Charity Contest Nominee – ACBCO Provides Resources So that Colorado’s Blind & Visually Impaired Can Live Independently

Charity ContestCitywide Banks’ next Charity Hand-Up Contest will take place on the bank’s Facebook page from September 1-14, 2012. The American Council of the Blind of Colorado is one of seven nominated charities that will be spotlighted leading up to the contest. The Denver/Boulder community is invited to participate and help raise awareness for these seven Colorado causes. The charity receiving the most votes on Facebook will receive a $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks. Voters can enter to win 1 of 7 prizes.

ACBCOTwo things that Barbara Boyer, Executive Director for the American Council for the Blind of Colorado (ACBCO) wants everyone to know is that 1) blindness is just a characteristic, and 2) that blind and visually impaired people can do just about anything that sighted people can do.

“We do not define sighted individuals by the color of their hair,” explains Boyer.  “Being blind should not define who a person is or is not.” And to her second point, she stresses, blind people are not helpless. Yes, they have some limitations but, she emphasizes, so does everyone.

“Blind and visually impaired people are strong, talented, intelligent human beings – with as many different traits as individuals with or without any other disability,” she says. “All they need is an equal opportunity like anyone else would get.”

And that’s what ACBCO does for Colorado’s blind and visually impaired community and has been doing for almost 35 years. The organization is there to provide training, tools, support and services so that the blind and visually impaired can live independently, be a part of their community, and have productive fulfilling lives.

What makes the ACBCO different from some other organizations, Boyer explains, is that they deal with each person on an individual level as opposed to a one size fits all solution. Additionally, all their services are free, which is key to their client base since 92% of them are at or below poverty level.

ACBCO staff provides at-home assessments and supply their clients, young and old, with adaptive aids and training to help them live independently. Adaptive aids such as giant button telephones, talking clocks or watches,  and signature cards that enable the blind to sign their own checks might be little things, says Boyer, but they are so important in helping a person feel confident and independent. The group’s most significant services include programs themed around helping visually impaired seniors adjust to vision loss,  support groups and mentors, Sighted Ally volunteers, annual scholarships,  children’s Braille/print book distribution, counseling, and public awareness & advocacy programs.

In addition to providing services to help the blind and visually impaired, a big part of their mission is education, outreach and advocacy. They also have an emergency fund to help those in dire financial situations.

Boyer says ACBCO’s biggest needs are donations and volunteers, since the population they serve grows every year, and for people to spread the word about their organization so that those who need them can find them.

A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go right into their adaptive aid fund so they could purchase all those small, low-cost items that can make a big difference in a blind or visually impaired person’s life.

For more information about ACBCO’s programs and ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.ACBCO.org.

Vote to Give ACBCO a $5,000 Hand-Up
As part of its larger community outreach program, Citywide Banks is spotlighting the great work and ongoing needs of local charities around metro Denver. Based Charity Hand-Up Conteston the results of a 14-day public vote on Facebook, the community will determine how $7,500 is split among seven Colorado charities nominated by Citywide Banks employees. The charity receiving the most votes will receive $5,000 and the runner-up will receive $1,000. The remaining donation amounts will correspond to the voting results for each nominated charity. The voting public can also enter to win 1 of 7 prizes, including dinner for two at some of Denver’s top restaurants. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here.

How to Cast Your Vote – September 1-14, 2012
The voting will take place at Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to make sure they are logged into their personal Facebook account. If a user doesn’t have an account, it only takes minutes to set up a new Facebook account and it’s free. The online voting form will only be accessible for Citywide Banks Facebook Fans. To become a Fan, simply click on the “Like” button on top of any of the pages on Citywide’s Facebook Fan Page at Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Then, click on the link for the ”Charity Contest” tab to access the online voting page. Each Facebook account will permitted one vote during the 14-day voting period.

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