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?

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! Email or call us for more information or to RSVP.

Book Club Fridays

Next Book

June 19: Salt to the Sea

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

July 24: Walk in the Woods

Aug 21: Widow of the South

Sept 18: Walking Across Egypt

October 23: Blackfoot Messiah

November 20: Hidden Kennedy

December 11: Redbird Christmas

Campus Update Coming Soon!

ECVI is looking forward to re-open our campus doors as soon as possible. At this time, the state of Illinois is scheduled to reopen on June 1st. We are eagerly looking forward to getting everyone back on track as soon as possible. If we are given the green light to re-open, we're hoping to do so on June 12th. We will leave it up to each individual student and teacher to gauge their comfort level to return.

We'll keep you in the loop on potential class offerings, schedules, and re-opening procedures as we get closer to June.

3rd Annual Dining in the Dark

You're invited!

Purchase Tickets, Volunteer or Sponsor the Event


Friday, July 17th, 6pm

6pm: Conversation and Cocktails

7pm: Dinner

8pm: Live Auction and Music


Colombian Hall (Formerly KC Hall)

2200 Meadowbrook Road

Springfield, IL

RSVP by July 10, 2020 (new date!)

Home Alone

One of my main concerns 10 weeks ago when we had to temporarily close the Educational Center was how “staying in place” would impact our students who are visually impaired.

Would they be able to stay connected to family and friends?

Would they be able to get groceries to make meals?

Would they stay healthy by finding new ways to exercise physically, mentally and emotionally?

Would they continue to have hope?

I would like to take this time to share stories of how resilient and positive our students have remained to overcome many obstacles during this pandemic.

We learned a lot together and overcame many challenges.

In order to stay connected, the Educational Center purchased Zoom software thanks to a COVID 19 Grant funding from the UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL ILLINOIS and COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR THE LAND OF LINCOLN. Your generosity will help our students so much in the days and weeks to come. Over 80% of our students are seniors who are learning ways to “do life” with new technology skills.

During one Zoom meeting, we asked our students to share how they were keeping healthy. We shared “tips and tricks” with each other.

One student shared that she used a couple of different apps to order takeout meals delivered to her home and how she kept herself safe. (She certainly helped to stimulate the local economy.) Another student shared about his daily walks for exercise. Another student shared how their family had been meeting more often using Zoom.

Another student shared how much she enjoyed watching the birds and animals this spring.

Another enjoyment our students have is listening to audio books. This became a challenge when they could not order books through the closure of the Talking Books program. Therefore, we learned how to work together in order to use mobile devices or computers to download audio books. Recently, at a Friendship Friday Book Club Zoom meeting, we were able to discuss the book they downloaded, Killers of the Flowering Moon. It is a true story of the Osage Indians and an agent with the FBI, Tom White, who discovered why 100 Indians were being murdered. The different ways included poisoning their whiskey to bombing their homes. The book was fascinating, but so sad. You will have to read the book to discover why they were being murdered!

Our meeting facilitator, Kay Chambers, asked the group what they were thankful for during this pandemic. Their comments were both inspiring and gave me encouragement.

They are thankful that we could meet through Zoom; this time brought them closer to family members; they have a roof over their heads; and that the weather was getting nicer. They were thankful for church services being streamed on line and that they had a way to interact with their church family.

They also mentioned they are looking forward to getting haircuts and enjoying getting outside more often and taking long walks.

Yes, our world has changed at the Educational Center. We are working to get everyone connected with Mobile Devices and Computers. Last December, the SPRINGFIELD CLINIC gifted the Educational Center with lap tops, IPads and Victor Streams. We knew at the time that this was a great gift and we were beyond grateful. Little did we know how lifesaving their generous gift would become for our students in just a few short months! We have been able to loan these devices to our students so that they could participate in society and continue to be an important part of our community. SPRINGFIELD CLINIC you are our Heroes! Our students have thrived because of your generosity and we cannot express how much they appreciate your gift!

“Learning as usual” is something in the past and we will be doing something new in the future.

What that looks like is still to be determined. However, what we do know is that we will make a way for skill development and social connections to continue and we will learn how together!

Thankfully, I am not alone.


You Matter: Aira IO

Many of us are spending more and more time at home, maybe more than we'd like, so this week we're offering up a helpful tool for making your home (and your world) a safer and more easily navigated place.

Check out Aira IO - Aira offers both a free and a paid subscription service manned by real, highly-trained people who can see your surroundings through your phone's camera or .

Free service via the AIRA app

  1. Promotions – limited and on-going promotions that provide free access to Aira agents, such as the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Owners promotion.
  2. Products – free to use for tasks that involve using certain products like Vispero’s JAWS screen reader.
  3. Locations – free to use while in a growing number of locations like Walgreens, AT&T stores, airports, and federal buildings.

Paid Subscription

People use Aira for a variety of everyday activities that fit their lifestyle, including organizing and managing tasks at home, at work, or at school; reading inaccessible materials; travel and navigation; enhancing engagement with entertainment, events, and social gatherings; and troubleshooting technology.

Aira: By Your Side Throughout Life's Journey

With the closing of our campus and suspension of our regular program schedule, we ask you to join us in keeping our wonderful instructors and students connected. Our expenses continue and in some places increase as we migrate classes and enrichment gatherings to an online presence. Please help us continue our programs, especially in this critical time.

Click HERE to donate.

We appreciate you!

Covid-19 Information: Visiting us at the center is not possible at the moment, but we're still providing personalized individual programs! Call us at 217-303-9062 to connect, check us out on Facebook and Twitter, or drop us an email. Keep healthy and safe until we meet again.

Educational Center for the Visually Impaired

Personalized Skill Development and​ Social Connections
for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Central Illinois
Click HERE to SUBSCRIBE to ECVI Connect

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