ECVI Connect

Let's take this journey together.

Personalized Skill Development and​ Social Connections ​for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Central Illinois

What's today's ECVI Connection?

Light a Candle

Recently, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel our Dining in the Dark Fundraiser because we value the health and safety of our ECVI friends.

At each of our Dining in the Dark Fundraisers, we light a candle to honor those we want to remember. We will “Light a Candle” for the individuals we have already received funds for at our July Board Meeting. We will then post a video of the lighting of the candles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on our Website.

If you would like to participate and “Light a Candle” to honor your loved one, click the Donate to Light a Candle button below or go to our website at and choose either a Gold, Silver or Bronze candle by July 10th to be included in the video. Email to confirm your donation and add your loved one to our list of honorees.

Thank you for your continued support to help the students of the Educational Center for the Visually Impaired during these difficult times for everyone. Your donation and sacrifice will be very much appreciated.

Amazon will donate a portion of your purchases to ECVI at no cost to you!

Do you already shop on Amazon?

If you do, you can donate to our educational center at the same time!

Click HERE to choose ECVI as your preferred charity and Amazon will automatically donate 0.5% of eligible purchases — no fees, no extra cost!

Friendship Fridays

Make yourself at home at our virtually (for now) on the 2nd Friday of each month for fellowship, laughter, and sharing. After July 1st, we'll meet at the center! Email or call us for more information or to RSVP.

Book Club Fridays

Next Book

July 24: Walk in the Woods

Participants read the book in advance of the meeting, so RSVP below or call Peggy at 217-303-9062 and we'll give you the details. Students suggest and agree on which books to read, so join us and add your voice to the mix. Books are provided by Talking Books and sent directly to your home.

Here are the Book Club titles for the rest of 2020. We hope you find at least one that sounds interesting and join us!

2020 Book Titles

Aug 21: Widow of the South

Sept 18: Walking Across Egypt

October 23: Blackfoot Messiah

November 20: Hidden Kennedy

December 11: Redbird Christmas

ECVI to Reopen July 1st!

ECVI is looking forward to re-open our campus doors! Special cleaning procedures, face coverings and social distancing will be the norm.

We'll keep you in the loop on potential class offerings and schedules, so be sure you're on our mailing list.

Our re-opening procedures follow Illinois' guidelines for Restore Illinois, based on the correct phase. Call or email us if you have questions or need further guidance.

Restore Illinois

Cancelled - 3rd Annual Dining in the Dark

Recently, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel our Dining in the Dark Fundraiser because we value the health and safety of our ECVI friends.

Thank you for your continued support to help the students of the Educational Center for the Visually Impaired.

We will miss being with you in person!

Until next year,


It's Time to Make Everything New!

It is a new day at the Educational Center and we are excited for what the future will hold! It is time to put the past behind us and look forward to a new day – a new beginning.

The ECVI Board has made the decision to open the Educational Center on July 1st. We will continue to hold one-on-one instruction with students and group events will be held outdoors at the Educational Center while following the State’s guidelines to keep everyone healthy and safe.

The Student Services Committee has been busy establishing a new ECVI Educational System that includes both on-line and face to face learning. The Fundraising Committee has established a strategic plan to provide an income stream to keep our doors open. The Marketing Committee continues to promote the Educational Center through our website, newsletter, “ECVI Connect” and social media. Finally, our Technology Committee continues to research best practices and needs for a Universal Design Learning system for our students.

Because we value the health and safety of all of our friends of ECVI, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our 3rd Annual Dining in the Dark Fundraiser. We had planned a delicious meal from Poe’s Catering at the Columbus Hall with a live auction with Luke Gaule. Our Masters of Ceremonies, Paul Wappel and Paul Palazzolo, would have made the evening exciting and fun!

We were sadden by the passing of Glen Brandt, age 94 on Sunday, June 7th. Glen Brandt, Evelyn Brandt Thomas and the Brandt Team have been instrumental in supporting individuals who are blind or visually impaired to learn new skills. In 1969, Glen lost his sight in one eye due to a chemical accident. He understood firsthand the challenges our students face every day.

Our Board of Directors at their June meeting decided to establish an Endowment Fund and name a classroom at the Educational Center in Glen’s Honor. The Endowment Fund will be used for those who teach our students.

As a woman of faith, the lyrics to this Steven Chapman song “Beauty will Rise” encouraged me and I pass it along for your encouragement too. “I can almost feel the hand of God reaching for my face, to wipe the tears away and say, it is time to make everything new”!

It’s a New Day!


You Matter: Like a Good Neighbor – The Educational Center is there!

Do you know someone who struggles with daily activities, walking, reading or using technology because of the loss of their eyesight?

We are like a good neighbor in that we can provide people with the tools they need to maintain their independence. There are so many people who do not know that the Educational Center for the Visually Impaired exists, so we need your help to spread the word. Our website is

One program our students have discovered is free audio books that help them learn more about the world around them and enjoy social connections. Our Friendship Friday Book Club discussed the book “Salt to the Sea” on Friday, June 19th. Here is a summary of the book.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en-route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstances to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. Sound interesting?

Listen here as the author, Ruta Sepetys, introduces us to her novel, Salt to the Sea, and provides a behind the scenes look at what it took to gather information for this novel. Learn more about this true story as Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest hours. Many times we hear about the facts of an event, but the author wants you to hear from the victims. The victims wanted their stories to be told so they wrote messages in bottles and this is their story, as well as what happened during World War II in Poland.

Why not join our next book club on July 24th? I can help you get free audio books and you too can join our Zoom discussion. Email me at and I will get you connected to the Educational Center for the Visually Impaired. You will be glad you did!

Book worm too!


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Educational Center for the Visually Impaired

Personalized Skill Development and​ Social Connections
for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Central Illinois