Morris County Proclaims October 2022 Blindness Awareness Month
Published on October 06, 2022
Framed Proclamation Delivered to Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey
Director Tayfun Selen of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners today delivered a framed proclamation declaring October 2022 “Blindness Awareness Month,” as he toured the Denville headquarters of Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey.
VLANJ President and CEO Bill Schuldt was on hand to accept the proclamation. He and Vice President of Development and Communications Jennifer Singer also 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 serious 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.
DITD tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available at vlanj.org by clicking on the DITD link. Contact VLANJ Vice President of Development and Communications Jennifer Singer at [email protected] or 973-627-0055. Prompt 2 for more information.
VLANJ receives the majority of its funding from individual donations, which can be made at vlanj.org/donations.
Top Right: Director Selen presents the proclamation to Bill Schuldt and Jennifer Singer under a mural at VLANJ that carries the Hellen Keller quote: “Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing.”
Center Left: Director Selen and Bill Schuldt leaving the VLANJ offices.
Bottom Right: Director Selen and Bill Schuldt out front at VLANJ.