Welcome to 2021 from all of us at Earle Baum Center! I don’t know anybody who wasn’t glad to see the end of 2020. It’s easy to focus on all the bad things that happened this past year. Maybe someday, we’ll be able to think about the good things, too. It was a year that we learned what matters most.

Life slowed down and we became aware of so much that we usually take for granted. Things like being able to fill our lungs with clean air — not air that’s filled with wood smoke. Songbirds. Safety. Electricity. Even toilet paper. How much we value getting together with friends and family. Good neighbors. Our precious health. And life itself. Suddenly grocery store workers, nurses, teachers, and others were revealed as the heroes they have always been, hiding in plain sight. We learned to be more grateful for what we have and to cherish what brings us joy.

The pandemic brought unique challenges to those of us with sight loss. People who can’t see depend on touch, but right now it’s a ‘no touch world.’ How do you stay six feet from the person ahead of you in a line if you can’t see well or at all? It’s harder to understand what someone says when they’re wearing a mask.

But this past year was probably the hardest on those who are newly blind. Adjusting to sight loss can be an intense emotional journey. Caring friends and family may not know how to help deal with new fears, frustrations, anger and loss.

The thing is, when you lose your sight, you don’t know what you don’t know. But thanks to you, Earle Baum Center was here to help people with vital services. Your generosity created connections to counselors and peer support groups. You helped ensure participants learned about tools, techniques and technologies available to address challenges. You gave people hope.

Even in the best of times, blindness can be isolating. So, when it became clear that we could not safely meet in groups, our team hit the ground running. Clients were able to access classes and services online by video conference. For those without the access or ability to use a computer, we used a web-based conference program accessible by phone.

We’ll continue to use these technologies to reach out to more folks of all ages who are learning to live with sight loss or blindness. You can help. When someone mentions sight loss, tell them about EBC. They’ll thank you for it.

As we come out of this dark period, let’s all commit to making 2021 the year we pulled together as a strong and vibrant community!

Warm regards,

Bob Sonnenberg

CEO, Earle Baum Center

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