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$30,000 grant to support Hoosiers who are blind and visually impaired

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The partnership between Bosma Enterprises and Regions Foundation is helping Indiana’s blind and visually impaired population by receiving additional support, thanks to new grant funding.

People who have disabilities face a long list of challenges. Representatives at Bosma say roughly 70% of people who are blind or visually impaired are unemployed. They say this funding will help give them vital skills to help them live more independent lives.

Making a bed and cooking meals can often be taken for granted, but, for people who are blind or visually impaired, it’s a skill that takes work.

“What would you do if tomorrow you found out you were losing your vision? Will you come to a place like Bosma?” said Brandon Wells, Bosma executive director.

Every year, the agency provides support to roughly 800 Hoosiers and uses specialized programing to help clients regain independence and confidence navigating life at home and work.

“We’re kind of getting out of our slumber. We’re opening back up. We’re doing all of our programming in person again,” Wells said. ” Our hope is that we can kind of pick up where we left off and that we can work with them to give them the tools that they need to be successful.”

A new $30,000 grant from the Regions Foundation will allow them to do much more work. With Bosma focusing on education and work force readiness, it will become a vital resource as unemployment rates remain high at nearly 70%, which is an issue compounded by years of the pandemic.

“That’s probably one of the most rewarding parts of our job, is the fact that we get to look inside our communities and figure out what are the challenges. We work with the foundation to try and come up with strategies,” said Erik Miner of Regions Foundation.

Regions Foundation representatives say that providing support to agencies that focus on access and promote economic opportunities and inclusively for people with disabilities is a key part of its mission.

“The challenges that were presented during the pandemic were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and unlike anything most people have ever experienced. So, we really had to focus to make sure that we were doing the right things inside of the community,” Miner said.

Bosma representatives say it’s important to change mindsets. Technological advances have helped who are blind or visually impaired perform more jobs.

“We give them the tools that they need to do whatever job they do to resume their careers,” Wells said.