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888.335.5951
803.898.8731

1430 Confederate Avenue
P. O. Box 2467
Columbia, S.C. 29202
publicinfo@sccb.sc.gov

News

SC Commission for the Blind to host First Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Career Exploration Week for blind students in the state

(Columbia,SC)-The South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB), will host the First Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Career Exploration Week for blind students in the state, June 19th – 23rd 2017. The STEM Career Exploration Week will be held at the SC Commission for the Blind’s headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina.

During the week, blind students will explore career options in professions that advance the understanding of our planet and universe. A team of Physicists, Engineers, and Scientists will work with blind students in exploring STEM careers using tactile 3-D prints of the universe and nebula. The team includes scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, San Jose State University, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the International Astronomical Union, among others.

“The Commission for the Blind is very excited to host the STEM Career Exploration Week and these scientists. Our program is a model program for students who are blind to explore meaningful careers in science and mathematics,” stated Kyle Walker, Director of Consumer Services at the Commission for the Blind.

All STEM professions include people who are blind who excel in their careers and who have contributed greatly to society. For example, Dr. Wanda Diaz-Merced is a blind physicist who is conducting research on cataclysmic stars using sonification techniques that allow her to listen to the universe. Dr. Diaz-Merced will participate in this year’s STEM camp using the latest distance training technology.

STEM careers are great options for blind students who are curious about their world, but how do they explore these options in South Carolina?

The South Carolina Commission for the Blind’s Career Exploration Lab, located in the Ellen Beach Mack Rehabilitation Center in Columbia, South Carolina, is equipped with the most advanced 3-D printer technology and accessible design hardware and software. The lab provides tactile learning experiences in many careers such as STEM, manufacturing, microenterprise development, product design, marketing, and many others.

Students Across State to Compete in Braille Challenge

(Columbia, SC) --On February 2, 2017, approximately 54 students from across the state will gather at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind in Columbia to compete in the 2017 Braille Challenge.

The Braille Challenge is an academic competition for students with visual impairments. The Braille Challenge contest categories include reading comprehension, braille speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling and reading tactile charts and graphs. This contest is designed to motivate blind students in a challenging yet fun-filled atmosphere.

The South Carolina Braille Challenge is one of 46 participating affiliates from throughout the United States and Canada.  The 50 highest scoring contestants nationally will have the opportunity to compete in a Final Round, two days of competition, in June in Los Angeles, California.

While the students are completing the competition, parents and teachers will participate in information sessions and other activities hosted by the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.

SC Commission for the Blind Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month

(Columbia, SC) -The SC Commission for the Blind announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "InclusionWorks."

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges," said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. "Our nation's most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity, and it works for innovation."

Reflecting this year's theme, throughout the month, the South Carolina Commission for the Blind will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate its employees and the general public on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture. 

"The South Carolina Commission for the Blind is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Jacqueline Keisler. "We want to spread the important message that we value the diverse perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities."

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/ndeam.

Free Eye Exams and Eye Glasses

The Prevention of Blindness Program is now offering Free Eye Exams and Eye Glasses to the public.
To qualify one must:

  • Provide income verification.
  • Not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any other health insurance.
  • Be a resident of South Carolina and a citizen of the United States.

Applications for the free services can be found on our website under the Prevention of Blindness link.  All applications should be returned to Lynn Gonzalez in the Prevention Department. For more information, contact Lynn Gonzalez at 898-1380.  

Financial Assistance for Cataract Surgeries

The Prevention of Blindness Program is now offering financial assistance for individuals needing assistance paying for cataract surgeries. Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness; but they are usually treatable with surgery.

To qualify you must:

  • Provide a current eye report (within the previous 12 months or less) from an ophthalmologist.
  • Have cataracts in both eyes.
  • Provide income verification.
  • Not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any other health insurance.
  • Be a resident of South Carolina and a citizen of the United States.

Applications for the service can be found on our website under the Prevention of Blindness link. All applications should be returned to Lynn Gonzalez in the Prevention Department. For more information, contact Lynn Gonzalez at 898-1380.  

