Community Updates

Join Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired is pleased to be participating in Disability Pride Philadelphia Week in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Join us TUESDAY, JULY 7 at 11 A.M. to discuss the film, Going Blind: Coming Out of the Dark About Vision Loss. In Going Blind, Peabody-award-winning director, Joseph Lovett, tells the stories of everyday people and how they have adapted to vision loss, along with his personal journey with glaucoma. This discussion panel will serve as an opportunity to discuss the film’s themes as well as a forum to relate to one another’s experience with vision loss.

Our panelists will include:

  • Filmmaker Joseph Lovett
  • Clinical Associate of Ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute, Dr. Ranjoo Prasad, OD
  • ASB’s Director of Education and Enrichment and President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, Lynn Heitz

All participants will be given access to the film upon registration and are encouraged to watch or listen to the audio-described film prior to the July 7 panel discussion.
 
To register for this discussion and receive access to the film, email Beth Deering at BDeering@asb.org.

Update: June 19, 2020

Dear Members of the ASB Community,

Thank you so much for being part of ASB’s virtual journey over these last many months.  We are grateful for your flexibility and for our ability to stay connected with you throughout these challenging times.

We continue to strengthen our stay-at-home programming and have seen an increase in the number of people that we have been able to serve remotely.  For now, even as some of the City of Philadelphia’s stay-at-home restrictions are easing, ASB’s remote education and training will remain in place until July 31.  These decisions continue to be made from the standpoint of minimizing any exposure to COVID-19.  At the end of July, we will reassess to determine whether these remote/off-site measures need to be sustained. 

In the meantime, please continue to reach out to us and attend our programming virtually and by phone. We are here to support you, not only through training but also through our support groups, one-on-one connections, and resources page.

Our commitment to serving you continues.  Stay well. 

Take care,
Karla S. McCaney, President & CEO

Update: June 17, 2020

Last night, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced that he would be designating June 19 – Juneteenth – as an official city holiday.  We applaud Mayor Kenney for this decision, which he described as “one small but meaningful step toward repairing the damages inflicted on Black Americans throughout our country’s history.”  Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to ensure that enslaved people were freed – over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln.

We salute this development in the City of Philadelphia and will, in turn be observing Juneteenth.  As such, all ASB virtual services and programs will be closed this Friday, June 19, 2020.  We hope that you can use this time in any number of ways to support, learn more about, and honor the spirit of Juneteenth and the call for sustainable, meaningful change in our city, country, and around the globe. 

Update: June 3, 2020

Dear Members of the ASB Community:

To say that the last several months have been challenging is putting it mildly, but as a community, you have remained connected and engaged with our staff and each other through ASB’s online and by-phone training sessions and other programs.  We are so pleased to have been able to continue these important offerings in support of Philadelphia’s low-vision and blind community throughout this time.

Now, the events of the last week have reemphasized another important dimension for all of us.  They reflect how helpless so many feel about the same narratives of discrimination playing out time and again and how desperately people are rightly seeking change toward a more just and inclusive world.  We hope that the collective approach to change can be productive, peaceful, meaningful, and ongoing so that equity and inclusion become a given for all. 

If you are seeking resources to find support, especially  now, here are some to consider: 

Philly 311: (dial 311 or 215-686-8686)

Department of Human Services Statewide Support & Referral Helpline: (1-855-284-2494; for TTY, dial 724-631-5600)

City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health: For uninsured the number is 215-685-5400 and for Medicaid eligible the number is 888-545-2600. 

City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (OEM): To receive text alerts to your phone text ReadyPhila to 888-777

As we’ve shared previously, we do anticipate continuing our services for you, virtually and by phone, for the foreseeable future, even if the City of Philadelphia begins to lift stay-at-home restrictions.  This will be important to minimize risk and help mitigate any resurgence of the virus among our community.  Many of the people we serve, as well as some staff members, manage a variety of chronic health issues, and many are senior citizens.  The last thing we would want to do is contribute to the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by opening our physical location too soon.

Please keep us apprised about how you are doing.  We will get through this time together and always with a commitment to each other and our collective safety and wellbeing as one, inclusive ASB community.

Update: May 8, 2020

Dear Members of the ASB Community:

We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.

As the Philadelphia area awaits further updates about Governor Wolf’s reopening plan in Pennsylvania, at Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, we are carefully thinking through all of the factors that would need to be in place before we consider a reopening plan for our in-person services.  Our top priority, always, is ensuring that our participants and staff stay safe and healthy.  Many of the people we serve have a variety of chronic health issues, and many are senior citizens.  Given the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, ASB’s physical location on Walnut  Street will remain closed, and we will continue to provide education, training, and support digitally and by phone for the foreseeable future.  

No matter the way in which we connect and serve you, our objective remains the same: to provide education, training, and resources to help individuals with visual impairment to gain independence and improved quality of life. Even though our timeline to return to in-person services is indefinite, we are here to support you.

