WINNETKA – Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired has partnered with Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate to draw attention to the impact of vision loss in October. Several statues in the downtown sculpture walk near Hoffmann-owned retail properties in Winnetka have been furnished with dark glasses, white canes, and signage recognizing World Blindness Awareness Month.
This unique public statement unites two organizations with a strong attachment to Winnetka. Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate is the village’s largest owner of commercial properties, and has undertaken community-building projects including a summer music festival and the installation of public art in the shopping district. Hadley has been based in Winnetka for nearly 100 years, providing services to individuals with visual impairments locally as well as around the world.
“We want everyone in Winnetka to feel a sense of pride, and to know that Hadley is the world’s largest provider of distance education for people who are blind or visually impaired around the world serving more than 100,000 learners annually in all 50 states and in 100 countries,” said Hadley President Julie Tye.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 65% of all people who are visually impaired are age 50 or older. With a growing elderly population in many countries, more people will be at risk of visual impairment due to chronic eye diseases and aging processes.
Hoffmann installed a number of bronze statues in 2017 to enhance the community experience for shoppers and residents in Winnetka. When Hadley representatives approached Hoffmann management with their idea for adding glasses and canes to public statues, they received an enthusiastic response.
“We are very happy to support the Hadley Institute’s awareness program,” commented Greg Hoffmann, CEO of Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate. “The statues will promote conversation and understanding throughout the community, and also will draw attention to the outstanding resources that Hadley provides. We are proud to partner with such an important and respected organization.”
Hadley has several additional programs planned to raised awareness to blindness and visual impairment this month, which include its “Hounds for Hadley” family dog walk on October 14, and introducing school-aged children throughout the community to blind individuals and their seeing eye dogs.
“While children will celebrate Halloween at the end of the month, we want to teach them not to be scared when they come in contact with someone who can’t see or has trouble seeing,” explained Tye. “Many kids and even adults have never met or spoken to someone who is blind, and it is our goal to teach proper etiquette and how to interact with these people.”
Submitted by Hadley Institute for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Hadley is located at 700 Elm Street in downtown Winnetka. For more information, call 800 323 4238 or visit http://Hadley.edu.