Newfoundland and Labrador Newsletter


In this Issue:  

Editor's Corner

By Trevor Freeborn  We hope you all enjoy the articles in this edition of the CNIB-NL newsletter. We had an amazing and expansive volunteer team who made our current newsletter a reality. Heartfelt thanks to contributors Courtney Gosse, Yong Ko, Paige English, Amanda Halliday, Kim Thistle-Murphy, Kelly Picco, Margaret Varty and Deborah Wearn.  

If you have any comments, questions, or an opinion you would like to share with the CNIB-NL newsletter team, just contact us by mail at 70 The Boulevard, St. John's, A1A 1K2, fax at (709) 754-2018 or email at

Letter from CNIB-NL

This winter has been an exciting time here at CNIB as we welcomed new staff, launched our new Vision Loss Rehabilitation brand and begin the planning process for our next CNIB strategic plan 2018-2020.

In January, we welcomed Amanda Halliday as our new Coordinator, Community Giving, who will fundraise for programs and services that rely on the generosity of the community; programs such as our summer family camp, post-secondary youth orientation program, or our vision mate program. Amanda comes to CNIB with years of experience working at non-profits and is enjoying getting to know our clients and their families and beginning to understand the impact our programs have on their lives.

In February, Allan Angus arrived from Ontario as our new Specialist, Service Coordination. Allan has a Master of Social Work and completed one of his MSW internships with CNIB in Durham, Ontario. Since completing his degree, Allan has been running a private practice in Ontario providing counselling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups; particularly individuals adjusting to vision loss. Allan also has close to 20 years of community and advocacy experience breaking down barriers for people with vision loss.

In March, we launched our new brand for our professional vision loss rehabilitation services. For nearly a century, Canadians with vision loss have relied on CNIB to provide specialized rehabilitation care. Vision Loss Rehabilitation Newfoundland and Labrador will clearly identify CNIB's professional health services in the area of vision loss; however, the way we deliver services will not change. Our certified specialists will continue to work closely with ophthalmologists, optometrists and other health care professionals, providing essential care on a referral basis where individuals who are blind or partially sighted need it most – in their homes and communities, on the phone, online and at our centres in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor and St. John's.

All the best to you as the snow begins to melt and the rain brings a clean fresh start.  Happy Spring!


Deborah Wearn

Highlight of Staff Member: Jason Rose By Courtney Gosse  

Exciting, rewarding, and challenging; these are the words assistive technology/career employment specialist Jason Rose at CNIB chose when asked to describe his job. Jason enjoys working with clients one on one which he discovered while working within many roles at CNIB. Being an assistive technology user himself, he was always interested in new and interesting software and devices. He enjoys helping others with technology and employment issues.

Before Jason acquired his current position, he worked with the Exploits Valley YMCA and Canada Revenue Agency. In his current role Jason works with people of all ages who are partially-sighted or blind.

When I asked Jason what the best part of his job is his reply was, "After I work with someone and they have the technology they need to use their computer or other devices." Jason enjoys helping others navigate and understand technology better. Jason's least favourite part of his job and probably the most upsetting part is, "When there is no financial assistance for a piece of equipment that you know a person would benefit from greatly."

Jason says the inspiration for his career path comes from his desire to promote education and employment to CNIB clients and to share his knowledge of technology with those who need it.

Inspirational Quote  

"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."  ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations  

CNIB Represented at Memorial University's Disability Justice Fair

By Paige English

CNIB volunteer Kim Thistle-Murphy and Social Work student Paige English represented CNIB at Memorial University's Disability Justice Fair last month. The Disability Justice Fair featured information booths showcasing student groups and community organizations that offer resources, support, advocacy, and activism for all forms of disabilities.  Kim and I set up an information booth displaying brochures about vision loss, vision health, CNIB services, and employment services. We also displayed many low vision aids including different types of magnifiers to demonstrate the technology that individuals with vision loss can use to maximize their vision.   Kim and I had an iPad on display with an app called "iSimulator" which simulated the effects of four common eye conditions by looking through the screen. The eye conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. Individuals at the fair were very intrigued by this app and said it gave them a brand new perspective about vision loss.   Kim also completed an interview with CBC Radio discussing her own experiences with vision loss and the importance of accessibility at school.  

Meet Deon Slaney – Insight into Retinitis Pigmentosa

By Margaret Varty

For those around the St. John's Centre, Deon Slaney is a familiar face. 

