Advocacy Volunteers promoting BlindSquare – Kelowna, BC
In the summer of 2019, four nursing students from the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Okanagan campus enhanced the lives of individuals living with sight loss.
It started when the CNIB Foundation received a grant from the Thompson Okanagan Community Board and TELUS Friendly Futures Foundation to install BlindSquare beacons in businesses in downtown Kelowna. BlindSquare beacons provide verbal descriptions of an area to help people who are blind or partially sighted navigate indoors.
Knowing this would be a large undertaking, Rebekah McCallum, Program Coordinator for Volunteer & Community Engagement with the CNIB Foundation, reached out to the nursing students at UBC.
“As an alum of the program, I knew that the nursing students were required to connect with a not-for-profit organization to help create change in their community,” says Rebekah. “We submitted a proposal that was selected by four students, eager to make a difference.”
The students, Russell Enns, Brian Malcolm, Noemi Stroda and Sierra Sanger, spoke with businesses about why accessibility matters and to promote the importance of BlindSquare. Thanks to their efforts, there are 25 Kelowna businesses equipped with beacons, providing an accessible experience for shoppers with sight loss.
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” explains Rebekah. “We’re happy they had a great experience learning about accessibility and sight loss.”
These beacons are more than just a navigation system, they’re beacons of accessibility and inclusion. Our impact is powered by the generosity of donors and volunteers, as they make sure we have the resources to follow through on our goals and empower those we serve to achieve theirs. Together, we're creating communities where everyone can live, work and play without barriers.
If the UBCO’s nursing students’ story inspires you to consider volunteering for the CNIB Foundation, fill out the application form below.