Archived Newsletters

Spring 2017 Newsletter

A pdf of this newsletter is available by clicking here

The Iris Network Spring 2017 Insight Newsletter is Here!

A printed version with an accessible code is also being mailed to our constituents this week. If you want to receive one and are not on our mailing list, contact Terri Tomchak at ttomchak@theiris.org or call (207) 518-5040.

With a Little Help from my Friends

This is my home,” said Brenda Bacon of Wells, Maine. It is a caring community with a population that ranges from fewer than 10,000 in winter to 30-40,000 in summer. Brenda lost her vision at the age of 37, but she gets by with the help of her friends, family and The Iris Network.

“I choose to live where I live. ... Continue Reading

Winter 2017 Newsletter

A pdf of this newsletter is available by clicking here

Attitude is Everything!

Peggy Davis doesn’t like drama. “I don’t get excited about things,” she said. “I just take what comes.” So, when she noticed she was starting to have trouble reading print, she didn’t panic. She made it a point to mention it to her doctor the next time she had an eye exam. The thing was, she could see long distance just fine. In fact, she could see better driving without her glasses — until suddenly, one day, everything changed.

“It came on very, very quickly,” she said. It scared her so she decided to hang up her car keys. “I didn’t want to wait until I got into a car... Continue Reading

Spring 2016 Newsletter

A pdf of this newsletter is available by clicking here

... Continue Reading

The Road Ahead – The Iris Network Rehabilitation Center

Sudeep working with an orientation and mobility instructor.Sudeep working with an orientation and mobility instructor.

Sudeep Stauble is putting his newly sharpened mobility skills to the test. His graduation from the first class of an immersion program at The Iris Network Rehabilitation Center in December was but one stop on his life’s ever-unfolding journey. But it was a very important one.

“When you grow up without sight, you don’t have the luxury of learning by watching your parents or other people,” Sudeep said. “You need to have specialized training so you can enjoy the same opportunities as everyone

Winter 2016 Newsletter

... Continue Reading
A pdf of this newsletter is available by clicking here

A Warm Thank You from the Kilton Family

The town of Sorrento, Maine, has a population of only 274. But even when the weather is chilly, it is a place of warmth and community. Take the Kilton family, for example. Marita and her husband Buddy just celebrated their 65th anniversary. The couple has 2 daughters, 6 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. “And we’re involved with all of them!” Marita said.

Marita is 80, and has been losing her central vision to macular degeneration for several years. Even though she’s close to her family, she doesn’t want to be dependent on anyone.

“We’re fortunate,” said her

Insight - Spring 2015 - The Iris Network Newsletter

... Continue Reading

 At 89, Valla Enjoys Her Independence

            It’s been quite a winter this year, but with the melting snow come thoughts of Spring. It is a welcome change for Valla Hall. The 89-year-old enjoys her independence, and is eager to get out and walk once the snow is off the sidewalks. She enjoys walking to local stores and to get groceries. Valla had been driving until this past January. When she didn’t pass her eye test, she had to hang up her car keys. That was a hard change for her to take, but she feels luckier than most. “I get to go places with others, and my son and daughter live nearby and often take me places.”

            Valla has the

Winter 2015 Newsletter

The Perfect Role Model for an Independent Life

Lovely, classic, New England towns are tucked into granite and pine forests up and down Maine’s coast. Some are quite rural and most people would be surprised to learn that fiercely independent nonagenarians with vision loss continue to live happily in them.

One such person is Mrs. Lichtman. She is the very definition of life! “I feel lucky to be living independently, at my age,” she said.

She lives with her Yorkie, Peanuts. “He’s my constant companion,” she said. “We get out a lot, and we’re well-known around town.” 

Mrs. Lichtman has no vision in one eye, and diminishing vision in the other. In fact, if

... Continue Reading

Winter 2014 Newsletter

Being Able to Read Again!

Bertha listens to the cues and scrolls through the language choices on her video magnifier. In addition to French and English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German and Dutch are available.
Bertha listens to the cues and scrolls through the language choices on her video magnifier. In addition to French and English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German and Dutch are available.

Leading ministries, being a wife, a grand and great-grandmother keeps 84 year old Reverend Bertha Jacqmin quite busy. She admits that she has always been very active throughout her life. When she began having difficulty with her vision, she was unsure how she would continue with all her activities.

In September 2013, Bertha visited The Iris Network’s Low Vision Clinic for an evaluation. A thorough assessment of vision in each eye was provided by Dr. A. Jan Berlin, followed

... Continue Reading

Fall 2013 Newsletter

“Red Hat, Red Sox, and Ducklings!”

What do the Red Sox, Make Way for Ducklings,
a volunteer program “Call to Care”, and the Red
Hat Society have in common? One extraordinary
lady named Esther O’Brien!

Esther O’Brien

A native of Freeport, Mrs. O’Brien dedicated 40 years of her life to teaching young ones to read. Their favorite book, and one of hers, was Make Way for Ducklings the McCloskey classic. Reading is incredibly important for Mrs. O’Brien, not only to keep living independently, in the house across the street from the one she was born and raised in, but to continue with her hobbies and interests – the Red Sox yearbook and church historian among them!

