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October Blindness Awareness Month Proclaimed by Morris County

By metrostaff on
Morris County

By Yuritza Arroyo: Morris County Board of County Commissioners delivered a framed proclamation declaring October 2022 “Blindness Awareness Month”.

VLANJ President and CEO Bill Schuldt was on hand to accept the proclamation.

According to officials, He and Vice President of Development and Communications Jennifer Singer updated Director Selen on the nonprofit’s programs.  Serving adults with vision loss for 79 years, VLANJ helps people cope and adapt to vision loss while also providing them with training in independent living skills and assistive technology.

Blindness and profound vision loss affect more than 160,000 people in New Jersey, an estimated 7.68 million people in the U.S.and those numbers are expected to increase as the nation’s population lives longer, according to the National Federation of the Blind.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 93 million adults in the United States are at risk for vision loss and projects the number of Americans of ages 40 years old and up with severe vision loss or blindness will double to nearly 9 million by 2050.

The proclamation, signed by the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, commends VLANJ for its nearly four decades of exemplary service to the public. It also proclaims October 2022 to be  “Blindness Awareness Month” in Morris County to increase awareness of eye disease and eye care, so all citizens understand the challenges faced daily by our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and co-workers with vision loss.

The nonprofit began in Newark in 1943 as the New Jersey Association for the Blind, a place for people with vision loss to socialize.

Twelve years later, the organization opened a summer camp in Denville for women with blindness and, under the name NJ Foundation for the Blind, added life skills training to the summer camp experience.

Independent skills training became year-round in the late 1990s, and by 2006, the organization provided a comprehensive, nonresidential vision rehabilitation program for adults.

Adopting VLANJ as its name in 2016, the nonprofit added low-vision occupational therapy and other services.

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, VLANJ has grown tremendously as it added and expanded virtual programming.

On Oct. 26, Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey will host its annual “Dining in the Dark” event, which allows guests to briefly experience what people with vision loss or blindness must go through when they dine. Attendees will enjoy a three-course meal using smell, touch, taste, and hearing  — but not sight — at the Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park.