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School children visiting our Braille Production Plant
Conveniently located in Center City - Downtown Philadelphia, PA
Our Gardening Program is challenging and enjoyable!
Guide Dog Appreciation Day at ASB. These service animals know why they're there!
The Philadelphia Phillies take time out to recognize one of their many visually impaired fans!
Vision loss isn't the end of the road - it's a new road and we're here to help!

Who We Are? serving the blind & visually impaired

asb frontIf you’ve been affected by blindness or visual impairment, know someone who has, or if you’re just seeking information, you’ve come to the right place.

ASB is a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring self-esteem, independence and self determination among people who are blind or visually impaired.

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What We Do? promote self-esteem & independence

rehab tourAdapting to life with little or no vision can be a daunting challenge. Fear and uncertainty can be overwhelming. Even a lifelong home can suddenly become foreign and perilous. In blindness or visual impairment, much of what a sighted person takes for granted needs to be relearned in a completely new way.

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What You Can Do? we depend on you!

volunteer giftWe’re dedicated to the work we do and the people we serve, but we can’t do it without help. The services, education and support that we offer are possible, in large part, thanks to the generosity of those who give their time or financial resources.

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Honorary Chairman Larry Kane and ASB Celebrate The 53rd Annual Louis Braille Awards

LB53 LG

Larry Kane, known as the dean of Philadelphia television news anchors, served as Honorary Chairman and expertly addressed the crowd of business leaders, politicians and attendees.  

The prestigious Special Recognition Award was presented to Merrill Reese, The voice of the Philadelphia Eagles, who was introduced by Pat Deon, chairman of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).  

Receiving Individual Recognition Awards were Tom Wlodkowski, who recently joined Philadelphia-based cable giant, Comcast Cable, as the Vice President of Accessibility and Steve Baskis.  Tom was introduced by David Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation, and Steve was introduced by Jack Tomarchio, President of Agoge Group, LLC.

For more information regarding  this years honorees or honorary chairman, please contact Public Relations Officer, Brian Rusk at 215.627.0600, x3242 email Brian Rusk.

Associated Services for the Blind Celebrates
The 53rd Annual Louis Braille Awards

Loews Philadelphia Hotel
Friday, January 25, 2013, 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. It 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.

Larry

Honorary Chairman Larry Kane

Larry Kane, known as the dean of Philadelphia television news anchors, has been one of the nation’s most respected TV journalists for more than 43 years, and has recently marked his 51st anniversary in broadcasting.  Kane, is current host of the Voice of Reason program on The Comcast Network and is also a special contributor for CBS’s KYW Newsradio, and a consultant for NBC Regional and National Sports.

This veteran of 21 political conventions since 1968 is perhaps most well known for his insight on American politics and government.  Those stories were featured in 2000 in his first book “Larry Kane’s Philadelphia,” a regional best seller.  As the only broadcast journalist to travel to every stop on the Beatle’s 1964 and 1965 tours, Kane authored “Ticket to Ride” in 2003 and “Lennon Revealed,” a New York Times and Los Angeles Times Bestseller in 2005.  His most recent book is “Death By Deadline,” a murder mystery novel that examines the challenges facing local TV News.

The Emmy Award-winning newsman is best known for the success of Action News at WPVI in Philadelphia, where he helped propel the station in one year, from 1970 to 1971, to first place in the news ratings.  Kane is the only news anchor to anchor a total of 38 years at all three Philadelphia owned and operated TV stations.

His assignments have included the Middle East peace talks, the return of the American hostages to Wiesbaden, West Germany, the devastating earthquake in Naples, Italy, the 1987 Superpower Summit between Reagan and Gorbachev and an in-depth interview in Poland with Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa.  Kane has interviewed a virtual who’s who of newsmakers, including every President from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama.

Recognized as a leading proponent of the rights of the disabled, Kane is campaign chairman of the Delaware Valley Multiple Sclerosis Society.  For 25 years, Kane has broadcast weekly features on radio and TV in connection with the National Adoption Center to find homes for waiting children.  Along with many non-profit endeavors, Kane serves on the board of the Jewish Exponent and Inside Magazine.

Merril

Special Recognition Award Honoree Merrill Reese

Merrill Reese has been the voice of the blind and visually impaired community for the Philadelphia Eagles since 1977.  Mr. Reese’s  detailed and enthusiastic descriptions help keep blind and visually impaired listeners up to date with the action of their favorite football team.  His legendary voice and delivery have been entertaining those who are blind or visually impaired for decades.

