February 2017

Who Is VIRN?

Photo one of VIRN's office work station in our computer lab.
Goal Is Inclusion

“Finding solutions for day-to-day challenges.”
Help us break down barriers and embrace inclusion for all!

The Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN) is a registered charity that started in 1944. We became incorporated in Manitoba as the Canadian Council of the Blind Manitoba Division (CCBMB) in 1982. After doing research and consulting with the community of people who are vision impaired, their families, friends and supporters of the organisation we changed our name to better reflect the needs of the community and to eliminate confusion people had regarding organisations with similar sounding names.

Collectively our four core building blocks of Peer Support, Public Education, Active Living and Training promote active, healthy and independent living, and developing good life skills. Click Here to Read More

Next Tech-Ease Drop-in Monday, March 6th

Photo of two a young man and young lady sharing information by tapping their iPhones together.
Everyone Has Something to Share

VIRN has been offering the Tech-Ease program for over ten years. We pride ourselves on sharing information about tools and technology to help the community of people who are vision impaired, their family and friends have equal access to information, download audio books, music and other reading materials through public library services, use GPS for mobility and independent travel and much more.

Next Tech-Ease Drop-In is: Monday, March 6th
Millennium Library
Anhang Room on the 2nd Floor
251 Donald Street, Winnipeg
Southeast Corner of Donald & Graham

Time: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Note: Please bring your own ear buds to all Tech-Ease drop-in sessions to help us eliminate distractions from interfering with each other.

Although it isn’t necessary, if you would let VIRN know a few days before coming then it will help us and make it easier to bring someone who can answer your question(s) then or work with you on the device you have brought along.

Technology helps to keep us connected, informed and is inclusive.
Subscribe to: virn-tech@googlegroups.com
Email: ideviceusers@virn.ca

Contact us at: 204-975-9340
Email info@virn.ca

Tasia Shares Her Appreciation - VIRN Mentorship Program

Photo of Tasia waving hi and sitting behind a VIRN display table.
Back To The Old Me

I am honoured to have someone in my life that has guided me through the past few years. It's not easy when your life changes in a heartbeat. I had the love and support of my family and friends throughout the vision loss, but being able to connect with someone who understood the struggles and tribulations of dealing with low vision made the difference in my life.

Doris Koop is an amazing women and I am honoured that she chose me to mentor. She is someone I am truly blessed to know and would be lucky to strive for even half of everything she has accomplished. I can honestly say I have grown to love and respect her with my whole heart and she has truly brought the "old" me back to the surface.

The VIRN Mentorship Program is a rising star waiting to take the world by storm and it would not be possible without someone like Doris!

I continue to volunteer at VIRN (Vision Impaired Resource Network) on a regular basis, and each and every day I spend with the numerous volunteers that make the organization what it is, I am thankful that a place like this exists. I have a loving family by my side each and every moment of my life, but VIRN and Doris and all the volunteers have become a second family to me.

To all of you out there, young and old, struggling with vision loss - please give VIRN a call and maybe you will receive a mentor just as wonderful as I was honoured to receive!! ❤❤

Thank You! - 2017 White Cane Week Made Real Impact

Photo of a beautiful red rose perfectly balanced between two fingers.
Building Awareness through Public Education

During the week of February 5 to 11, The Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN) Inc. was even busier than we usually are. This year we paid special attention during the week to Public Education and building awareness about what the White Cane means and how we have evolved and celebrate the choices we now have.

Through presentations, sharing stories and through our regular programs we have had very positive feedback as to the work that VIRN is doing to increase the knowledge and understanding on the abilities of people who are vision impaired.

The white cane still remains as a symbol of independence and the abilities of people who are vision impaired. Now that we have the choice of additional colours, this iconic symbol now demonstrates that we have the right to embrace the tools we can use to truly be independent and free from the constraints of institutions. We will always recognise and respect the meaning of the white cane with the understanding that it is now for all of us who are vision impaired. Make choices, feel free to be yourself.

Thank you for making the 2017 White Cane Week a success.

White Cane Coloured Cane Independence and Freedom

Photo of four VIRN members at the Human Rights Museum showing their mobility canes.
Let It Be Our Choice!

“The white cane is a tool that provides mobility and independence to people [with vision loss] everyday, and has done so at least since blinded veterans began returning from the battlefields of World War II. Other alternative techniques can supplement the white cane, but they will never replace It.”

This White Cane Week (February 5-11, 2017), celebrate your right to independence, inclusion, success, and freedom.

Does it have to be white?

Tasia Knysh is vision impaired, a member and volunteer with VIRN, and uses a white cane and a purple cane, both of which are mobility canes.

She would like additional ones, “Not that I don’t like white ones; coloured ones are more of my personality.”

Knysh explains her cane, “[Helps her] with new places and new surroundings and not have to rely on someone guiding me. It helps me see ice spots, snow piles, and get out.”

“Organizations [raise] awareness to people inside and outside the community, of the cane, itself,” explains Knysh, “Using it in itself brings awareness.”

That is what she is doing, socializing, volunteering, working, and doing everyday errands, using a purple cane or a white one.

“[A] cane can provide information and protection, regardless of its color – it does not have to be white to be effective. Most canes used by people who are vision impaired are white, but they are also available in red, black, yellow, blue, etc. For example, these canes from Ambutech are available in a range of colors.”

This recognition and acceptance is worth celebrating.
By Deanna

Thank you Lance for sharing your story with all of us!

White Cane User – Who Me!

A photo of four people from the waste down holding four canes, three are white and one is pink.
Sharing Is Empowering

My choice to start using my white cane was most difficult as the internalization of being a cane user was overwhelming.
However, the constant bumping of shoulders in busy mall setting was getting far too frequent let alone feeling the need to apologize. The decision to let and notify others was long overdue. What I thought was going to be a hard transition was ultimately a decision that I regretted not making earlier. Although my internal struggle to join my brother and sister cane users was difficult it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The simple idea of letting others know in advance made it so much easier to navigate that dark world of mobility. In fact, I found it so much easier to move around as I could effectively and efficiently use the little bit of vision I had. Quickly I noticed that I was gliding through the malls with just the occasional bump. The ability to keep my head up was so much easier as my cane could give me the much needed warning of those shin cracking obstacles.

“The decision to use my many canes was ultimately freeing."

My vision loss and transition to being dependant on my cane was indeed emotionally taxing. The sad realization of knowing I had to carry something for the rest of my life. However, now if I don’t have a cane when I need it I will grab a broom stick, a branch or an elbow whenever required. I am so thankful for everyone of those amazing individuals who have offered me a hand ... secret ... I have even taken a few elbows when I was confident I didn’t need the assistance.

In fact, I have never been refused the request for an elbow. So to all of you who have offered me assistance, Thank you and to all of you who have offered and I have refused “Sorry” and I hope you understand, because I have my White Cane.

Lance

Thank you Lance for sharing your story with all of us!