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?

Special Edition

Art matters because it helps us to see the world from different perspectives. Art helps us to think, to feel, to understand people, places and periods of history that we might not otherwise be familiar with. It is another educational opportunity for our students to learn, feel, and gain knowledge.

When the Friendship Friday group at the Educational Center is not talking about books, we are discovering and learning about the world of art. “Art Talks” started when board member Rosemary Buffington, organized an inclusive art exhibit at the Springfield Art Association last June. The name of the exhibit was “What Art Feels Like” and over 17 artists from all over the country submitted beautiful art pieces so that everyone in the community could touch and feel the artwork. This was an especially enriching experience for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. It was so well received that Rosemary has been asked to duplicate the event in other parts of the country, but we were the only art exhibit in Central Illinois that allowed everyone to touch the artwork. You can check out our photos from “What Art Feels Like” on our website.

Our guest Speaker for Friendship Friday on July 10th will be Cyd LaBonte!

Thanks to volunteer Cookie Kienzler for the information below and providing us with our guest speaker for Art Talks!

“Cyd went to school in Chatham IL, she has always enjoyed art. She married another artist, Robert LaBonte, again a Chatham student. She has been a floral designer and taught water color at the Springfield Art Association and juried into many shows where she displayed her watercolors. She also took up jewelry making, using vintage decorated tins, wire, beads and found objects. Then ornate beadwork happened, she designed the shapes and used sewing and weaving in their creations. Her mother is an accomplished needle artist and Cyd said that in the last several years she found herself gravitating to work with fabrics, cords, and thread. This brought her to a whole new look on constructing containers of her own design, and using those same tools to detail her work with various types of needlework. Her research and experimentation shows in the uniqueness of her work”.

Cyd will talk about her journey with art and bring pieces of her artwork for the group to touch and feel. Anyone who is blind or visually impaired is welcome to join the group either at the Educational Center or virtually on Zoom. All you need to do is RSVP below or register on our website.

If not this month, then join us each month for either Art Talks for Book Club!

Friendship Friday with Cyd LaBonte

Friday, July 10th, 1pm

3240 Hedley Road

Springfield, IL

Join us via ZOOM or at the Center!

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Light a Candle

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

Join us on the 2nd Friday of each month for fellowship, laughter, and sharing. Email or call us for more information or to RSVP. This Friday, Cyd LaBonte joins us as our guest speaker!

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

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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