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NECO Receives Community Partnership Award from MABVI

Massachusetts Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired Honors New England College of Optometry

New England College of Optometry was awarded the Community Partner Award by the Massachusetts Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, MABVI, on Sunday, April 19th at their annual Volunteer Appreciation Brunch. The brunch was held at the Westin Copley Place Hotel and honored several volunteers and supporters, including Boston City Councillor Tito Jackson.

Kyle Robidoux, MABVI’s Director of Volunteer Group Services, serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the event, introduced the award: “The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI), would like to honor the New England College of Optometry for being an outstanding community partner. We are honoring you for your commitment to our mission and for all of your support and help with MABVI’s Volunteer Program. NECO has distributed flyers among staff and students which helped recruit thirteen NECO volunteers. Your students have also volunteered over Marathon weekend with Team with a Vision.”

Dr. Richard Jamara, a Low Vision Specialist and professor at NECO accepted the award on behalf of the college. “This award is a wonderful honor for NECO because as an educational institution established for the purpose of training future Doctors of Optometry we are especially aware of the challenges that an individual faces when they have visual impairment. Our partnership with MABVI gives our optometry interns the opportunity to experience how those challenges can be lessened by the services of a volunteer. I teach the low vision rehabilitation course to the 3rd year students at NECO and this year we had an assignment to participate in an experience assisting someone with visual impairment. One student reported on her MAB volunteer and I wanted to a read brief excerpt from her report.

“She reported, ‘I have always had a keen interest as to how the man on the subway with his cane will be able to successfully alight from the train and maneuver his way from underground to the city streets, while avoiding the masses of people on the way to and from work. Fortunately, with the Massachusetts Association for the Blind, I was able to gain a unique and humbling experience through their program and services. I attended an orientation session as a first step in becoming a sighted guide volunteer with the organization. I was matched with a client who has visual impairment and was briefed on the privacy and confidentiality issues. As a result of my volunteer experience made a difference in someone‚Äôs life by doing something as simple as reading articles, mail, notes, and a book to someone. It was the first real exposure I had in interacting with a person with sight loss and it helped prime me for all of my future encounters. I am now able to confidently approach someone on the street that appears to have vision loss and offer assistance in the proper way without disrespecting them.’”

New England College of Optometry is honored to receive this award and to continue to support MABVI’s volunteer programs.

Dr. Jamara, pictured with Kyle Robidoux, MABVI’s Director of Volunteer Group Services, and Barbara Salisbury, CEO of MAB community Services, represented the College and received the award at this wonderful event. Photo credit: Natalie RG Cohen.