I joined Pennsylvania Association for the Blind in 2007 with more than 30 years in human services, 25 of them as CEO of a PAB member agency. In my role as an agency director, I met hundreds of people who had lost their sight, or for whom blindness was imminent. I watched many of them work hard to achieve independent and fulfilling lives and become successful because of rehabilitation services they received. I saw blind children grow up, attend college, marry and have children of their own. For whatever small role I may have played in helping them achieve that success, I am very proud.
I have seen vast changes over the last three decades. Access technology has helped blind people pursue professional and personal opportunities that didn’t exist in 1982 when I started in this field. Medical advances have made it possible to stop the progression of sight threatening diseases. PAB member agencies have expanded their array of services to include low vision services, education, support groups, orientation and mobility, and vision rehabilitation. Much of this would not be possible without the generosity of our donors. With your support, we are able to help blind people succeed, day after day, year after year.
With proper training and supportive services, blindness is not a disability. Someone said to me once, “You must be really special to work with those people. It is so amazing what they can do.” All of the professionals I know will quickly attest that there isn’t anything particularly special about us. We just come to work every day and do the best we can with the tools and resources available to us. We view people with vision impairment as no different from anyone else. A key part of our mission is to dispel the myths of blindness so that others will no longer find it amazing when blind people demonstrate their individual worth.
Elaine R. Welch
President / CEO