Beginning the year with big goals, Winnetka-based nonprofit Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired has plans in the works for growing its impact on the visually impaired community on the North Shore… and around the world.
Hadley began its journey in 1920, before many of the advanced technologies currently being used by the organization were available; but it has certainly progressed as a center for learning and empowering individuals with vision loss over the past 98 years. Best known for its excellence in teaching braille from its beginning; Hadley has grown to be the global leader in providing distance learning opportunities through various new mediums as well, including podcasts, videos, and webinars.
Heading the team at the non-profit on this journey is President Julie S. Tye, who joined the organization in May 2016 after spending many years in health administration and child welfare nonprofit management. She brings with her a vision for the future of Hadley, “I see a Hadley that truly is a destination. Our ‘students’ can learn from our instructors, from our webinars and videos and—hopefully—from each other. Accessible technology is making it easier to reach many more people on their mobile devices. And we will continue to ‘teach’ via materials that are in braille, large print, and audio formats.”
As the organization prepares for its centennial celebration in 2020, it’s developing new programs and adapting to new generations who are experiencing vision loss. Anticipating the needs of aging baby boomers, Hadley is developing new programs that incorporate the latest technology to meet the expectations for their clients and help them thrive at home, work, and in the community.
Tye adds, “Whether it’s a timely tutorial on how to use the latest technology to stay connected with family, quick tips on how to make daily tasks easier, or a chance to connect with and learn from peers, Hadley will be the learning destination for anyone facing vision loss.”
The Woman’s Board of Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired is busily preparing for its annual gala entitled “A Spark in the Dark” on March 3, 2018 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Michigan Shores Club in Wilmette. The event serves as the largest fundraising event for the organization.
Sara Ridder and Beth Sawyer will chair the event that will feature special guest John Hope Singleton, a Hadley student with an inspiring story of overcoming many challenges from a young age and taking an optimistic and joyful embrace of life. Singleton will share his talents on piano and singing after sharing his remarkable story.
Funds raised during the evening will help Hadley continue to provide education and resources to enlighten the world for 100,000-plus learners in 50 states and more than 90 countries during the 2018 year.