In 2009, Deon began working with building management for CNIB St. John's and hasn't looked back since. However, before he began working at CNIB, Deon was a client. Registered from the time he was four, Deon has low vision due to retinitis pigmentosa.

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) causes damage to the retina, the tissue lining the inside of the eye that sends visual images to the brain. There is a strong genetic link to RP, with about 50 genes having been identified as causing the damage. 

As soon as he was old enough, Deon's family took him for a genetic test. The type of RP that he has occurs because an abnormality with the X gene. For it to occur in Deon wasn't unexpected.

About one in 4,000 people have RP. Deon's mother's side of the family has the anomaly. Seven of his nine uncles have RP, and the majority of his aunts are carriers – only having one altered X gene out of two.

For Deon, growing up knowing that there would be a significant change in his vision didn't make it easier. He first noticed changes around grades seven or eight. "I tried to keep it to myself," Deon explained. He was reluctant to reach out for help because, being young, he just wanted to fit in with his peers. With RP, there is a gradual destruction of light sensing cells in the retina, often causing night blindness or a loss of peripheral vision. When playing with his friends, at about 12-years-old, he recalls running into different things. Again, he didn't acknowledge it as being an issue, assuming his sight was the same as all his friends.

This stubborn nature stayed with him through college, when Deon left his home of Lawn, NL. Going to St. John's for college, to become an electrical service technician, he didn't ask for accommodations to help him. After completing his degree, Deon moved to Alberta for a short-term contract, before coming back home to Newfoundland.

As he grew more comfortable with his vision loss, Deon began adjusting his workspaces to account for the change. He first found natural light worked well, and would work outside of the shop setting. From there he progressed to using magnifiers and then on to using brighter lights inside the shop.

Since Deon started with CNIB eight years ago, he has had many opportunities to connect with clients who have similar eye conditions to RP, in a peer support role. He has often found that those around him, especially in the office, are surprised to find out of his low vision because of his level of mobility. Deon says CNIB has opened his eyes to vision loss as a journey, one that he doesn't have to take alone.

Tech Talk Corner - NuEyes Glasses

By Yong Ko  

NuEyes Glasses were developed by NuEyes, a U.S. based company. Using ODG (Osterhout Design Group) smart glasses, originally designed for military use, this portable wearable device can provide 2x ~ 12x magnified vision for people with low vision. It has many features that can help people read, observe and watch TV and movies more easily and conveniently.

It is portable because of its light weight (125 grams, similar to the weight of an iPhone 6) and wireless feature. It provides light and is powered by a battery that has a 2 hour battery life. It also comes with a 10 hour batter pack and a power cable. With a digital camera, it can stream images and store data with 64GB storage. This device can be customized with prescription lenses as well, and with a software update, it can support OCR (Text-to-Speech) feature. That is, this device can read a document to users and stream TV or movies directly to glasses if it is connected to the Wi-Fi. 

Voice activated features make it much easier to use. By saying "Glasses make bigger", users can increase the magnification. If it is hard to use, the main control on the glasses, a Bluetooth controller that can be worn on a finger can help. With Bluetooth controller, magnification, light and contrast can be easily controlled.

There are two products: NuEyes Easy and NuEyes Pro. NuEyes Pro(a newer version), which was expected to be available during late 2016, can support new features such as social media applications, email and internet browsing. By accessing to the full Android platform, it can help users add any android applications to the device.

For more information please visit: For any questions, please contact Jason Rose, CNIB's Assistive Technology Specialist at 709-754-1180 ext. 5810  

Highlight of CNIB Client and Volunteer - Kelly Picco  

I was first diagnosed with Optic Atrophy at the age of 7. My parents weren't the type to hold me back while growing up. I was often out with my friends swimming, riding bikes, going out to parties/dances and many other activities that a young person would take part in while growing up in a small community.

When I finished high school I knew right away that I wanted to further my education and go to university. I stayed home my first year and took transfer courses at the college of the north Atlantic before I made the move into St. John's. After growing up in such a small community on the south coast of Newfoundland, moving into the city was a huge adjustment. With great friends and wonderful support from my family the transition went quite well and I started a new independent life attending Memorial University in St. John's. 

I began university by pursuing an Education degree but gained a strong interest in Sociology and ultimately graduated last year with a Sociology degree. With help from CNIB, close friends and awesome family, I have been working full time since I completed university and I am currently working as an Adaptive Technology intern at CNIB. 

