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Associated Services for the Blind Celebrates The 57th Annual Louis Braille Awards

The 57th Annual Louis Braille Awards

The Rittenhouse Hotel

210 West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Friday, January 27, 2017, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

HISTORY OF THE LOUIS BRAILLE AWARD

Since 1959, Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ASB) has annually bestowed the prestigious Louis Braille Award to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions on behalf of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The award has also been given to people who are blind or visually impaired who have overcome great odds to make outstanding achievements and have provided inspiration to others living with a visual disability. Proceeds raised from the awards ceremony directly benefit ASB’s programs and services.

 

2017 Honorary Chair

 

Honorary Chair Sashi Reddi, Founder of SRI Capital
 
Sashi was the CEO and founder of AppLabs, a global software testing company based out of Philadelphia which was later acquired by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in September of 2011.  Post-acquisition, Sashi took over leadership of the Independent Testing Services division within CSC, and in September 2012 was elevated to lead CSC’s Big Data and Analytics business.  Currently Sashi is the Managing Partner of SRI Capital.  SRI Capital is a seed stage fund invested in various technology and media companies in the US, UK and India. 

Sashi serves on the Advisory Board for the Wharton school where he is a Trustee.  He is on the Advisory Board for T-Hub which is slated to become the largest incubator in India.  Sashi is also on the Board of  Directors for Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA which supported the growth of over 1,750 regional technology businesses over the last 30 years. 

Most notably, Sashi is the Founder of TiE Philadelphia which is one of the most influential entrepreneurship organizations globally with over 10,000 members.


 

2017 LOUIS BRAILLE AWARDS HONOREES

 

Individual Award Honoree Paul Schroeder - Consultant and Former VP, Programs and Policy Group, American Foundation for the Blind

As former Vice President of Programs and Policy, Paul oversaw all of the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB) national programmatic efforts in aging, education, employment, literacy, and technology, as well as AFB’s public policy and research agendas.  Paul was intimately involved in AFB’s technology
initiatives, including efforts to encourage the development of mainstream products and services that are accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.

Mr. Schroeder also collaborates with several other organizations working on policy matters in the field of blindness and visual impairment.  He is regularly called upon to provide input on a variety of issues to governmental agencies, private industry, and nonprofit organizations. 

His policy expertise and activities include the areas of telecommunications and technology policy, vocational rehabilitation, education, and public health.  Mr. Schroeder is also the senior contributing editor for AccessWorld: Technology for Consumers with Visual Impairments, published by AFB Press.

 

Special Recognition Award Honoree Jeremy Poincenot - World Blind Golf Champion
& Inspirational Speaker

Jeremy is a World Blind Golf Champion.  At 19, Jeremy was a sophomore at San Diego State University with 20/20 vision.  Without warning and in the span of a few months, Jeremy lost central vision in his right eye, followed by his left.   His vision loss was the result of a rare genetic disorder called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a disease that affects a mere 100 people in the United States each year with no treatment nor cure.  

Within a year after losing his eyesight, Jeremy won the World Blind Golf Championships in England.  Today, he strives to raise awareness for LHON, and has created the C.U.R.E. ride (Cycling Under Reduced  Eyesight), an annual fundraising bike ride that has raised over $200,000 for LHON research.  Since losing his vision, Jeremy has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, CNN.com, and MTV’s True Life.  Additionally, he has presented motivational speeches to many companies including Wells Fargo, Aflac, Honda, and John Hancock where he has delivered the message that life is about making choices, and if you choose to have a positive outlook, resolute purpose, and a hint of humor, anything and everything is possible. 

 


Individual Award Honoree Chris Downey - AIA, Architecture for the Blind

With 20 years of architectural practice before losing all sight in 2008, Chris Downey now leverages his disability as a unique strength specializing in projects rooted in universal design and in projects that are specific to or challenging for people who are blind and visually impaired.  Whether rehabilitation or transit centers, eye clinics, or museums, he designs environments that are accessible with particular care and focus on visual accessibility and the non-visual experience.  In all cases, Chris engages the principles of universal design advocating further toward his concept of universal delight.


Corporate Award Honoree Apple

Apple believes technology should be accessible to everyone.  Intuitive by design, Macs, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and Apple TV come with accessibility features built right in, making them powerful and affordable assistive devices.  Apple built the world’s first full featured screen reader directly into an operating system in the Mac, made the first touchscreen accessible with iPhone, and delivered the first accessible consumer wearable with Apple Watch - all built to be set-up out-of-the box without sighted assistance.  Apple also supports braille across Mac and iOS devices with braille tables for more than 25 languages and plug-and-play connectivity for over 70 models of refreshable braille displays.  Learn more:  http://www.apple.com/accessibility/.

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