The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) made Prince Albert their first stop on a new tour Monday morning.
The CNIB Mobile Hub is a new program delivery model where the CNIB visits various communities to deliver in-person programming for people who are blind or partially sighted. The Mobile Hub is at the Prince Albert Lions Club room under the grandstand at the Prince Albert Exhibition grounds on Monday and Tuesday.
“Individuals who are blind or partially sighted, especially in rural and northern communities, often find it difficult to access our programs because we have two offices, one in Regina and Saskatoon,” CNIB provincial director Ashley Nemeth explained. “What we are doing is bringing our programming and our services right to our clients here in PA as a pilot. It’s a Mobile Hub, and so we are bringing our programs to the people of PA and surrounding communities.”
At the CNIB Mobile Hub, participants can benefit from recreational and social activities, employment workshops, peer support groups and more.
The first item on the agenda was a well-attended peer support group for the blind or partially sighted.
Other activities included a yoga class on Monday, and an art program scheduled for Tuesday. There is also an opportunity to learn about smartphones and assisted technology.
“By the turnout today, I think people are enjoying it and happy to be here,” Nemeth said.
Nemeth added that they plan to return in March or April of 2024 after they evaluate the success of them.
“There is definitely a need and so we will expand our stops in different communities that have a population of blind or partially sighted individuals,” she explained.
Nemeth said people who are blind or partially sighted are not always visible.
“Often you don’t know if individuals are blind or partially sighted, so generally there is a significant number of people in the communities that people just don’t realize are,” she said.
CNIB is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. They deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams while tearing down barriers to inclusion. Nemeth said one of the organization’s goals is to help their clients be independent.
“It allows people to gain their independence back,” she said. “A lot of our clients later in life are losing their vision from various things, glaucoma, macular degeneration and those types of things. It’s learning how to adapt their lives to be able to have a good quality of life, maintaining their independence and their home and those types of things.
“So we work with our partner Vision Loss Rehab who provides those rehab services, and then CNIB is there to really support them in getting back into their extra curriculars.”
Extracurricular activities include recreation like yoga or walking among others, Nemeth explained.
“It really gives people their independence back and then their quality of life back that they may have thought was lost,” she said.
The CNIB Mobile Hub will be at the Prince Albert Lions Club room from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27.