It has been a great experience and a great learning curve that I am beyond happy I took part in. Along with the move to St. John's and going to university, I have met a number of the best friends I will ever have and I have met many others who live their life each and every day as a partially-sighted person.

Inspirational Quote

"The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy."   -      Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

CNIB Fundraising Highlights

By Amanda Halliday - Coordinator of Community Giving 

Questions and Answers with Amanda

Three words to best describe you? Energetic, Funny, Organized.

What aspect of your role at CNIB do you enjoy the most? All of it! I love planning events, meeting new people, researching, exploring new opportunities, saying THANK YOU to supporters, and being able to see the difference that the funds I help to raise make in the lives of CNIB clients. 

What are you most proud of? Completing my Bachelor of Arts degree and my Bachelor of Education degree. 

Tell us a little bit about your family? I have a wonderful husband, a lovely one-year daughter and a very energetic little black cat. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? Spending time with my family; reading; doing yoga; eating good food with good friends.  

Any random facts you could share with us? I was a figure skater and coached professionally for 10 years. I love the colour pink. I enjoy very dark chocolate. I collect copies of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I have about 15 now.  

Dining in the Dark – Raymonds 

On February 9th, CNIB hosted the 6th annual Dining in the Dark at Raymonds in St. John's!  This unique fundraiser changes your perspective of vision loss – awakening the senses, raising awareness and turning the table on society's preconceptions toward living with vision loss and blindness.   A big 'thank you' to our presenting sponsor, Browning Harvey, for the continued support. Many heartfelt thanks to Raymonds and their team for being excellent hosts. As well, thanks to the extraordinary commitment of the CNIB staff and volunteers. 

The generous support of our sponsor, as well as our guests raised funds for the CNIB Family Camp – this year Dining in the Dark – Raymonds raised $19,000 to help send families to camp this summer.

What's Happening?

Paint and Sip Fundraiser

Come join us on Sunday, April 2nd at 1pm in the CNIB multi-purpose room (70 The Boulevard) for a fun afternoon of painting Jellybean row houses on Canvas, in aid of CNIB programming. Admission is $40, and will cover all necessary painting supplies, instruction by NL Artist Bobbi Pike, and coffee or tea.

Bobbi will provide step by step instructions to take you through a session of paint and giggles. You will leave with a fully completed original piece of art, that you did yourself. No previous painting experience necessary and no judgements are made! This is 100$% 'Just for fun'. This event is open to the general public.   To book or inquire, call Amanda at CNIB at 754-1180 ext. 5807. We recommend reserving and pre-paying your seat early, as this event will fill up fast.  

Want to get involved?

Every event, big or small, makes a big difference in the lives of our CNIB family. Community events are a great way for an individual, group or organization to raise money to support CNIB Newfoundland and Labrador.  

If you have an idea for a fundraiser or would like to discuss ways to get involved, please connect with Amanda at 709-754-1180 or

CCB's Camp for Blind and Visually Impaired People  

Our camp starts Aug 13-19 2017 at the wonderful Max Simms Memorial camp in Grand Falls. Our week is coordinated by a volunteer committee of the Canadian Council of the Blind with the wonderful support of Lions NL and CNIB.  CNIB is on hand with techniques, visual display, Orientation and Mobility instruction, discussion groups for the improvement of the lives of people living with vision loss etc.  

The building is fully accessible and the grounds are wonderful for games, shot put, Discus, javelin, Goal ball, swimming, Swings, lawn darts and lots of picnic tables and chairs to sit and chat around with friends old and new. We accommodate 55-65 campers for the week.  

The fee of $280.00 includes meals, games, bingo, dances, darts, Cribbage, discussion groups and lots of fun, conversation and exchange of ideas on many subjects. Something else you will find a lot of is laughter, companion ship and phone calls after the camp is completed if that is what you want.  

Applications can be obtained by e-mail, or printed forms from the manes at the bottom of this info. They are all volunteers. Deadline for completion of application forms, and in the hands of the committee is May 15, 2017.  

Contacts for info include:  

Bartram, Michelle
(camp Coordinator)
Box 35 Pier Postal Sta.
Sydney, NS
B1N 3B1

Mayo, Elizabeth (Camp Committee Member)
P.O. Box 222
Avondale, NL
709-229-7205; 709-687-4463 (C)  

Julian Garniere 709-635-3883
or Darrell Pike 709-632-2686  


The NL Visually Impaired Sports & Recreation Association (NL-VISRA) has recently partnered with the Human Kinetics Dept. of MUN to teach the game of Goalball to Human Kinetic and Physical Education students at MUN.  