So many of you have been connecting with our virtual resources, support, and training programs throughout this challenging time, and we encourage you to continue to check in during Office Hours and Virtual Training sessions, and check out our online our Stay-At-Home Resources and Support page as it is continually updated with new content and activities.  Here is a list of ways to stay connected now:

  • NEW: Our Stay-At-Home Resources and Support page, featuring activities, games, educational resources, and links to important City of Philadelphia resources
  • NEW: Weekly “Office Hours” with Lynn Heitz, Director of Education and Enrichment Programs
    • Tuesdays 11-12 p.m. and Thursdays 3-4 p.m.
    • Dial-in number: 605-475-6006
    • Access code: 849659
  • NEW: Virtual Training
    • Many of our classes are available for registration on a rolling basis. If you are interested in joining, please call into the Office Hours line to sign up.
  • COMING UP: Instructive video training

FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, SOCIAL WORKERS & CASE MANAGERS:  If you have patients who are blind or visually impaired and would benefit from support and training, you can refer them to ASB now.  Our intake process remains the same.  Click here for details. 

As always, if you need support or have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out. Please call 215-821-6151, and you will be directed to the appropriate person. We will continue to update you here on our website, and on ASB’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. We look forward to continuing to adapt our programming to best suit your needs now.

Thinking of you all!

Karla S. McCaney, President & CEO

Update: April 21, 2020

Dear Members of the ASB Community:

We hope that you are staying safe and healthy.

Yesterday, Governor Wolf extended the state’s stay-at-home order and continued closure of non-essential businesses through May 8.  As a result, ASB’s offices and in-person training and education classes will remain closed through at least May 8.  We are, however, available virtually to support you at this time.

Please call us directly at 215-821-6151 if you need support, and you will be directed to the appropriate ASB staff member.  Also please explore our new stay-at-home resources and support page on www.asb.org for our schedule of weekly Office Hours and virtual training sessions as well as a full list of curated resources that can help you build your skills and stay engaged and connected while at home. 

As always, we will continue to monitor all local, state, and CDC guidelines, and communicate any updates on this website and on ASB’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Thinking of you!

Be well,

Karla S. McCaney, President & CEO

Update: April 17, 2020

With the temporary closure of ASB’s offices and classrooms, we are pleased to be bringing you a new, special web page of Stay-At-Home Resources and Support.  In addition to the continuing outreach and training that ASB staff members are conducting (see ASB Resources below), we are curating for you a variety of activities, games, educational resources, and links to important City of Philadelphia resources.  We will keep updating and adding to these pages, so check back often! 

Update: March 31, 2020

Dear Members of the ASB Community:

Yesterday, Governor Wolf extended the stay-at-home order and continued closure of non-essential businesses through April 30 for 26 Pennsylvania counties, including Philadelphia County and the suburban counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.  As a result, ASB will remain closed through at least April 30 to be in compliance with the Governor’s order.  We will continue to monitor all local, state, and CDC guidelines, and communicate any changes on this website and on ASB’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. 

We completely understand that this temporary closure of ASB’s offices and classrooms may be difficult for you. 

  • If you need support, please call 215-821-6151, and you will be directed to the appropriate person.  Also please know that our staff is working daily to provide regular outreach by phone to check in on our ASB family. 
  • NEW weekly “Office Hours” with Lynn Heitz, Director of Education and Enrichment Programs are available.  Call in just to talk,  share concerns, or get connected to other resources in the city.  The open “Office Hours” schedule is Tuesdays 11-12 and Thursdays 3-4. The dial in number is 605-475-6006 and the access code is 849659. 
  • NEW Virtual Trainings.  If you are interested in joining, please call into the Office Hours line to sign up. We will be sharing updates with participants regularly.

We are thinking of all of you.  Be well, and stay in touch.

Karla S. McCaney, President & CEO

Update: March 27, 2020

Dear Members of the ASB Community:

We hope that you and those closest to you are staying safe and well during this time.

Like you, we continue to evaluate the changing situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and have determined that ASB will remain closed to staff, volunteers, guests, and program participants until Monday, April 6, 2020.  We will continue to monitor all local, state, and CDC guidelines and, going forward, will make decisions on a weekly basis about a reopening timeline.  All weekly updates will be posted on Thursdays by end of day.

You can also check our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for updates.

Sincerely,

Karla S. McCaney President & CEO

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

The City of Philadelphia recommends the following resources for updated information on the city’s response to the spread of COVID-19.

The City of Philadelphia Website

The City of Philadelphia COVID-19 Information

Find Free Meals and Safe Spaces for Students While Schools are Closed

The City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management

Sign Up for ReadyPhiladelphia Alerts from the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management’s Emergency Alert System

Update, Office Closure: March 14, 2020 3:00 p.m.

