Rotarians Hear About Aurora, OCVI

FULTON, NY – Fulton Rotarian Terry Bennett invited Debra Chakin, Franklin Warren, and Laura Smith from Oswego County Visually Impaired to speak to the Fulton Noon Rotary Club.

Laura is the president of OCVI as well as a board member of Aurora.

from left  Debra Chakin, Terry Bennett, Franklin Warren and Laura Smith
From left Debra Chakin, Terry Bennett, Franklin Warren and Laura Smith

Debra is the executive director of Aurora of Central New York.

OCVI is a program of Aurora and promotes independence for visually impaired, hard of hearing and deaf persons.

Aurora provides the members with training in the areas of cooking, closet organization, money management and also support with employment.

In addition to their monthly meetings, OCVI has a singing group, book club (audio books) and also meets once a month for a social outing.

Call-N-Ride, a transportation service through Oswego County Opportunities, transports members to all their functions.

They feel very fortunate to have that service available.

Visually impaired people lose their ability to drive, read, and shop independently.

This can lead to a feeling of isolation and may cause both mental health and heath problems.

Thanks to Aurora and programs like OCVI, visually impaired persons can and do live independent lives.

Franklin, a member of OCVI, also spoke very highly of the OCVI program.

With the help of the program he is able to live alone.

They taught him cooking skills and provided him with a speaking watch so he knows what time it is.

Franklin cannot use a phone unless it is voice activated. Franklin is grateful for Call-N-Ride  and uses their services frequently.

Debra gave an overview of Aurora , a government funded program.

Aurora strives to promote independence and opportunity for the visually and hearing impaired.

It is a local agency and is supported through federal, state and county funding.

They are supported by three United Ways and also have to do additional fundraising in order to provide the many services they offer.

Aurora of CNY covers Onondaga, Oswego and Cayuga counties.

It also gives specialized services to some 45 upstate New York counties as well.