to win by more than 2,000 Canadian users on the contest’s website, was one of 128 submissions by people who are sighted, partially-sighted and blind across the country.

Miller, who began to lose her vision to glaucoma in childhood, says she takes photos by using what little sight she has to plan and frame the shot. Once shooting is complete, she hooks her camera up to a large 27-inch monitor and blows the image up to 200 per cent so she can see the results.

“People with vision loss can do the same things as sighted people, but just in a different way,” says Miller.

As the contest winner, Miller and a guest will be heading to Quebec City, Quebec, later this year for a free weekend hotel stay and an opportunity to explore and photograph the historic city.

As a CNIB client who has taken advantage of many of the charity’s rehabilitation services for Canadians with vision loss, Miller says she has learned the skills she needs to live independently despite her blindness. Working one-on-one with CNIB’s specialists, Miller learned to travel on the bus independently, use a computer, and take care of her home and family.

“I am so proud of myself for my abilities and I thank the staff at CNIB for helping me,” says Miller.

Otherwise known as the “silent thief,” glaucoma usually progresses slowly and painlessly; therefore, it’s possible to have glaucoma without noticing any symptoms or major changes to your eyesight. Glaucoma is the second most common case of irreversible vision loss in seniors and affects more than 250,000 Canadians.

To see Tara Miller’s winning photo, please visit eyeremember.ca.

To learn more about glaucoma and its risk factors, visit eyeremember.ca.

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AMI brings accessible media to all Canadians

Image of AMI logoWhat if all media was fully accessible? Newspapers, magazines, TV, social networking tools – what if they were all as readily available and easy-to-use for Canadians with vision loss as everyone else?

If AMI keeps doing what they’re doing, they soon will be.

“We firmly believe that people who are blind or have low vision should have the same access to media as everybody else,” says Peter Burke, Vice President of Marketing and Programming at AMI. “And really that’s what our mission is: to be the leaders in making media accessible for all Canadians.”

Otherwise known as Accessible Media Inc., AMI is a Canadian not-for-profit accessible media enterprise with two commercial-free television channels at its heart: VoicePrint and TACtv (The Accessible Channel). And day-by day, they’re revolutionizing the way people with vision loss experience the small screen.

Available to all Canadians through basic cable, satellite or online, VoicePrint is the world’s largest broadcast reading service. Each day, more than 600 volunteers work to bring VoicePrint to life, reading and recording articles from the nation’s leading newspapers and magazines.

Over the course of a single week, the VoicePrint team produces and broadcasts an incredible 125 hours of new current events programming, available to more than 10 million Canadian homes.

In fact, the team is so efficient that if a story hits newsstands at five o’clock Monday morning, listeners will hear it on VoicePrint not only that same day, but likely by the time they’ve sat down to breakfast.

“Basically by 7:30 or 8 a.m., you’re hearing the key stories of the day, straight out of the ‘Globe and Mail’ and major newspapers,” says Burke

Meanwhile, AMI’s entertainment channel, TACtv, is available through digital cable or satellite. In addition to offering closed captioning for people with hearing loss, TACtv has the distinction of being the world’s first and only 24-hour described video channel, allowing users who are blind to keep up with plotlines thanks to a voice-over narration of the action.

“A second script is written and then narrated. Then that recording is sort of mixed carefully in with the original audio,” explains Burke. “We always make sure that the description doesn’t override the existing audio in the program.”

The described programming line-up on TACtv runs the gamut from top Canadian TV hits like “Corner Gas,” “Being Erica,” “Flashpoint” and “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” to recent Hollywood blockbusters and TV classics like one of the channel’s most popular staples, “Perry Mason.”

But in addition to its entertainment programming, TACtv also produces its own original television content, designed to reflect the blind and partially sighted community that makes up its audience.

For instance, an original 13-week series about accessible technology is slated to air on TACtv this spring, and the channel’s original news segments – featuring mostly blind or partially sighted reporters – also cover issues pertinent to Canadians with vision loss.

Now celebrating their 20th anniversary, the team at AMI looks forward to a barrier-free Canada for people with vision loss – one in which accessible programming like that of TACtv and VoicePrint is not the exception, but the norm. According to Burke, it’s all about having an equal opportunity to be a part of society and culture.

“Our hope is that [people with vision loss] will be able to enjoy the same kind of movies and entertainment programming that everyone else gets to enjoy,” he says. “We want them to have those water cooler conversations about what’s going on.”

Beyond the television landscape, AMI is also working hand-in-hand with other broadcasters and media organizations to create a more accessible future for all media in Canada, from social networking tools, to smartphones, to online resources and everything in between.

To learn more about AMI or find out how to access TACtv or Voiceprint in your area, visit ami.ca.

The team at AMI is always eager to receive feedback to make their programming better, so drop them a line at feedback@ami.ca or call 1-800-567-6755 if you have any comments or suggestions.

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CNIB celebrates Lake Joe’s 50th birthday!

Image of Lake Joe 50th birthday logoOn August 20th, CNIB hosted the 50th birthday bash for Lake Joseph Centre in beautiful Muskoka, Ontario.

The fully accessible lakefront facility provides a unique blend of recreation and vision rehabilitation through a wide range of summer programs for people of all ages and varying degrees of sight. More than a summer camp, Lake Joe is a place where people with vision loss develop new skills, make friends, learn new activities, and can be themselves in a safe, friendly environment.

To celebrate this milestone birthday and the ongoing legacy of this facility, we joined past campers, staffers and donors for fun, sun, food, beverages and activities for the whole family. Party goers and donors also showed their support by purchasing personalized bricks to help us build our Pathway to Independence – a walkway leading up to the entrance of Lake Joe that signifies the inspiring journey of CNIB clients.

One-week packages at Lake Joe include meals served daily, shared accommodations, on-site programming (canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing and sailing), daily scheduled land and water activities, and evening programs. For more information, visit us at cnib.ca/lakejoe.

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Photo of 3X stand page magnifierShop CNIB

Stand page magnifer, an ideal gift for the book lover - $19.95

Perfect for reading books, newspapers, maps, and more, this 3X stand page magnifier comes with a convenient leg stand that keeps the lens at optimum distance for perfect focus. A Fresnel magnifying lens captures more oblique light from its source, allowing for greater visibility at a distance.This must-have magnifier measures 10.75 X 7.50 inches, with legs that fold up for easy storage and effortless travel.

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Monthly Giving - Become a Partner in Vision

Photo of a woman hugging a young childBy giving as little as $10 a month, you can provide CNIB with sustainable funds to provide programs and services, like Lake Joe, to people with vision loss. Become a Partner in Vision today and help us empower these Canadians with the confidence, skills and opportunities to build meaningful careers, with services covering everything from résumé writing, to computer training, networking and travelling to work safely.

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