Good Works Wednesday: December 15, 2021

Good Works Wednesday

A newsletter celebrating ASB progress, programs and people

At Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, we work every day to help individuals build skills and gain access to the information, experiences and resources they need to live the lives they wish to lead. We are an agency for anyone, anywhere on the vision loss continuum and offer education, training, community-based enrichment opportunities and referrals to help them achieve their individual goals.

ASB Remote Programming January- March 2022

Our January- March 2022 virtual program schedule is now live on the ASB website!

If any of the participants you work with are interested in signing up for these programs or have any questions, they can contact our Director of Participant Engagement and Outreach, Lexi Jones, at

DECEMBER: iPhone App Workshop

ASB’s December iPhone App Workshop series will run through Thursday, December 30, 2021. These remote learning workshops will be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for one hour per week. All interested ASB participants are welcome to attend, from the advanced user to participants with no iPhone experience. Explore the workshop schedule below!

If any of the participants you work with are interested in enrolling in any of the remaining iPhone App Workshops, they can email ASB’s Access Technology Instructor, Andrew Godwin, at or call 215-627-0600 at extension 816 to sign up.

Be My Eyes and AIRA: Tuesdays at 9 a.m. until December 28, 2021. 

Amazon Alexa App and Echo Device Q&A: Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m. until December 28, 2021.

Game World App: Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. until December 28, 2021. 

Instacart: Wednesdays at 10 a.m. until December 29, 2021. 

Participant’s Choice App Q&A Workshop: Wednesdays at 11:15 a.m. until December 29, 2021. 

Seeing AI and TapTapSee: Thursdays at 9 a.m. until December 30, 2021.

App Widget Workshop: Thursdays at 10:15 a.m. until December 30, 2021. 

iPhone Camera: Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. until December 30, 2021. 

FRIDAY: ASB’s Speaker Series

Every week ASB welcomes professionals to speak with participants about topics such as health and welfare, insurance and finances, legal assistance and much more! This week, participants can join us on Friday, December 17 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. for a session on the Diabetes, it’s a Family Matter from Health Partners.
If any of the participants you work with are interested in signing up for this session, please contact our Director of Participant Engagement and Outreach, Lexi Jones, at or at 267-551-0561.

ASB is sharing the events below as a courtesy to ASB participants. These are non-ASB events. Please be mindful of any requirements, including COVID-19 requirements, that may apply.

DECEMBER 27: Audio-Described and Sensory-Friendly
Nutcracker Performance

The Philadelphia Ballet will present an Audio-Described and Sensory-Friendly performance of The Nutcracker on Monday, December 27 from 12 – 2 p.m. at the Academy of Music

The audio description will be offered through a free app called LiveVoice that guests can download on their smartphones before the performance. Once at the theater, participants will meet the Audio Describer Nicole Sardella who will help them get set up on their phones. The Philadelphia Ballet asks that guests using audio description bring their own headphones if possible. If any attendees don’t have a smartphone, they can borrow an iPad with the app to use during the performance.

The Academy of Music requires all guests ages 12 and up to show proof of vaccination and photo ID (ID is only required for ages 18 and up). For guests 12 and under that are not fully vaccinated, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance would be required.

ASB has a block of 20 tickets held at the Box Office for this performance. If any of the participants you work with are interested in signing up for this performance, please contact our Director of Participant Engagement and Outreach, Lexi Jones, at or at 267-551-0561, and let her know the name that each group of tickets should be held under, and how many tickets are in each party.

FREE Transportation to Vaccine Appointments

Do any of the participants you work with plan to get a COVID vaccine soon? The City of Philadelphia is coordinating with Lyft and SEPTA CCT to provide FREE rides to COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Philadelphia residents 65 and older and those with access or functional needs. If any of the participants you work with are eligible and interested in this resource, they can reach out to the Ride Access Hotline at 215-586-306 from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

How to Use Alexa to Get Help in an Emergency 

If any of the participants you work with have an Alexa app and are interested in learning how to use Alexa to get help in emergencies, please pass along the information listed below!

Alexa is equipped with an Emergency Help feature that participants can turn on in the Alexa app to get help when they need it most. The feature is designed to provide an additional layer of security for those who might find themselves in a difficult or dangerous situation.

Setting up the Emergency Contact feature is easy. Here’s how to set up Alexa to get help in an emergency:

  1. Open the Alexa app for iOS or Android and tap Communicate on the bottom menu bar.
  2. Tap the Contacts icon of the group silhouette in the upper-right corner.
  3. Now, search or browse for the person you would like to designate as your emergency contact.

Participants need to pick someone they trust and who would be able to help if the need arises. They must also have a U.S. phone number listed in their contact details. Alexa will text the emergency contact to confirm them as an important person in case of emergencies. They’ll be able to call and message you through Alexa on any device.

How To Use Emergency Help Feature

Using Alexa to notify a contact in an emergency is simple. If you or anyone in your home needs assistance, just say:

  • “Alexa, call for help.”
  • “Alexa, call my emergency contact.”
  • “Alexa, call my help contact.”
  • “Alexa, call my contact for help.”

Alexa will call and text the participant’s emergency contact, and they’ll be able to call them back on the Alexa-enabled device.

Can Alexa Call 911?

No, Alexa can’t currently call 911 due to emergency access communication rules. But there are workarounds:

1. Using a Third-Party Dialing Service

While Alexa cannot directly call 911 on its own, the assistant can be paired with a third-party option like VoIP phone services to make sure that all of the participant’s emergency needs are met.

2. Alexa Guard Plus

Alexa Guard Plus offers several security services. It acts as a type of burglar alarm and can also make a home seem occupied by turning lights on in sequences throughout each evening.

Related: What Does Alexa Guard Do and How Does It Work

Once this service is activated, there’s nothing else needed but to say “Alexa, call for help” when faced with an emergency. From that point on, an agent will talk to the participant and work out what the problem is before forwarding the call to appropriate responders who can help.

Emergency Help Is About More Than Calling For Help

The emergency contact feature isn’t just about getting help in an emergency situation—it’s about being better prepared for emergencies with 24/7 round-the-clock access to an emergency contact who can send assistance no matter what time of day or night it is.

Having an emergency contact is the first step to creating a safety plan and ensuring that you and your loved ones are protected no matter what.

With this new release, Alexa has become even more valuable as a companion for your family’s safety and security. Participants can now rest easy knowing that there’s someone at the other end of the line ready to help you out no matter what the emergency.

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