Braille Institute celebrates orientation and mobility month for people living with vision loss
PALM DESERT — Braille Institute Coachella Valley is raising awareness of Orientation & Mobility (O&M) through the month of October for their students and the entire Coachella Valley community. In addition to free online workshops, Braille students are encouraged to participate in Braille Institute’s Second Annual Virtual Move-A-Thon, running October 1-29 and celebrate White Cane Awareness Day on October 15. More information is available at BrailleInstitute.org/coachellavalley or by calling 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553).
Braille Institute’s Second Annual Virtual Move-A-Thon is an opportunity for the visually impaired community to participate in physical activity in a healthy and fun way. Virtual Move-A-Thon students will set personal movement goals and may participate from anywhere including indoors or activities that take place outside. All activities are welcome, including walking, running, dancing, jumping rope, or any other physical activity that the participants can imagine. Participants are encouraged to involve their four-legged friends when possible.
Move-A-Thon participants will record their time spent moving daily, beginning October 1 through October 29, at 12.00 pm PDT. Registration is open to individuals, their friends, family, or even neighbors. Register at BrailleInstitute.org/om. Everyone who registers will receive a free visor. The top two individuals in each age-group that log the most time (in minutes) will receive a White Cane for First Place, and a gift card for Second Place.
Braille Institute will also offer an array of free online workshops and events focused on everything that has to do with O&M, designed to be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s home. These workshops include Coachella Valley Transportation Access and Rideshare Program, How to Use the Lazarillo App (an intelligent application for the blind and visually impaired which guides users through their city and building environments using real-time voice messages; this workshop is also available in Spanish), Am I Ready for the White Cane?, Real Talk: Interview with Visually Impaired Athletes, White Cane Awareness Day, Protective Techniques, and even one entitled “So You Want to be an Orientation and Mobility Specialist?”
“Orientation and Mobility month is an opportunity for us to encourage our visually impaired students to continue to include daily movement in their lives,” said Amy Sand, Regional Manager of Braille Institute Coachella Valley. “Whatever activity our students choose for Orientation and Mobility month, they will be sure to be more active. We look forward to having as many students as possible join us in this healthy and fun way to promote physical activity among the visually impaired community, especially during a global pandemic.”
How to Participate in the Move-A-Thon
Braille students may register for the Move-A-Thon at brailleinstitute.org/event/move-a-thon-kick-off. Students may post and track their daily time (minutes) and participate from anywhere. Daily movement activities must be recorded beginning October 1 through October 29, at Noon PDT. A Virtual Finish Line Event will be held on Friday, October 29, at 1:00 pm PDT to announce those who placed and to celebrate. A link to view the finish line event will be emailed to all Move-A-Thon participants.
In addition to the Move-A-Thon Braille Institute Coachella Valley will also be observing National White Cane Safety Day on October 15. The white cane is a tool of independence for many people who are blind or visually impaired. White canes were introduced in the 1930s as a way of assisting visually impaired pedestrians to travel independently. They also helped motorists identify and yield to people using the white cane, and their use has been protected by law in the United States since that time. The California White Cane Law states that a totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a predominantly white cane (with or without a red tip), or using a guide dog, has right-of-way over drivers of any vehicle approaching them. White Cane Safety Day was established in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson in an effort to raise awareness of people who carry a white cane.
White Cane safety tips for people who are sighted include stopping a vehicle at least 5 feet from a crosswalk. Pedestrians who are blind may use the sound of your engine to locate crosswalk boundaries. If any part of your car is in the crosswalk, a blind person may misjudge the safe area. Drivers are asked to avoid honking at individuals using a white cane. People who are blind have no idea why you are honking. It is okay to ask if assistance is needed. Ask the blind or visually impaired person permission before trying to assist, unless it is an emergency. If the person asks you to help guide them, offer your arm. They will hold your arm just above your elbow to follow your path.
For more information on any of this, click here.
About Braille Institute
Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization that has been positively transforming the lives of those with vision loss for more than100 years. We offer a broad array of programs and services, all free of charge, at seven centers and hundreds community outreach locations in Southern California, thanks to the support of donors, volunteers, and staff members. Braille Institute serves more than 20,000 people of all ages annually, and demonstrates that vision rehabilitation is a beginning, not an end.
- Move-a-Thon: Braille Institute
- Braille Institute students: Braille Institute