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Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Employment Resources

Want to Be Your Own Boss? – #MomAndPopBusinessOwnersDay

Have you ever noticed just how many national and international celebratory days there are on the calendar? Join the Bridges Helpdesk this month to delight in some of our favorite themed days with us! Topics include:

  • March 1: International Zero Discrimination Day #ZeroDiscriminationDay
  • March 8: National Proofreading Day #NationalProofreadingDay
  • March 15: World Social Work Day #WSWD
  • March 22: National Goof Off Day #NationalGoofOffDay
  • March 29: National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day #MomAndPopBusinessOwnersDay

Today, we are privileged to present interviews with some fabulous blind small business owners. One dove right in as a young man and has operated several businesses, including restaurants, bars, and even a motorcycle shop. Another started her business slowly, while still working a full-time job and caring for her family. Another was a successful businessman who became blind recently; he got training, persevered, and is now looking to grow his very successful catering business.

Earl Smith has owned Smith’s Catering for 20 years. When he lost his vision in 2015, he did not give up his business; he took another road. With blindness training and his strong work ethic, Earl feeds our military troops at Fort Meade and provides jobs for our community.

Eileen Rivera Ley owns a successful consulting business, and Mike Bullis has started and run multiple businesses throughout his life. These two blind entrepreneurs guide us through their trials and tribulations and provide a fabulous roadmap for any aspiring small business owner.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Bridges Blog Independent Living Resources Recreation Resources

National Goof Off Day #NationalGoofOffDay with the Free Bridges Helpdesk

Have you ever noticed just how many national and international celebratory days there are on the calendar? Join the Bridges Helpdesk this month to delight in some of our favorite themed days with us! Topics include:

  • March 1: International Zero Discrimination Day #ZeroDiscriminationDay
  • March 8: National Proofreading Day #NationalProofreadingDay
  • March 15: World Social Work Day #WSWD
  • March 22: National Goof Off Day #NationalGoofOffDay
  • March 29: National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day #MomAndPopBusinessOwnersDay

Today, we celebrate National Goof Off Day by sharing some fun and accessible activities that can help us all relax and take a break from our hectic lives!

Why It Matters

At the Bridges Helpdesk, we know that setting goals, self-advocacy, and supports and services for blind and low vision students are important. But we also know that no one can be successful without taking a step back to relax, goof off, and have a break. We all need time to recharge, and recharging is even better when it is accessible! See below for suggestions about accessible TV shows and movies and games! We hope that you will take the time in your busy schedule to goof off!

Movies and Shows

I don’t know about you, but the Bridges Helpdesk team members love to kick back with a good audio-described movie. With audio description options available across almost all streaming platforms, blind and low vision users can do just that with the press of a few buttons!

Audio description provides verbal descriptions of visual elements of a movie, television show, or other videos. These elements include unspoken words on the screen, descriptions of the setting, and details about characters’ non-verbal actions, facial expressions, dress, etc.

Audio description (AD) is built into the video. In professional AD, the AD voice is usually different than that of the actors, and the description is inserted between the dialogue. Even sighted individuals can enjoy a film with their eyes closed! Find out more about AD at “All About Audio Description” from the American Council of the Blind (ACB).  

Many streaming platforms and television providers have audio description; it just needs to be activated. See below for links to instructions for activation and title lists for some popular streaming services. This is not an exhaustive list so please reach out to us if you have questions about any service:

Many television providers also provide audio description if the audio description track has been recorded for a particular show. If you have questions regarding your specific provider, please contact the Bridges Helpdesk.  

Games

Nothing wrong with some friendly competition! No matter what types of games you enjoy, there is sure to be an accessible version. Refer to this list for fun and interactive games that are completely accessible:

  • In-Person Games:
    • You can also explore 64 Ounce Games. Check out their accessible games and their accessibility kits.
  • Virtual Games:
    • RS Games, which is available on computer or smart phone. Players can enjoy choosing from twenty accessible game options, including Monopoly, Scrabble, and Uno.
    • QuentinC’s Playroom. This platform can be used by downloading the app to your PC, or playing over the Internet. Players can access 29 different games, including Dominos, Quiz Party, Chess, and 1000 Miles. 
    • To play games on your phone, you can download the Dice World app. You can choose from six dice games, including Farkle and Yatzee. The app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Employment Resources