Goalball is a Paralympic sport played by blind and visually impaired persons. The object of the game is to roll a basketball-size ball, which contains bells inside, into the opponent's goal while the opposing team tries to block the ball with their bodies. All participants wear eye shades no matter the level of their visual impairment.  

Cords are taped to the floor to create tactile markings on the court.  By feeling the cords with their hands and feet, players can orientate themselves on the court and determine their court position. Goalball is enjoyed in more than 112 countries.   

Goalball is governed internationally by the International Blind Sports Federation and nationally by the Canadian Blind Sports Association. Key rules of the sport:

  • Two teams consisting of six members each, with only three playing at a time, play on a volleyball size court measuring 9 x 18 meters.
  • Marked goals span each 9-meter end line. The court is divided into two team, throwing, and neutral areas.
  • All players must wear eye shades at all times to ensure a fair playing field.
  • A ball must be thrown (rolled) within 8 seconds of coming under control of a player. It must touch the floor before entering the neutral zone of the court.
  • If one player throws the ball to the opponent's end more than two consecutive times, the third time a throw penalty will be called.
  • There are two 12-minute halves with a 3-minute break at a half-time.  

Sport highlights:

Goalball teaches fundamental movement skills such as throwing, passing and receiving. These skills can be transferred to other target and court game. Goalball is a sport that requires teamwork and communication.  

Participating in physical activities like Goalball can improve socialization and the confidence of a student in his/her ability. It requires little equipment to play and is a fun way to teach about disability awareness and empathy.  Because Goalball is played wearing eye shades, students can learn to use other senses, trust others and improve communication skills with their peers. Activities without vision should progress slowly and be held in a safe environment.  

If you as a parent of a visually impaired child feel your child and/or their classmates and school officials will benefit from having this game introduced to the school they attend, please encourage your school officials to contact us at your earliest convenience. The MUN students will be attempting to bring this game to schools in the greater St. John's area early March 2017.  

If you need further information or wish to discuss this or other programs of NL-VISRA please contact: Don Connolly at 726-5975 or e-mail or Nadine Green at 727-1677 or  

Canadian Council of the Blind(CCB) Updates

By Yong Ko, CNIB Volunteer  

Lewisporte and Area (central NL) CCB chapter

The first anniversary of the Lewisporte and area CCB chapter was celebrated on the 28th of February. 

Lewisporte and area CCB chapter is now looking for new members with the ideas and the enthusiasm to organize fundraisers and many other activities such as curling or bowling.  

If you are interested or have questions, please contact Shane Wheeler, president/secretary oe and area CCB chapter at (709)-541-1686 or  

CCB E. A. Baker(St. John's) Chapter

CCB Annual General Meeting will be held at St. John's CNIB's multi-purpose room from 7-9pm on April 17, 2017

Fun Bowling will take place at St. Pat's Bowling from 2-4pm on March 18, 2017.

Payment is 10$ per person. Anyone who is interested in curling, please contact Maurice Colbert at (709)-726-2239

If you are interested or have questions, please contact Nadine Green at (709)-745-6797 or email

Also, check out CCB on Facebook:

E. A. Baker Chapter

Humber Valley/Bay of Islands Chapter 

Lewisporte and Area Chapter

Inspirational Quote

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." 
― Maya Angelou  

Classifieds Section of CNIB-NL Newsletter

Do you have any independent living aids or technology you would like to sell or give away to a fellow newsletter reader, or would you like to put up a wanted ad for one? If so, send us a request by mail at 70 The Boulevard, A1A 1K2, St. John's, fax at (709) 754 2018 or email at 

We Are Here for You - Contact Us

St. John's Office 70 The Boulevard A1A 1K2 (709) 754-1180  

Grand Falls-Windsor Office 1A O'Neill Avenue P.O. Box 442 A2J 2J8 709-489-6515  

Corner Brook 3 Herald Avenue, 1st Floor A2H 4B8 709-639-9167  

Happy Valley-Goose Bay 49 Grenfell Street A0P 1E0 709-896-8302  

Call Toll Free to all offices: 1-800-563-2642

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