The Older Individuals who are Blind Technical Assistance Center (OIB-TAC) is preparing for their second annual OIB Program Manager’s Technical Assistance Conference. This year, it will be held virtually August 31 – September 4 on the OIB-TAC Community of Practice with the theme “Connect.” The conference session topics include remote services, community outreach, and program evaluation.
Sylvia Perez, OIB-TAC Project Director, is excited to build upon last year’s successful conference to provide an opportunity for “even greater connection and collaboration in our field.” Perez hopes that program managers learn new strategies and tools to implement in their programs.
Kendra Farrow, NRTC Research & Training Associate, said a huge benefit of a virtual conference is that it provides an opportunity for the OIB-TAC to invite more external speakers to present. Furthermore, some conference sessions are now open to those in the field of blindness and low vision – not just program managers. The OIB-TAC believes that offering some of these public sessions will provide an opportunity for an even greater exchange of ideas.
One such presentation is “My Heart is Not Blind: Voices of Older Blind” by Michael Nye. His presentation focuses on a seven-year project about misperceptions surrounding blindness. He combines photography and audio to tell the real stories of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. This presentation will allow service providers to hear directly from consumers, which will provide unique insight to service providers in the field.
Catherine Hultman, Project Manager, believes this year’s conference is more important than ever because “the COVID pandemic has made many of us feel disconnected and isolated.” She continued that the conference is “not just a learning opportunity, but a chance for people to feel connected to the other people and the work in the OIB field… after all, it is the Connect Conference.”
The full schedule will be posted to the Community of Practice in early August.