The Mid-Atlantic Regional Group

Blinded Veterans Association

MARG BVA Technology Program.

 

 MARG BVA Technology Program

 By Herb Patterson

President, Richmond Chapter BVA

 

This is a report of our activity of providing adaptive equipment to young students who are blind or low visioned in our area.  The donated adaptive equipment and other low vision items are given at no cost to the student or family.  The MARG BVA is collecting adaptive equipment from blind veterans or their families that is no longer being used by the veteran or from the family of a blind veteran who has passed away.  We are accepting Computers with all the hardware and software that came with the computer, CCTVs, magnifiers such as the Nemo or Sapphire, etc, stand alone scanner-readers, Braille machine or Braille equipment, and any other low vision equipment that is serviceable that might assist a student in need. 

If you have or know of a vision impaired veteran who has equipment to donate, please call Herb at 804-222-8714 or leave a message at the Richmond Chapter office, 675-5000, ext. 2606 and someone will call you back.  Also, if you know of a middle or high school student that might benefit from our program, please have the parent or vision teacher call us.  We will provide equipment as is and based on the donations on hand or put them on a waiting list.

Our first donations were two CCTVs that were donated in the Arlington/DC area.  They were given to two area young ladies.  We then received a Merlin CCTV from a family member of a veteran and this and a Nemo magnifier was given to a young man in high school in Kent County, VA.  I next received a Dell computer with printer, scanner and Zoom Text and Open Book from the family of a veteran’s family and this was given to a young man who was in middle school in Hampton, VA.  I would also note that three other computers were sent to Hampton, Suffolk, and Chesapeake for three visually impaired students.  The Lions of Virginia, SNEP assisted with these computers.

We then received a total Dell computer with Zoom Text and Open Book and a Merlin CCTV from the wife of a WW II veteran.  This was refurbed and given to a young lady in middle school in Staunton, VA.  Another total Dell computer that I installed Jaws and Open Book on went to a young lady attending school at the Staunton School for the Blind.

Two other computers with computer hardware received from other veteran donations have gone to two students, one in Norfolk and one in Hampton who used Zoom Text and Jaws respectively.  Four others computers have gone to adults attending classes at the Rehab Center for the Blind in Richmond with the help of the Lions of VA, SNEP.  One of our members donated an older CCTV to his local library to be used by low vision patrons.  

At the present time we have two older CCTVs and a Braille machine which will be checked out to assure they function properly before finding a home.  We also have a couple of donated computers which can be given away with the help of the Lions to provide adaptive software.  Note; we refurb all computers that are donated to include wiping all information from the hard drives. 

The Blind Veterans Association of the Mid-Atlantic Chapters is making a difference in the lives of young blind and vision impaired students.  Please keep up the good work.  I would like to thank all of those who have and are helping to carry on this program and the people who drive me around the State to get it done. 

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