Many who work to help the disabled never learn just how much they are appreciated by those they serve.
Not so for Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind in Peoria. A recent phone survey of its subscribers revealed genuine enthusiasm for the “West Valley Talking News,” a weekly news magazine recorded by volunteers and provided free of charge to visually impaired and physically limited individuals. Needless to say, RRRB’s volunteers were all smiles at the positive reception.
When asked for his assessment of the “West Valley Talking News,” subscriber Robert Williams, 83, summed it up this way, “I listen to nearly all of it. I like the articles and the humor. It brings something positive to my day. It makes me more aware of the blind presence in the Valley. Sometimes you feel like you don’t matter, and I am grateful that you try to help the blind.”
That one comment makes it worth it all. Our volunteers are all about making a difference in the community, and the survey results validate our effort.
RRRB’s subscribers are individuals who are visually impaired to the degree they can’t read or are physically unable to turn the pages of a book. A very sobering fact to grasp is that many sight-challenged seniors have only lost their sight in recent days and months after having been able to see all their lives. Thus, for them to receive a Garrison Keillor-type recorded “talking magazine” containing the local news, arts/entertainment, sports, travel, “Old West” stories and a plethora of other “fun” information is often a highlight of the week.
A witness to that truth is subscriber Shirley Myers, who said, “I love it and don’t want to lose it! John [Schumacher – program director] is amazing. So are the readers. It is amazing that the volunteers take the time to do all that.”
Elisa Garcia., 51, expressed her appreciation in this way, “This completely changed my life! I used to be a voracious reader, but now I can’t read any more. I enjoy the ‘West Valley Talking News’ so much!”
The age range for RRRB’s subscribers is from the early 50s all the way to 103, and 103-year-old Audrey Hyslop affirmed what most of those interviewed said, “It helps me stay in contact and keeps me aware of what’s going on in the area.”
Many also said they enjoy the interviews and a segment called “What Do You Think?” which covers a variety of subjects.
Finally, Martha McBroom, 84, encapsulated the comments of nearly all the subscribers, “I am very thankful, given my eye condition. It is a Godsend. I feel most fortunate having this service.”
Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind has been serving the low vision community in the West Valley for 50 years! Any sight-challenged or physically incapacitated person interested in receiving the “West Valley Talking News” is invited to call 623-933-0985. Those interested in volunteering can call that same number or go online to readingfortheblind.org. Tax-deductible donations are always welcome and may be made on the website or by mail, sent to RRRB, 9447 N. 99th Ave., Peoria, AZ 85345.
Editor’s Note: Pat Centner is the RRRB board president.
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