Three years

... Continue Reading

Summer 2013 Newsletter

Visitors with magnifiers
Two visitors to the Kennebunk Free Library try out a few of the magnifying devices available through The Iris Network.

Reading For All

Braille students
A group of home schooled students who learned braille dropped in to see the range of technology and options available at McArthur Public Library.

JAWS Demonstration

Bonnie Gouzie, Director of Access Technology and Employment Services, demonstrates the current JAWS technology at McArthur Public Library.

The staff from York Public Library, Kennebunk Free Library and McArthur Public Library in Biddeford, The Maine State Library and the vision rehabilitation professionals from The Iris Network teamed up to deliver three afternoons devoted to vision, reading

... Continue Reading

Winter 2013 Newsletter

Out of the Box! 

Ever get the latest technology gadget as a gift and leave it in the box for weeks as you  tried to puzzle out the directions? Does that gadget have an accessibility feature that the company tech support can’t figure out? 

The Iris Network is here to help!

On January 3, 2013 the Iris Network’s Access Technology and Employment Service (ATES, pronounced At Ease) hosted a Device Open House in our Technology Center. The goal was to help people with visual impairment or blindness get those holiday gifts out of the box and into operation “with ease”. By the sound of laughter and the number of “Wow’s”, “No kidding” and “Oh, that makes sense” heard

... Continue Reading

Summer/Fall 2012 Newsletter

Join us for the White Cane Awareness Walk

Picture of 2011 White Cane Awareness Walk

Please Join Us on October 13th!
Bring friends, family, co-workers or come and meet new friends!
Walk starts at 9:30

Picture of 2011 White Cane Awareness Walk


... Continue Reading

Technology Update

The Iris Network is delighted to have Gayle Yarnall, representing Humanware, at the 2012 White Cane Awareness Walk on October 13, 2012. Gayle will be demonstrating the Humanware Trekker Breeze, a handheld, pedestrian GPS (http://www.humanware.com/en-usa/search?keywords=trekker+breeze&go=yes) by leading a small group on a hunt to find several landmarks near the White Cane Awareness Walk route. Gayle will bring five Trekker Breeze GPS units to be used by walk participants interested in trying it first-hand. (If

Spring / Summer 2012 Newsletter

Embracing Life with Vision Loss!

Amber prepares to use her hand-held lighted magnifier!
Amber prepares to use her hand-held lighted magnifier!

Amber Mooney, a very bright and enthusiastic South Portland resident, was diagnosed at the age of 13 with a degenerative eye disease. With support, some assistance, a positive attitude, and learning to make accommodations for some limitations, Amber completed high school and graduated from Holy Cross College in Worcester with a degree in Spanish. Wanting to make a difference and determined not to let her vision impairment stand in the way, Amber joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) after college. JVC offers women and men an opportunity to work full-time for social justice and peace. She spent

... Continue Reading

Winter 2012 Newsletter

Winter 2012

Paul Featherson at the computer, with instructor, Bonnie Gouzie.
Paul Featherson at the computer, with instructor, Bonnie Gouzie.

Paul Featherson of Westbrook needed to re-tool himself for the job market following a long career at a major supermarket as a shelf stocker. “As my vision loss became more severe, I just could not be as fast and accurate as I wanted to be for the company.” Knowing the importance of computers in the workplace, Paul decided to acquire some new skills but he was not sure where to go. “I could not go to the local Adult Education computer classes because I could not see the screen and the teachers did not know how to help,” said Featherson.

The Iris Network’s newest program, Access... Continue Reading

Spring / Summer 2011 Newsletter

This newsletter is dedicated in memory of Robert Crouse for his years of service to The Iris Network.

He will be remembered for his strong advocacy for people who are blind or visually impaired, his teaching skills, as well as his compassionate and innovative ways. He strongly felt that with proper training there are no limits as to what an individual facing the challenges of vision loss can achieve. He was a great leader and will be missed!

A visit to the Low Vision Clinic brings hope!

Alice at her video magnifier
Alice at her video magnifier

Alice "Rusty" Jackman, legally blind because of diabetes, recently visited The Iris Network's Low Vision Clinic at our Portland facility. About her two hour assessment... Continue Reading

Winter / Spring 2011

Growing Up Is All About Experience!

Jacob is a typical high school student – he loves sports, music and school dances. Like most high school students, he wanted a summer job to earn some money of his own and to get some work experience for the future. In this tough economy, many young people are having a hard time finding work, particularly students like Jacob who have total blindness.

Judy Wolfe, a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor at the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI), knew Jacob needed some assistance in finding a summer job. Judy referred him to the Job Training Project at The Iris Network. "Summer jobs are so important in helping us all learn what we like... Continue Reading

Page 1 of 2  > >>

Related Spring 2017 Newsletter Links

COME WALK WITH US on October 14, 2017!


Shop to Support

Do you shop online? Proceeds from over 100 stores go to support The Iris Network if you click above to shop with no additional cost to you!
Support Us