World Social Work Day #WSWD – Learning from Blind Professionals in the Field

Have you ever noticed just how many national and international celebratory days there are on the calendar? Join the Bridges Helpdesk this month to delight in some of our favorite themed days with us! Topics include:

  • March 1: International Zero Discrimination Day #ZeroDiscriminationDay
  • March 8: National Proofreading Day #NationalProofreadingDay
  • March 15: World Social Work Day #WSWD
  • March 22: National Goof Off Day #NationalGoofOffDay
  • March 29: National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day #MomAndPopBusinessOwnersDay

Today, we share great advice and insights from two blind social workers in our area. These talented professionals share their favorite aspects of their social work careers. They also discuss blindness-specific challenges they have faced and overcome. They then give their advice about a social work career, and we share information about how to contact the Free Bridges Helpdesk.

Laura Havard is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), and she has more than thirty years of experience in the social work field. Her career has primarily concentrated on providing information and support to patients in healthcare settings.

Shawn Callaway is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) who works in Washington. D.C. Shawn enjoys working as a head case manager for clients who are blind/have low vision, and he also serves as a regional and national leader as president of the National Federation of the Blind of the District of Columbia and as a member of the Board of the National Federation of the Blind.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Teen Blog

Mar 22 Teen and Young Adult Newsletter


News from IMAGE Teen and Young Adult Programs March 2022

Highlights

Solutions 22 is right around the corner, and we want to make it a special evening. Join us as we honor our Volunteers and Partners & Celebrate four decades of innovation of service to people with disabilities. Friday evening, April 29th.

Cylburn Arboretum
4915 Greenspring Ave – 21209
There will also be livestream participation.

QR code that you can scan with your phone to register yourself for Solutions 22.

Save the Date!

Scan the QR Code or Click Below to Register for the Event.
Click Here to Register

Multiple squares in orange and teal stating that the IMAGE Center of Maryland and VME are having a celebration called Solutions 22.
Alt Text: April 29th Solutions 22. Older black and white image of three people looking off in the same direction. Second image is of a young man riding a specialized bike, wearing a helmet.


Logo for the Youth Leadership Form. "Where Leadership Takes Flight".
Alt Text: MD-YLF Logo (a bird flying past the capital building). Reads. Maryland Youth Leadership Forum. Where Leadership Takes Flight. Open to: Maryland Students with disabilities in their last two years of high school
Cost: The forum is FREE for all of our participants
Date: June 23 rd to 25 th 2022
Location: Towson University
Deadline to apply: Please get applications in ASAP
Interviews: Danielle Bustos, Maryland Youth Leadership Coordinator will contact applicants
about scheduling interviews.


About Youth Leadership Forum (YLF)


 Learn about assistive technology and how it can help gain independence
 Participate in the YLF Paint Night, Build Self Advocacy Skill poetry, and other social
activities.
 Meet people with disabilities who serve various roles in the community.
 Learn about the legislative process and advocacy.
 Meet alumni and other students from the state of Maryland.
 Meet Your State representatives.

For more information contact, Danielle Bustos at 240-898-2189/ dbustos@innow.org
or Shannon Minnick at 240-638-0070/sminnick@innow.org

Peer Mentor Spotlight

Female Connect Program Participant sips on her drink while playing a game of Would You Rather? with a female Peer Mentor holding a game card at a restaurant during a Connect program event.
Alt Text: Female Connect program participant sipping on a drink at a table with a female Peer Mentor reading a game card and smiling.
Peer Mentor Application is CLOSED!

Applications for students wishing to become Peer Mentors for the Spring session of the Connect program are now CLOSED.
Interested in applying for Peer Mentorship? Email Jessica Leone for upcoming application windows.

Questions? Email Jessica Leone at Jleone@imagemd.org

Celebrating Fearless Moments

Alt Text: Female Connect Participant Julia Kirk smiling at the camera wearing a “Be Kind” T-shirt.

FEARLESSLY Julia
Fearless Moment Highlight from Instructional Support Specialist Ms. Amanda Taylor ~
“Julia Kirk has been a participant of our teen and young adult programs for many years, and she recently returned to participate in our Connect Program. Her progress has been outstanding, and she demonstrates a fearless attitude during each of our group sessions! Julia is always eager to speak up and answer questions in group discussions. She doesn’t mind being the first to answer, and she shows the rest of the group members that it’s ok to speak up and share your thoughts. She serves as a role model for others by having a positive attitude toward learning and participating. She also shows encouragement to her peers, and she provides support when she is interacting with the group by showing empathy and understanding. We think Julia does a wonderful job of showing us how to be fearless”! 
Here is to being FEARLESSLY you today!

