The Oswego County Legislature recently designated October 15, 2009 as White Cane Safety Day to promote awareness, education and advocacy for white cane safety.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This year marks the 25th anniversary of Ã¢â‚¬ËœWhite Cane Safety DayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Oswego County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It provides an excellent opportunity for us to recognize the Vision Network for its priceless contributions as an advocate for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Vision Network is a partnership between ARISE and community members and agencies. As an advocacy group, they address issues such as transportation, traffic safety, public accessibility and community education.
The presentation was made to Sabine Ingerson, director of ARISE in Oswego along with Marie Kouthoofd, Laura Smith, Ken Skillen and Bea Welch.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The long white cane is not a symbol of a handicap, but rather, one of independence, freedom and equality,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Marie Kouthoofd. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It can take time to break down pre-conceived views and misinformation to understand that difference.Ã¢â‚¬Â
She added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“One of the things that helped me was the following statement by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight. The real problem is the misunderstanding and lack of information that exists. If a blind person has proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to a physical nuisance.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â
ARISE works with residents, communities and advocacy groups to reaffirm the dignity, independence and self-worth of people living with various levels of ability.
To learn more about ARISE services, call the Oswego office at 342-4088 or the Pulaski office at 298-5726 or go to http://www.ariseinc.org/programs/oswego_services.html.