Aug. 13, 2012
-- Being visually impaired or blind plays an integral role in the development of your life. Whether you are born with the impairment, or you lose sight at a later stage, the experience is profound. You have to relearn daily activities and adjust to the changes. There is an organization in Palm Beach County that is taking strides in helping individuals with little or no vision do all of these things. From a “Sightless Chef” program sponsored by Whole Foods, to a “Bodies Beyond Blindness” fitness program sponsored by Loggerhead Fitness, the Beyond Blind Institute (BBI) is the light in a dark tunnel. And, on October 6, 2012, the Beyond Blind Institute invites the public to experience these programs, and more, at Beyond Blind Fest 2012!
Beginning with a registered 5K Run/Walk at 7:30 a.m., participants can hit the pavement in support of the Beyond Blind Institute. The shotgun start will give the participants the go-ahead to log those miles around Abacoa Town Center. The race festivities will conclude with an awards ceremony for runners and walkers who dedicated their morning supporting BBI’s programs and services, and for the incredible blind walkers who, with their service dogs, completed the entire 5K. Racers and runners are going to be integral part of this event.
At the conclusion of the morning’s race festivities, the Beyond Blind Institute will open the Health and Wellness Festival featuring fun-filled activities for the entire family including free mobile eye exams, massage therapy sessions, skincare evaluations, even bounce houses, face painting and tons of fun for the kids! The highlights of the day will be the Sightless Chef Gourmet Culinary Program demonstration with Chef Aaron Jones who will cook side by side with visually impaired members to showcase the training he provides to visually impaired members enabling them to become trained catering chefs and the Brushes of Blindness art sale which features original works of art created by members of the Beyond Blind Institute. The event will also feature a “BBI Member for A Minute” challenge in which BBI will challenge guests to take a moment to walk in the shoes of a visually impaired individual. The challenge will have guests complete one of three average daily tasks, that are significantly different when you have no sight, such as preparing to go to work, getting ready for a day at the beach or planning for a casual day of fun. These tasks will be performed in a mock apartment and participants will have 5 minutes to complete the tasks. Those who finish the task will be entered in to a drawing for one of the grand prizes.
The event will also feature live musical entertainment from some of the Country’s top performers. Billy Bones, who has shown an immense amount of dedication to the Beyond Blind Institute, will take the stage to showcase his talents as a solo entertainer. Joining him that afternoon will be nationally renowned artist, David Crohan, a blind classical pianist, known for his vast repertoire from Chopin to Billy Joel. He frequents the stage at Café L’Europe in Palm Beach and is sure to captivate the audience at Beyond Blind Fest. Also appearing that afternoon is Richard Gilewitz. Gilewitz whose fingerstyle guitar performances always get rave reviews, will share his performance filled with amazing chops, humor, and the history of the acoustic guitar. The highlight of the musical entertainment will be Rob Jones, who has appeared on Oprah several times. Jones, who lost his vision due to an accident when he was 10 years old, commands the stage from the moment he steps on it. His powerful, soulful ballads are sure to mesmerize the hundreds of guests in attendance.
“We are incredibly excited to host this event,” said Beyond Blind Institute founder, Joyce Gugel. “This event is helping us to bring the stigma of visual impairment to the forefront so the community, and the nation, recognizes the challenges to those with a loss of vision. Our goal is to showcase our work and to invite the community to support our mission by helping us build a location where we can house these phenomenal programs. I want to give the best that life has to offer to the individuals who have lost the most in life, the blind and visually impaired.”
The Beyond Blind Institute has taken significant steps toward revitalizing each visually impaired person by bringing them out of isolation and in to illumination. By providing a health, wellness, and educational program for each member they are allowing the light of the world to shine in their lives again. These programs include, "Bodies Beyond Blindness" Fitness Program sponsored by Loggerhead Fitness Center, "Sightless Chef" Gourmet Culinary program sponsored by Whole Foods, "Brushes of Blindness" Art Program, and "Dancing Out of Darkness" Artistic Dance program. Currently, these programs are scattered throughout Palm Beach County. The goal of this event, and future fundraising endeavors, is to raise funds to purchase a space to house all of these programs. This will ensure maximum progress for members and less time traveling. Once the Institute is built new programs will include "Miracle of Music" Musical Arts program, "Beauty Beyond Blindness", a salon for women and men, "Brighter Days" Counseling Center, and "Visions Beyond", Advanced Low Vision Aid Eye Center. Several BBI programs will include licensed certifications to enable each member to pursue career opportunities, and independence.
For more information, or ways you can participate in Beyond Blind Fest 2012, including sponsorship and vendor opportunities, visit www.beyondblindinstitute.org or call (561) 799‐3010. To register for the 5K Run/Walk please visit www.active.com.
About The Beyond Blind Institute: The Beyond Blind Institute, is a non‐profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the empowerment of visually impaired and blind men and women seeking equal opportunity in today's ever demanding society. The mission of the Institute is an immediate and aggressive hands‐on approach to each individual’s health and fitness, career opportunities, and overall emotional and social wellbeing. In addition, the Beyond Blind Institute focuses on teaching technical skills, advanced low‐vision‐
aid technology, and research and development of various eye diseases. For more information visit www.beyondblindinstitute.org or call 561-799-3010.