Vol. 10 No. 4 — Fall 2009
Message From the President
Kirk Adams, President and CEO — The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.
The signs of autumn are all around us. The leaves have begun to turn, children have returned to school, and there’s a new crispness in the air. Just as the fall marks a new school year, it also marks the beginning of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.’s new fiscal year.
As we gear up for FY 2010, I’d like to recognize the outstanding accomplishments made possible this year by Lighthouse employees, trustees, volunteers, and donors:
We began construction on a second Base Supply Center (BSC) location at Fort Lewis providing access to quality Lighthouse-made products to military personnel. The new Fort Lewis BSC will open this fall!
We continued to upgrade our machining equipment to the latest cutting-edge technology while ensuring job access for blind and Deaf-Blind machinists through screen-reading technology and magnification software. Our first blind and Deaf-Blind personnel were certified as machine set-ups on our Okuma mills this year.
We launched our braille literacy program and our Braille Blazers Reading Club, providing opportunities for braille readers all along the spectrum — from beginner to intermediary — to develop their reading skills.
In addition to these major accomplishments, hardworking staff organized our largest Deaf-Blind Retreat yet! This year, we welcomed over 80 Deaf-Blind people from across the United States as well as international guests from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. You can read more from one of our international guests, Gijs Bruggemann, here.
There are many remarkable aspects to this retreat. One of the most remarkable is the dedication of our volunteers, listed here, who cover their own expenses to support Deaf-Blind participants. Their generous gift of time and talent made the retreat possible.
While reflecting on the accomplishments of this past year, we have much to look forward to in the year ahead. The autumn season begins with National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October and the celebration of National White Cane Safety Day on October 15.
The very heart of our mission centers on providing employment opportunities for people with visual disabilities. Today, the 70% unemployment rate for blind adults remains a sobering statistic. Despite these odds, the Lighthouse stands as a testament to the capabilities and competencies of people with disabilities.
Throughout our organization people with visual and multiple disabilities succeed in jobs as executives, HR specialists, machinists, accounting specialists, production workers, managers, business analysts, IT support, and instructors.
This month, we celebrated the capabilities of blind and Deaf-Blind adults with our second annual White Cane Safety Day event. On October 15, members of the blind and Deaf-Blind communities gathered with city and state officials at the Mount Baker Light Rail Station to observe this special day. The white cane today stands as a symbol for all that blind and Deaf-Blind people have accomplished and continue to accomplish today.
As you can see from the articles in this issue of Horizons, every season brings new opportunities for growth and new reasons to celebrate the accomplishments of our community. To those who support these opportunities and accomplishments through your hard work, your generous gifts of time and resources, and your committed partnerships — I thank you.
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