Foundation for the SC Commission for the Blind Award Winners Announced

The Foundation for the South Carolina Commission for the Blind held its annual award ceremony on October 20, 2015.  The Foundation announced winners for the 2015 Awards in the following categories: Spirit of SCCB Award, Case of the Year and Employee of the Year.
Cali Sandel was presented the Spirit of SCCB Award.  This award is presented to an individual who exemplifies the values of the Commission for the Blind while fulfilling the agency mission.  This award is about the enhancement of the quality of life of an individual who is blind or visually impaired, by effectively and efficiently assisting an individual in retaining, reentering or placement in competitive employment.

Elizabeth Ellerby, consumer and Cynthia Harned, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor received the Case of the Year award.  This award is presented to the Counselor who has demonstrated exceptional diligence and commitment to the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.  Ms. Ellerby reached out to the South Carolina Commission for the Blind, where she  sought assistance with reentering the workforce after her vision loss.  Ms. Ellerby was very successful in adjusting to her vision loss and regaining employment in the medical field with the help of her Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Cynthia Harned, at the SC Commission for the Blind.

Elizabeth Alexander was presented the Employee of the Year. This award is presented to an outstanding employee at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.  The recipient of this award is nominated by their peers and/or supervisor and ultimately exemplifies the qualities of a model citizen at work and in the community.

Each year, employees at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind nominate their peers for the various awards. The awards are presented to those employees who contribute to promoting social and economic independence for the citizens of South Carolina, who are blind or visually impaired.

We Need Your Help!

South Carolina’s Commission for the Blind (SCCB), in partnership with our Board of Commissioners and San Diego State University’s Interwork Institute is in the process of completing our triennial comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA) as required by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, and the Rehabilitation Services Administration.  The purpose of the CSNA is to identify the vocational rehabilitation needs of individuals with blindness and other vision impairments in South Carolina.  We will be seeking input from individuals with blindness and vision impairments, community partners, and businesses as part of the process.  We are posting this note to let you all know that we need your help!

Please take a few minutes and complete whichever survey applies to you by clicking on the appropriate link below:

Individual with blindness or visual impairment
Community Partner
Business

We hope that you will be an active participant with us as we strive to comprehensively identify and meet the needs of individuals with blindness and vision impairments in South Carolina.
Thank you!

SCCB Announces Reinstatement of the Prevention of Blindness Program

At SCCB, we’re excited to announce the reinstatement of the Prevention of Blindness Program.  In an effort to maximize the number of eligible individuals served, and assist with preventing one of the leading causes of blindness, the program will focus specifically on providing assistance with cataract cases at this time.

We understand the impact of vision loss, and we are committed to helping prevent blindness, one person at a time.

To qualify for services the applicant must:

  • Provide a current eye report (within the previous 12 months or less) is required from  the applicant’s ophthalmologist to determine medical eligibility
  • Have cataracts in both eyes, with a best corrected visual acuity of 20/80 or worse.
  • Provide verification the household income meets the financial requirements. 
  •  Not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any other health insurance.
  • Be a resident of South Carolina and a citizen of the United States. 

For more information contact Jenny Bond at 888-335-5951 or 803-898-8731.

 

Dr. Judy Johnson Joins SCCB Board of DirectorsSpotlight

The South Carolina Commission for the Blind, announces the appointment of Dr. Judy Johnson to its board of directors.

Dr. Johnson will represent the 2nd Congressional District. She has devoted over 40 years supporting individuals with lifelong disabilities.  Dr. Johnson is currently the President and CEO of the Babcock Center in Columbia, SC.

Dr. Johnson has extensive experience working in state government, private for profit corporations and private, not-for-profit corporations.  She has served as a professional consultant for over 30 years, has written more than thirty publications, published six articles and presented numerous workshops on disabilities related issues.  She received the Outstanding Woman Professional of the Year in 1985, The Outstanding State Employee Award in 1986, AAMR Fellowship Status in 1992, the Richard B. Dillard Leadership Award from SEAAMR in 1994, and her Alma Mater’s Alumna of the Year award from Glenville State College in 2004.  She was awarded the outstanding Rotarian of the Year in 2006 and 2009.  She was awarded the Order of the Okra by the Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and the Ambassador of the Year in 2013.  Dr. Johnson was a recipient of the 2015 TWIN Awards presented by the Palmetto Center for Women.

The South Carolina Commission for the Blind Board of Directors is currently made up of the following individuals: Peter Smith, Dr. Julia Barnes, Mary Sonsken and Rosemary Parks Roberson.