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Event supports Individuals with vision impairment

Friday, June 8, many people showed up to participate in the Low Vision Awareness Day event at the Dallas County Health Department.

Thanks to the efforts of William Bowman, CEO of V.I.P and the Visually Impaired People Organization Inc., those with visual impairments were reminded that they are an important part of the community.

Attendees were given the opportunity to meet with a variety of vendors, each providing different technologies and information surrounding them.

Don Whitman, a vendor for Election System & Software, saw this event as a wonderful opportunity to inform the public on voting ballots, supplies and machines for the visual impaired.

“I think it’s important,” Whitman said. “We offer voters assist terminals to assist the visually impaired or those with motor disabilities.”

Michael Self, another vendor, and the Southeast Regional Director of Sales for VFO, provided information visually assistive technology for everyday use.

VFO is a company that provides technology for those who are blind and visually impaired. Technology such as video magnification is useful for those who have trouble seeing small text and images. VFO also offers reading machines and a handheld device similar to that of a smart phone. On it is a camera, which allows the device to be used as a digital magnifying glass.

Maria Melton, an attendee, said that she learned a lot regarding the many technologies available to assist her in her daily life.

“Today, I’ve learned a lot,” Melton said. “First of all, I learned about the voting machine, Will spoke of it, but this is first time I have observed the machine. I’m going to make sure we have these where I live. I was diagnosed with my eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa in 1990; I’ve been living in a visually impaired world ever since 1988.”

According to Bowman, to get the event organized, it took a lot of hard work and connections.

“It took a lot of hard work,” said Bowman. “I’ve been planning this thing since last year. I started talking to people about it, arranged for places and got volunteers to come out.

Tiffany Moore, a volunteer and local educator, said because of her partnership with Bowman, she made sure she was able to attend the Low Vision Awareness Day event.

“I have had a longtime partnership with William and the Low Vision Impairment for about five years. He called me, reaching out for assistance and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it, but I cleared my schedule, so I could be out,” Moore said. “I enjoy volunteering with people, I learn a lot. Even though I’m not visually impaired, it makes me more aware and teaches me how to treat those that are low vision and blind.”

Bowman deemed the event a success, as attendees learned new information and were able to communicate with others who have visual impairments.

“The event today is to bring visually impaired people and let them meet vendors who sell assistive technology, and to create awareness about what it’s like to be visually impaired as well as to show visually impaired people that they are important people in the community,” Bowman said. “I wish there had been more people, but on the other hand, the people that are here will have more one-on-one time with the vendors, so they may get more help than if I had a big crowd of people.”

Satisfied with the turnout, Bowman thanked everyone who participated and helped the event become a great learning experience.

“I’d just like to thank the people who showed up,” he said. “I’d like to thank the people who volunteered to help. I’d like to thank Golden Ranch for giving us a 15 percent discount on our meal, the vendors that came and Dollar General for giving us our gift bags to give away today.”