Reese honed his skills as a student at Temple University, where he broadcast football, baseball, and Big 5 college basketball.  Following graduation, he served as a public affairs officer in the U.S. Navy.  Following active duty, Merrill began his professional career at WPAZ Radio in Pottstown, PA.  A year later, he landed at WBCB in Levittown, PA.

During the 1980’s, he handled the morning sports and served as sports director of WIP Radio, one of the most successful broadcast entities in the country, and a favorite of the blind and visually impaired to go for their sports updates.  He was also the communications director and the television play-by-play host for the Philadelphia Freedoms of World Team Tennis.  Later, he teamed with Hall of Fame tennis star Billie Jean King on telecasts for the Madison Square Garden network in New York.  He was also the on-camera host and play-by-play voice of ESPN’s award-winning series, “NFL Dream Season,” in 1990.  Merrill is also a managing partner and Vice President and  General Manager of WBCB 1490 AM.

Reese is an avid golfer and competes in numerous charity tournaments.  He is the celebrity chairman of the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation.  He is also the honorary chairman of the Bucks County March of Dimes.  In addition, he has worked with the Spina Bifida Foundation, Toys for Tots, Habitat for Humanity, the Eagles Youth Partnership, and the Eagles Fly for Leukemia.

Tom

Individual Award Honoree Tom Wlodkowski

Tom Wlodkowski recently joined Philadelphia-based cable giant, Comcast Cable, as the Vice President of Accessibility.  In this newly-created position, he is tasked with developing a strategic plan focused on the usability of Comcast’s products and services by people with disabilities and pursuing other opportunities to further enrich the customer service experience for the disabled community.  

Throughout his career, Tom has been a pioneer in the accessibility field.  Blind himself, he has been a champion for people with disabilities, working to improve usability of mainstream Internet, mobile, broadcast and cable television technology.   Prior to joining Comcast, he served as the Director of Accessibility at AOL for over 10 years.  In his office there was a poster that said “If a man who is blind can get to the top of Mount Everest, then he should be able to get anywhere he wants on AOL”.  Tom’s objective was to ensure just that.  He made certain AOL’s products and services were accessible not only to customers who were blind, but also those with other disabilities.

Tom also held positions at the WGBH Media Access Group, home to the Descriptive Video Service, Caption Center and the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM).  While at NCAM, he helped develop audio menus for DVD’s and guidelines to improve the accessibility of educational multimedia software.

A graduate of Boston College, Tom currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the American Foundation for the Blind.

Steve

Individual Award Honoree Steve Baskis

Since he was a child, Steve Baskis wanted to serve in the military.  In January 2007, like his father, grandfather, and many other family members before him, he enlisted in the Army with the goal of becoming a Green Beret.  Steve graduated with honors from Fort Benning Infantry Training Battalion and earned a meritorious promotion.  Soon after, he was stationed with the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas.  By the end of 2007, Steve and his platoon were in Iraq and tasked to protect a General.  

Only 8 months into his deployment, on May 13, 2008, everything changed for Steve.  His squad was attacked while on combat patrol and a sophisticated roadside bomb sent a projectile through his thickly armored vehicle, killing his friend and severely wounding Steve.  A week later, he woke up in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, groggy, disoriented, and without sight.  Over the next six weeks, he would undergo over a dozen surgeries to remove shrapnel and repair the damage that included a fractured nose, fractured eye orbits, fractured skull, and 3rd degree burns.  Steve amazed his doctors with the speed of his recovery and his attitude.  As soon as his doctors permitted, he transferred to Hines VA Blind Rehabilitation Center in Chicago, Illinois.  For the next four months, he learned how to get around without vision and how to use adaptive technology (computer, iPhone, GPS, etc.).

As an admitted “adrenaline junkie,” Steve was eager to participate in sports that would get him back in shape. He competed as a cyclist in the State Games of America and in a half Ironman in Augusta, Georgia.  He then became involved with the Soldiers to Summits (S2S) program, led by adventurer and former Louis Braille Award recipient, Erik Weihenmayer.  Together they climbed the third highest volcano in Mexico.  In the following S2S expedition, Erik, Steve and 10 other wounded veterans summited Lobuche East.  The Lobuche East climb was filmed and since made into a documentary by Academy Award nominated producer Don Hahn and award winning director Michael Brown.  The film “High Ground” was released in November, 2012.

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Our Mission our work

our mission smAssociated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ASB) is a private non-profit organization created to promote self-esteem, independence and self-determination in people who are blind or visually impaired.

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