Upcoming Events

The Connect Program
Registering now for our virtual sessions!

Mar. 1Mar. 15Mar. 29Apr. 12Apr. 26May 10
The Connect Program is a program that empowers teens and young adults with disabilities to step outside of their comfort zone, make connections with their community, build social experiences and recognize and achieve skills needed for increased independence in adulthood. These skills include money management, time management, social and communication skills, personal hygiene, meal planning and decision making skills just to name a few.

Contact jleone@imagemd.org learn more.
Click here to Register

PreETS Self Awareness and Self Advocacy Training Program
Registration now open for sessions through May!

Want to be referred for this program?Contact Jessica Leone jleone@imagemd.org for information
The Self Awareness & Self Advocacy Training program through DORS is a five week program utilizing curriculum designed to empower teens with disabilities to explore areas of self awareness and promote the importance of self advocacy to enhance the overall independence and vocational opportunity of each student. During this program students will work with professional staff from The IMAGE Center to begin to engage in curriculum addressing Self Awareness & Advocacy, Disclosing Disability, Rights, Future Outlook, Transition Outlook and Utilizing Resources.
Contact jleone@imagemd.org learn more.

Support Youth Programs at The IMAGE Center

http://weblink.donorperfect.com/ConnectatIMAGE

Categories
Accessible Assistive Technology Resources Bridges Blog

National Proofreading Day – Tips for Accessible Proofreading

Have you ever noticed just how many national and international celebratory days there are on the calendar? Join the Bridges Helpdesk this month to delight in some of our favorite themed days with us! Topics include:

  • March 1: International Zero Discrimination Day #ZeroDiscriminationDay
  • March 8: National Proofreading Day #NationalProofreadingDay
  • March 15: World Social Work Day #WSWD
  • March 22: National Goof Off Day #NationalGoofOffDay
  • March 29: National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day #MomAndPopBusinessOwnersDay

Today, join us as we discuss accessible proofreading for National Proofreading Day.

Individual Proofreading

When you turn in assignments or professional documents, proofreading will keep all of your content as error-free as possible. Proofreading is a critical skill and is one of the keys to advanced writing. Here are some suggestions for proofreading your documents:

Braille Technology

  • If you have a Braille display, you can read exactly what is written on the computer in your document rather than listening to it with a screen reader.
  • This can help you catch spelling and grammar errors that you may not have noticed when listening.
  • You could also choose to use hard copy Braille by utilizing an embosser to create almost instantaneous copies of your text.

Spelling and Grammar Checks

  • Microsoft Office and other programs have built-in spelling and grammar checks which are accessible with screen readers. The layout of the menus for these features will depend on the version of Microsoft you have as well as the length of your document.
  • For all checks, however, the proofreading starting key is F7. Here is a link at which you can learn more about Microsoft Editor features, which is available in newer versions of Word. If you have another version of Word and would like document proofing tips, the Bridges Helpdesk is here to help!

Screen Reader Settings

Collaborative Proofreading

Proofreading your own work is important, but many assignments will require you to offer revision suggestions on others’ work and receive edit suggestions on your work in return. In our increasingly virtual world, both blind and sighted individuals are relying more heavily upon track changes and comments in documents rather than the old method of red pen and X marks to make revision recommendations. There are two different types of virtual edits with which you can interact: comments and track changes.

  • Comments offer written remarks on a document and can be placed within the document, at the end of the document, or in a separate document.
  • Track changes are a copy-editing tool which allows a person to make wording, punctuation, or other small revisions on the document.

Comments

  • To add a comment in a document, move to the location in the document where you wish to add the comment.
  • Press the APPLICATIONS key to open the Context menu. Arrow down until JAWS says “new comment”.  You can then type your comment and press ESCAPE when finished.
  • To view comments made by others in a document or to review your own comments, press WINDOWS+; and choose “Comments”. You can then use your arrow keys to navigate through the comments. You can edit or delete a comment by pressing the APPLICATIONS key when focus is on the comment on which you want to take action.

Track Changes

  • Turn track changes on and off by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+E.
  • To navigate through a preexisting list of track changes, press INSERT+Z. Use the letter R to move through the list of track changes. The APPLICATIONS key will give you the option to reject or accept each track change.
  • More information on Tracking Changes with JAWS

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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