New Vision

New Vision at Goodwill Industries of the Valleys provides services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The goal is to promote independence and equality for people by ensuring that they have access to education and information so they may increase their independence.

Services for People Who are Blind and Visually Impaired

Assistive Technology Center

The New Vision Assistive Technology Center provides individualized instruction with the use of personal electronic devices, which increase functional capability of people who are blind and visually impaired. Students will learn more about the use of tablets, computers, smart phones, as well as voice-activated virtual assistants such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The center is staffed by a certified instructor with over nineteen years experience in Assistive Technology, IT Security, and Network Administration.

You must pre-register to attend classes and receive assistance through the Assistive Technology Center. Click here to apply.

Assistive Technology for the Elderly 2.0 Program

New Vision is the recipient of a grant from the Mary Louise Home Fund of the Foundation for Roanoke Valley. This grant partially funds the Assistive Technology for the Elderly (ATE) 2.0 Program. The program provides equipment and training in the use of voice-activated virtual assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.

The program matches the virtual assistants with elderly clients to provide access to:

  • weather
  • audiobooks
  • music
  • caregiver communication
  • and more

The program also allows for the placement and setup of virtual assistants at local assisted living centers and other facilities that serve seniors in the Roanoke area. This allows activity directors to expose their residents to voice-activated virtual assistants so they may become more independent. To learn more, click the link to the brochure below or contact us by phone about upcoming workshops or applications.

Click here for the ATE Brochure.

Click here for the Quick Start Guide for Activity Directors.

Amazon Echo Tips Podcast

The Podcast features 5 minute tutorials that highlight the various features of the Amazon Echo.

To listen to the Podcast on your Amazon Echo, simply say:

“Alexa, play Echo Tips Podcast.”  Additionally you can ask: “Alexa, play next episode.” or “Alexa, skip.”

The Podcast website is also fairly screen-reader friendly. You can navigate the episodes via their title using heading number 2. Simply press the space bar or otherwise activate the link to start that episode.

Click here to listen to the Amazon Echo Tips Podcast.

Dial-In News

New Vision offers a dial-in news service for individuals who are blind and visually impaired or have a print-disability. Dial-In News, a collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind and the Roanoke Times, was recently upgraded, is available 24/7, and provides local, national, and world news from over 400 publications.

Radio Reading Services

In partnership with WVTF Public Radio, New Vision provides special radios for individuals that are blind and visually impaired so they may tune to WVTF’s Radio Reading sub-frequency. Broadcasting on a set schedule, this service provides listeners with a program mix of readings from local and national newspapers and magazines.

Click here to apply for a Radio for the RRS Service.

Large Print Calendars

Each year New Vision provides thousands of large print calendars to residents of Virginia who are blind and visually impaired. These calendars measure 22 inches by 17 inches, and are printed in a large font, and feature numbers that are 3/4 inch high, in blocks that are 1.25 x 3 inches.

Calendars for 2019, made possible in-part by a grant from the Friendship Foundation, will be available in mid-December and will go quickly. Like Goodwill Valleys on Facebook to be the first to know when they are available or you may also request a 2019 calendar in September of 2018 by calling (540) 581.0620 ext. 1122.

History

New Vision was originally incorporated in 1980 as Voice of the Blue Ridge. The name change to New Vision in 2015 reflects the many ways the organization has evolved from one that supported a radio reading service to embracing today’s new technologies, new opportunities, and new challenges so individuals who are blind and visually impaired may become more independent.

In July 2018, New Vision joined the program offerings at Goodwill. New Vision’s Board of Directors made the decision to no longer operate as an independent non-profit organization, but to instead to move the New Vision program to a non-profit that would allow for the continued mission programming as well as additional opportunities for clients to be served.

Everything we do is provided at no charge to our clients, and many people receive services they might not have access to otherwise. New Vision at Goodwill receives little government funding, and is dependent upon support from the community to continue our mission of helping the visually impaired connect to the world.

Anyone who might benefit from our services is welcome, so please contact us and make an appointment to come in for a visit.

Advisory Board and Funding

An Advisory Board made up of prior stakeholders, board members, and volunteers of New Vision will continue to provide advice and counsel to Goodwill on the operation of the program. New Vision will continue to be funded by grants and private donations as well as by the revenues from the organization prior to the move to Goodwill. For more information on making a donation to support New Vision at Goodwill, click here and designate your gift to support New Vision.

Resources for Individuals Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

National Resources

National Federation of the Blind. New Vision in collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind offers a dial-in news service for the blind and print-disabled. This service, which was recently upgraded, is available 24/7 and provides local (Roanoke Times), national, and world news from a variety of sources. The NFB provides also provides other resources, services, and materials that are known world-wide.

American Foundation for the Blind. Dedicated to addressing the critical issues of literacy, independent living, employment, and access through technology for the ten million Americans who are blind or visually impaired.

American Printing House for the Blind. Manufactures Braille, large type, recorded, computer disk, and tactile graphic publications, as well as a wide assortment of educational and daily living products.

Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired. Provides rehabilitation services for Virginians who are blind or visually impaired.

BestColleges.com. A college guide for students with disabilities.

Bookshare.org. Makes available to subscribers scanned and braille copies of books.

Enabling TechnologiesManufactures and sells Braille embossers, including the popular Juliet embosser.

Freedom Scientific. Vendor for a variety of special software and appliances including Jaws for Windows screen reader, Open Book scanning software, Magic screen-magnification software, note takers, Braille displays, and Braille embossers.

GW Micro. Developer and vendor for Window Eyes Screen Reader.

Lighthouse International. Strives to overcome vision impairment for people of all ages through worldwide leadership in rehabilitation services, education, research, prevention and advocacy.

MaxiAids. Products for Independent Living. For blind, low vision, deaf, disabled, handicapped

National Braille Press. Transcribes books into Braille and sells them at the retail price of the original print edition, including children’s books with interleaf Braille pages that enable parents who are blind to read to their children.

Local Resources

RAVE. The Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) is a support group for blind and visually impaired men and women in the Roanoke Valley.

Roanoke Blind Bowling League. Contact Opal Ferris for more information.

Blinded Veterans Association Chapter. Open to any veteran with an honorable discharge. Contact Mike Doyle at (540) 982.2463 ext. 1758 for more information.

WVTF Public Radio. New Vision at Goodwill and WVTF recognize that nearly 20,000 individuals in the our listening area have some type of print disability. Sight difficulties cover a wide spectrum from total blindness to the inability to distinguish standard newsprint without a magnifying device. To address this need, New Vision and WVTF make a Radio Reading Service and specialized radios available free of charge for those who are visually impaired.

For More Information

For more information on New Vision, e-mail info@goodwillvalleys.com or call (540) 581.0620 ext. 1122.

Service Hours for New Vision
Monday – Thursday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Goodwill Roanoke Jobs Campus, Suite B, 2502 Melrose Avenue, NW

The New Vision program is open to anyone who is blind or visually impaired so they may have access to the opportunities that are available for education and information.