Dear Members of the ASB Community,

Effective by the close of business on Monday, March 16 and up to and including March 30, ASB is closing all offices, classroom educational training, one-on-one training, recreational activities, support groups, and programming until further notice.  For those staff with computer and Internet access at home, they will be working remotely during this time.  This action allows for appropriate social distancing and is aligned with CDC guidelines, the counsel of national and local health agencies, and similar closings in our community. We will reassess and post updates if there are any changes.

Please note, at this time we have no reported cases of COVID-19 at ASB.  We made this decision proactively according to national, state, and city guidance and an abundance of caution for the health and wellbeing of the ASB community.

Important: If any ASB program participant or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19 during this time, please contact Beth Deering at 215-627-0600 ext. 3398 after proper reporting with your local health professional. By letting ASB know of any confirmed cases, we can provide outreach to all those you may have been in contact with. This is a critical step to help contain the spread of the virus.

We will continue to actively monitor actively the guidelines and information from national, state, and local health agencies. For information on prevention, symptoms, and what to do if you feel sick, please go to the Centers for Disease Control website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

This is an unprecedented decision for ASB, but it is an unprecedented situation. I assure you that this decision was made with careful discernment and the greatest concern for our staff, ASB participants, and for all members of the Philadelphia community.

We will continue to provide the latest information on the ASB website (www.asb.org) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ASBPhilly/) and will notify all engaged with ASB as to when we will resume our scheduled classes and programs. 

Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation during this time.

Sincerely, Karla S. McCaney
President & CEO

Update: March 13, 2020 12:00 p.m.

Dear Members of the ASB Community,

Effective Monday, March 16 through and including Monday, March 30 we are taking the significant step of suspending all classroom educational training, one-on-one training, recreational, support groups, and programming at the Associated Services for the Blind’s 919 Walnut Street building based on local, state, and CDC guidelines, and similar closings in our community.

Please note, at this time we have no reported cases of COVID-19 at ASB.  We made this decision proactively out of an abundance of caution for the health and wellbeing of the ASB community. ASB is actively following the guidelines and information issued by national and regional experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and our state and local departments of health to make further decisions.

Important: If any ASB program participant is diagnosed with COVID-19 during this time, please contact Beth Deering at 215-627-0600 ext. 3398 after proper reporting with your local health professional. Letting ASB and the Pennsylvania Department of Health know your current status will allow us to provide outreach to all those you may have been in contact with. This is a critical step to help contain the spread of the virus.

We will continue to actively monitor actively the guidelines and information from national, state, and local health agencies. For information on prevention, symptoms, and what to do if you feel sick, please go to the Centers for Disease Control website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

This is an unprecedented decision for ASB, but it is an unprecedented situation. I assure you that this decision was made with careful discernment and the greatest concern for our staff, ASB participants, and for all members of the Philadelphia community.

We will continue to provide the latest information on the ASB website (www.asb.org) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ASBPhilly/) and will notify all engaged with ASB as to when we will resume our scheduled classes and programs.  We will reevaluate our ability to reopen and notification of reopening will be on our website and Facebook by Monday, March 30.

Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation during this time.

Sincerely,

Karla S. McCaney
President & CEO

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The health and safety of all who visit and work with ASB is a top priority. With the height of the annual flu season upon us and evolving information regarding the novel coronavirus in the U.S. and internationally, we are sharing the following guidelines for utilizing ASB services. These are especially appropriate now but are also true at all times throughout the year.

If you feel ill, please do not attend ASB classes or activities. This is best for you and for others you may come in contact with.

Symptoms of the flu and coronavirus include fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as cough and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia and other complications, especially in infants, older individuals, and those with underlying health conditions.

Please remember the steps we take every day to help prevent any respiratory illness:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm or tissues, not your bare hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick. 

Inspiring Independence

If you or someone you know is experiencing low vision or blindness, we can help.

Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ASB) promotes health and independence. We provide classes and training in life skills and accessible technology and offer enriching arts, cultural and community activities in Philadelphia. We can also connect you with regional agencies and information to help you navigate issues related to health, housing, employment, education, transportation, and more.

At ASB, you are welcomed as an individual who has unique life experiences and motivations. We encourage you to participate in classes and programming at the level of support you need, based on the skills you already have and the goals and interest you wish to pursue.

Live more independently and explore your community confidently with ASB.

Getting Started with ASB

If you or someone you know has low vision or blindness, explore the range of ASB classes and programs that can provide support, education, and access to resources. From mobility training and life skills classes to using technology, connecting with community-based activities, and more, ASB can help you strengthen your independence and confidence.

Our Programs

doctor showing eye model to patient

Refer a Client or Patient

ASB welcomes the opportunity to support your clients or patients with low vision or blindness. Whether they are experiencing new diagnoses or have lived with vision challenges throughout their lives, we can help support an independent, fulfilling lifestyle, according to their individual goals and interests.

Refer a Client or Patient

Get Involved

Donate or become a volunteer.

Join Us

Announcements