by: Kalyn Jackson
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Each October, Blindness Awareness Month brings attention to the blind and visually impaired community. One local organization, Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision, continues that mission all year long.
Tickets are on sale now for a rare sensory experience that allows individuals to see the realities of living without sight in a new light.
“What we do here with vision rehabilitation, whether you’re low vision or blind, we wanted to put together an event where people can actually come in and get a better understanding of what blindness looks like,” Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision Director of Development Leslie Eatherly said. “With this event, we’ve really been able to give that glance at what it would be like if I didn’t have my sight.”
Testing taste, touch, smell, and hearing, the center will host its annual fundraising “Dining in the Dark” in January, giving guests an intimate understanding of vision loss.
A four-course meal will be served in complete darkness by Savannahs Police’s SWAT team, using night vision technology. Eatherly said it’s an eye-opening night for all.
“It may be a family member it could be a friend or it could be one of your children,” Eatherly said. “Blindness doesn’t discriminate, so we see all different kinds of ages, but the event was kind of to give everybody a look into what this could be.”
This year will mark the fifth year for the center to host this event.
“The first year that we started it, we had 150 people and it has grown so much,” Eatherly said. “It was a complete sellout the day that we listed the tickets.”
Eatherly said the upcoming event will be dedicated to a dear friend of the center, Charles C. Taylor.
To become a sponsor or purchase tickets to Dining in the Dark 2022 click or tap here.
Savannah’s Center for Blind and Low Vision executive director, graduate and peer mentor, Corey Books, opened up about his journey to the center through low vision.
Brooks was diagnosed in 2016 as legally blind with acute glaucoma. He told WSAV NOW the center helped him learn the things he needed to do to get by and he’s thankful for that.
“The center gave me back my life.”
The center’s new orientation mobility training park gives students the opportunity to train with real-life obstacles and surfaces within the privacy of the facility.
“What we wanted for this was a place where we could train our students who needed the orientation mobility training,” Etherly said.
Thursday marks World Sight Day. The Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision will host an event on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in honor of the awareness day.
The center will be giving out free glasses, low vision services and more by appointment only. Call 912-236-4473 to book your session.
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