BINGHAMTON, NY – The Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, or AVRE, is the Greater Binghamton Chamber’s Business of the Week.
AVRE has a business division that produces copy paper, manilla folders, and military tarps for the federal government.
90% of the employees in that division are blind or visually impaired.
AVRE also provides rehabilitation services for the blind such as orientation and mobility training, including the use of a white cane, along with daily living skills and devices to assist those with low vision.
President and CEO Ken Fernald is blind.
He says people with visual impairment live normal, regular lives.
“People who are blind are able to do pretty much everything somebody else does. We may have to do it a little differently. As you mention, running. I run and I’ll either run with somebody who is acting as a sighted guide. Or, I’m running with my guide dog who is kind of a unique guide dog. She’s trained in a new program to be a running guide dog. She doesn’t look like it right now, she’s sleeping,” says Fernald.
AVRE was started in 1926 by two blind men who wanted to provide job opportunities to others with visual impairment.
Fernald says the organization’s annual Dining in the Dark event, in which participants eat a meal blind folded, is returning on May 7th.