Funding Support for Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

*ACTION ALERT*

Your help is needed! Please Ask Your state Representative and Senator to Support the Senate Version of the MCB Budget (line item 4110-1000) to  preserve Services for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind at an already significantly reduced level.

I ask you to support our highest priority — to properly fund the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

As background, six members were appointed from the House and the Senate to a “Conference Committee” to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. The Conference Committee will report a final compromise bill to the full House and Senate for a vote of acceptance in each branch.

We need you to contact the six conferees listed below as soon as possible this week and ask them for their support of the MCB 4110-1000 Community Services account. The $1.85 million increase in this line item in the Senate version of the budget is important to preserve MCB’s specialized training services and support for independent living for residents of all ages who are legally blind. Among those served would be teens transitioning from school to work, college students, newly blind adults and seniors with age-related vision loss.

Because certain federal funding is no longer available to support these programs, additional funding from the Commonwealth is necessary to maintain these services at their current levels.

Here is a list of the conferees along with their email addresses and phone numbers:

Co-Chairs:

Members:

  • Senator Joan Lovely of Beverly, Lovely@masenate.gov, 617-722-1410
  • Senator Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth, deMacedo@masenate.gov, 617-722-1330
  • Representative Stephen Kulik of Worthington, Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov, 617-722-2380
  • Representative Todd Smola of Warren Smola@mahouse.gov 617-722-2100

Please contact your legislators by email, telephone, or in-person asking them to encourage the six conferees to support the Senate version of the budget ($6,071,917) for Line Item 4110-1000, MCB’s Community Services account.

You can find the contact information for your legislators at www.wheredoivotema.com

It is vital that you make these outreach efforts as soon as possible this week so that your voice can be heard in time for the legislature to make these important budget decisions.

Thank you for your help with this very important matter.

Scott V. Krug, President

New England Low Vision and Blindness

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Blind Young Adult Success StoryFunding Support for Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Uncategorized

Like most kids, Precious Perez aspired to become a firewoman, veterinarian, or doctor. She vividly recalls clinging to her teacher during a kindergarten field trip to the fire station and wearing her plastic fire helmet with pride. Declared blind at the age of one, Precious registered with MCB in 1999, having suffered a detached retina.

In 2012, at the age of fourteen, Precious started receiving rehabilitation services including vocational and personal adjustment to blindness counseling, work readiness skills, internship placement, assistive technology training, rehabilitation teaching, and orientation and mobility. Currently a sophomore at the Berklee College of Music, MCB’s present assistance includes tuition, books and technology devices, so that Precious can access course material.

Precious credits MCB’s critical services for allowing her to find her true passion: music. She envisions a successful career as a singer/songwriter/music educator. Specialized blindness services for Precious are in her plan to continue until she completes college and is competitively employed.

Without funding for these services, Precious will be left to ponder whether her blindness will prevent her from eventually being able to pursue the things she has always dreamed of. She stated, “I can’t imagine what my opportunities would be without MCB’s on-going support and am concerned that the younger blind students will be disadvantaged if the legislature doesn’t provide needed funding now.”

Like most kids, Precious Perez aspired to become a firewoman, veterinarian, or doctor. She vividly recalls clinging to her teacher during a kindergarten field trip to the fire station and wearing her plastic fire helmet with pride. Declared blind at the age of one, Precious registered with MCB in 1999, having suffered a detached retina.

In 2012, at the age of fourteen, Precious started receiving rehabilitation services including vocational and personal adjustment to blindness counseling, work readiness skills, internship placement, assistive technology training, rehabilitation teaching, and orientation and mobility. Currently a sophomore at the Berklee College of Music, MCB’s present assistance includes tuition, books and technology devices, so that Precious can access
course material.

Precious credits MCB’s critical services for allowing her to find her true passion: music. She envisions a successful career as a singer/songwriter/music educator. Specialized blindness services for Precious are in her plan to continue until she completes college and is competitively employed.

Without funding for these services, Precious will be left to ponder whether her blindness will prevent her from eventually being able to pursue the things she has always dreamed of. She stated, “I can’t imagine what my opportunities would be without MCB’s on-going support and am concerned that the younger blind students will be disadvantaged if the legislature doesn’t provide needed funding now.”

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