Recently, ACB Membership Services Coordinator Cindy Hollis, received the Roxann Mayros Organizational Champion Award from VisionServe Alliance for her work with the ACB Community. This award was established to honor senior leadership members of member-driven organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary service to the field. View Cindy’s acceptance of the award and her nomination from ACB President Dan Spoone by visiting: https://youtu.be/JESsg4uw5Go. Read below to learn more about the progress and growth that has taken place within our community this year.
When the pandemic hit in March and stay at home orders were implemented across the country, ACB staff began working from home, but work didn’t slow down. Instead, it intensified.
What began with two conference calls in one week, now has us scheduling well over 300 events each month since September. Conference calls are now community events held over Zoom, and the variety of events continue to expand as new planners come to the table with new ideas. And many more volunteers are hosting calls each week. In fact, hundreds of hours are being served to our community by hosts, facilitators, and presenters. And to say hundreds of people are attending these events each week is not an exaggeration.
Some of the highlights:
Who remembers the many Gaming Labs held throughout the month of May? If you missed them, you can still find them as podcasts by going to: http://acb-community.pinecast.co.
This was the first of many examples when we reached out to our community looking for people to help put these on and several people stepped up. In fact, one of them was Matt Vollbrecht from the Tech Juggernaut who has been providing us 90 minutes of Apple training every Friday since May 1.
ACB President Dan Spoone and Executive Director Eric Bridges stepped up to the plate in late April with “Let’s Talk Sports” and have been back many times since with their crazy antics and amazing knowledge and memories. And the Spoones, Bridges, and Charlsons were truly good sports when they played the Newly Wed Game in late July. We never laughed so hard, and with real tears. Worth the listen!
We’ve had ACB committees, Special Interest Affiliates, and staff bring topics of interests from guide dogs to voting, transportation to employment, nutrition to exercise, and so much more. And corporate support has been amazing as well with presentations from Vispero, Spectrum, LinkedIn, Achilles International, Comcast, AT&T, Orcam, and Verizon Media, just to name a few.
Peer support takes place in many forms throughout each week, but several have been established for ongoing support for widows and widowers, divorcees, caregivers, those with blindness and other disabilities, newly blind, and those dealing with grief, cancer, or sobriety. We also hold events for guide dog handlers, parents, and differing spiritual beliefs.
We know this has been a tough time for many of us in our community. To that end, we’ve also had many events around health and wellness. In April we offered one yoga class and now it’s two, one from the chair and one more advanced, and two classes using resistance bands. Meditation, a healthy accountability check-in, and varying topics each week to nurture our mental health are just more of what are community can take in each week to try and stay well physically and mentally.
Technology calls are always popular and cover everything from Windows to Mac, from apps to screen readers, from iPhones to Alexa. Some are formal presentations, others are discussion based. All have members of our community learning and growing in their technology experience.
Speaking of learning, there is a lot of learning going on around crafts. Whether crocheting or knitting, needle or loom, beginner or advanced, there’s room for you. Crafts have also included creating braille pictures, beadwork, card making, and more.
Other event topics covered: food and recipes, music and radio, fashion, the home and kitchen gadgets, travel, books, and the list goes on. We began with coffee socials and now have social events daily and at all hours. Our community loves to get together and learn about one another and just share. Oh yes, and we also love to have fun with game nights and open mic night or karaoke.
They say “it takes a village,” but we know “it takes a community.” In a little over eight months, the ACB Community has become the place to go for information and friendship, education and fun. Why? Because it is a constant in a time of uncertainty, and it is safe and warm and welcoming and available for everyone!
Listen to many of our events streamed live on ACB Radio Community: www.acbradio.org/community or ask Alexa to, “Open ACB Community.”