The phrase 'Make A Difference' on a paper note, pinned to a cork board.

Tis' the season for giving. AFB is so very thankful to all of you who support our mission to remove barriers, create solutions, and expand possibilities so people with vision loss can achieve their full potential. This holiday season, consider participating in #GivingTuesday—a campaign to create a national day of giving on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday—by making a donation to AFB. Your simple gesture of generosity will make a huge difference to someone whom you may never meet, but whose life will be forever improved because of it. More than that, by helping us help so many, you are part of a wonderful ripple effect that creates profound and positive changes for people with vision loss, their families, and the professionals who serve them.

With this in mind, here are 10 reasons to give to AFB. Your donation will:

  1. Help support AFB's mission, which is to remove barriers, create solutions, and expand possibilities so people with vision loss can achieve their full potential.
  2. Allow FamilyConnect, a joint online resource of AFB and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, to continue its cause of giving families a place to support each other, share stories and concerns, and find resources on raising a child with a visual impairment from birth to adulthood. Consider: Nearly half a million U.S. children under the age of 18 have vision difficulty. Research shows that parents of children with visual impairments often feel isolated, but find connection, information, and support online.
  3. Continue the services of CareerConnect, AFB's employment information resource for jobseekers who are blind or visually impaired. Consider: The number of unemployed people who are blind or visually impaired is approximately 63%, and in a 2012 survey, 73% of participants agreed that CareerConnect's Job Seeker's Toolkit provided information and resources not available anywhere else!
  4. Continue the work of VisionAware, a web resource for adults newly diagnosed with vision loss, which helps allay fears and gives people the information and resources needed to maintain independence and continue living a full life. Consider: Among U.S. adults aged 40 and older, the National Eye Institute estimates that 4.5 to 5.5 million individuals are blind, have low vision, or experience age-related vision loss; in addition, low vision and blindness increase significantly with age, particularly in people over 65.
  5. Support AFB Tech's innovative work. AFB Tech is dedicated to making technology accessible to people with vision loss. A highly trained staff evaluates mainstream and assistive technology and collaborates with industry leaders to ensure the latest products—from smart phones to diabetes monitoring devices—meet the needs of blind and visually impaired consumers. Consider: Over 51 million computer users are likely to benefit from the use of accessible technology due to mild difficulties/impairments. For those with vision loss, assistive technology (specialty hardware and software products such as screen readers or voice recognition) is a necessity to use computers, cell phones, or other consumer products.
  6. Continue the efforts of AFB's Public Policy team. AFB's Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., collaborates with policy makers in the Executive Branch and Congress to ensure Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to participate fully in society. AFB's advocacy strategy is backed by a policy team that conducts and analyzes research related to vision loss. Consider: Although great strides have been made in fighting discrimination based on disability, significant barriers still stand in the way of equal access.
  7. Help maintain the services provided by the AFB Center on Vision Loss, a unique demonstration and information center dedicated to helping people with vision loss find the resources, help, and support needed to continue living healthy, independent lives. Consider: Currently, 6.5 million Americans age 65 and older report experiencing significant vision loss. Further, over the next 20 years, as the baby boomer generation ages, rates of vision loss due to degenerative eye disease are expected to double.
  8. Fund the digitization of the Helen Keller Archives. Helen Keller bequeathed an extensive personal collection of approximately 80,000 items to AFB upon her death in 1968. The collection includes contracts, correspondence, speeches, manuscripts, photographs, news clippings, artifacts, audio and film recordings, as well as a personal library of over 250 volumes. Consider: Digitization has provided accessibility without deterioration or risk. AFB now hopes to do the same to the thousands of documents in the archive, so that future generations can continue to learn about one of the greatest historical figures of the 20th century.
  9. Educate professionals in the blindness field. Through AFB Press and eLearning, AFB provides accessible, affordable, and authoritative webinars, courses, and continuing education credits, as well as the leading textbooks in the blindness field. Consider: AFB Press produces more college-and university-level texts and books for professionals on the topic of visual impairment than any other publisher in the world.
  10. Send a Helen Keller e-card to a loved one! Upon making a donation to AFB, you will have the opportunity to send a personalized note to the recipient of your choice. Consider: Making someone close to you smile.

Those are just a few of the ways your support helps AFB. Remember, AFB depends on people like you to continue our work on behalf of people with vision loss. The majority of our funding comes from individual donors, not from corporate sponsorships, so your support is essential to our success. As we approach this #GivingTuesday December 3, please consider making a donation to AFB—such support keeps our programs running, creating new solutions to help blind and visually impaired people of every generation lead productive and fulfilling lives.

To make a donation to AFB (and send a friend or loved one a Helen Keller ecard), visit: www.afb.org/ecards

"Make a Difference" photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Author AFB Staff
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