By Ellen Jones

As the end of the year approaches, many of us find ourselves reflecting on our accomplishments over the past year and honoring those who have been there for us. At Braille Institute Rancho Mirage, we are very grateful for the many financial donors who have continued to support our outreach to the community over the years. Their contributions have allowed us to expand our programing and offer a wide range of free classes and seminars so we can serve many more people who are living with low vision.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge the many volunteers working so hard all year long to provide the quality services and programs that Braille Institute Rancho Mirage offers. It is their hard work which ensures our students can continue to lead full and rewarding lives.

One of the most important programs we offer is low vision consultation for residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties that are experiencing diminished vision. We meet with each potential new student and assess their goals, their capabilities, and interests to determine the best way to ensure that we can help them continue to lead full and rewarding lives.

By focusing on each person’s specific goals, degree of sight loss and home environment, our trained Braille Institute consultants help our students reach their individual goals through skills training, counseling, and educational classes and seminars. 

Braille Institute Rancho Mirage offers dozens of free courses and seminars (in English and Spanish) on topics including daily living skills (cooking, and home management), working with computers and other technology, how to safely exercise, and many classes allowing our students to learn to express themselves through singing, painting, photography, woodworking, participating in games and even how to line dance. We also provide many classes acknowledging the emotional toll experienced by loss of vision, and provide guidance on how to deal with this. These include classes like Living with Vision Loss, Creatively Expressing Yourself Through Blogging, Building Self Confidence, and Peer and Caregiver support groups.

In all of our classes and seminars, we teach our students the loss of vision can present a challenge, but it does not mean loss of mobility or a compromised lifestyle. Our free classes demonstrate to our students they are still able to fully experience the world and continue to do the things they love. We even offer free transportation to our facility, and for those unable to come to us, we provide free in-home services.

One of the best ways to support our programs is to attend our annual fundraiser.  On February 3, 2018 the Friends of Braille Institute Rancho Mirage will produce a charming event featuring a performance by comedian Erin Murphy, who will do a stand up of Julia Child called “Bon Apetit!”  All funds will support the many arts programs at Braille Institute Rancho Mirage.  For more information call (760) 459-6331.