Photo montage of people having fun at various ABL fundraisers

             "The Buzz" Newsletter

Picture of ABL Inc logo showing the letters ABL in sign language and in Braille

Presents

The words "The Buzz" are shown with a Picture of a bumble bee wearing green gardening boots and gloves using a watering can to water two yellow flowers in a white pot.

Growing Stronger!

Spring/Summer 2021 Edition


Hello ABL Members!

Just as today’s spring showers bring future flowers, Affiliated Blind of Louisiana is hard at work planting the seeds to grow an organization that supports our mission to Educate our communities about blindness, to Support the ABL Training Center, and to be a Mentor for others who are visually impaired, blind and Deaf-Blind.

This newsletter is filled with blooms of articles on an array of relevant topics like ABL Chapter News, an Aira update, and even some spring recipes.

We appreciate all that you do to help our organization grow and continue cultivating the ABL family spirit!

picture shows a bumble bee sitting on a plant leaf with his eyes closed enjoying the sweet fragrance of a purple flower.

COVID-19 CARE PACKAGES

As COVID-19 spread through out Louisiana, the ABL New Orleans Chapter safely gathered up much needed supplies and made enough care packages for each chapter member. Care packages included essentials such as disinfectants, sanitizers and toilet paper. These items were distributed with new social distancing and mask wearing guidelines.

Picture shows the care packages made by the New Orleans Chapter members.
picture shows New Orleans chapter members masked and sitting at tables at a safe distance.

BRONZED IN HONOR

The ABL Shreveport/Bossier City Chapter helped in donating a bronze tactile Braille American flag to the Blinded Veterans Association. The Braille American flag honors the World War II Veterans who formed the Blinded Veterans Association in 1945 and all veterans that have lost their sight in services to their country. These American heroes shaped the history, philosophy, knowledge and skills of education and rehabilitation of the blind veterans, so they could take their rightful place in the community creating a world built upon equality. The Braille American Flag was donated on March 28, 2021.

Picture shows the bronze tactile Braille American flag with the pledge of allegiance written in print and tactile Braille as well as a plaque recognizing the Shreveport/Bossier City Chapter and the affiliates who donated the Braille flag


ABL BATON ROUGE CHAPTER - SUPER SUMMER RAFFLE

Your Perfect Beach View Is Waiting…

Picture shows 7 multi colored chairs lined up looking out into the clear blue waters of the beach and sky.

1st Prize: A 2-night stay at Seaside Beach & Racket Club in Orange Beach, Alabama

Prize includes a FREE 2-night, 3 day stay in a 2-bedroom condo on the third floor with a beach view and sleeps 6 people. The complex has two outdoor pools, an indoor pool, tennis courts and workout room. A parking pass and cleaning of the condo are included. Winner will be able to book between 10/15/2021 to 12/15/2021. Check out the Seaside Beach and Racket Club website at https://www.meyerre.com/condo/Seaside_Beach_and_Racquet.

2nd Prize: Margarita Basket

3rd Prize: $50.00 Cash

Tickets are $5.00 each or $20.00 for five.

Drawing will be held Saturday, September 4, 2021

Live on Facebook – Time TBA https://www.facebook.com/ablbrchapter

For Tickets Visit: https://abltc.wufoo.com/forms/m1y7bgdi0zbzbd4/


AIRA UPDATE

Did you know that the Aira service is now available at all Target stores nationwide and for online shopping at Target.com? This is your chance to try Aira at your local Target or from the comfort of your home. The service is available 24/7/365 and available through the Aira app and our highly trained agents can describe products, look for sales, assist with placing orders, and in-store pickup. So, if you’re looking for a unique gift, a certain size swim suit or putting together a big order to pick up later, we’ve got you covered.

How does Aira work? It’s simple:

Download the free “Aira” app for free using aira.io/app, or call 1-800-835-1934.

Connect with a certified human Aira agent.

Receive real-time assistance.

How do I find the closest Target near me using Aira?

Make sure you enable location services for Aira on your mobile device.

Choose the “Call Using a Free Offer” button.

Select the location button.

Now you see a screen that shows you the nearest Access locations with a search bar at the top. You can search for any city or state just by typing there and see the access locations available. You can alternatively type a zip/postal code and do a more precise search.

How do I shop online at Target.com?

On iOS and Android, please use the following steps:

Choose the “Apply a Free Access Offer” button from the home screen.

Select the products button.

You can use the search box to search for Target.com or select it from the list of offers.

Is there a limit to how long someone can use Aira at Target?

Aira can be used for as long as needed while shopping at Target.

What can Aira be used for while at Target?

You can use Aira for any number of tasks while at a Target, including:

  • Shopping for a birthday gift
  • Selecting specific sale items from shelves
  • Locating carts or baskets
  • Locating the shortest check-out line
  • Picking out the perfect card to go with your gift
  • Finding the right pair of shorts for a picnic
  • Reading numbers from gift cards
  • Placing a delivery order
  • Selecting the ideal wine to pair with your picnic
  • Placing an order for delivery, shipping, or pickup
  • And more

For more detailed store information, including hours, services offered, and phone numbers, visit Target.com or use the Target App for iOS or Android.

picture shows Chyvonne Blanchard with a target hand basket filled with beach items using her phone to ask the AIRA agent what the price is for the red swim suit


Accessible gaming From the App Store

Zany Touch - Fully integrated with VoiceOver to make this a great game for the blind and visually impaired.

Test your reflexes against faster and faster challenges. Listen for the instruction and do it as fast as you can -- touch, swipe up, swipe down, swipe left, swipe right, shake, pinch, and two finger touch. A pulsing sound track keeps the game moving. How many levels can you make it past? 100? 200? 300?

A simple, yet challenging game for all ages. Easy to play and addictive! The whole family can play against each other.

Dusk - An all-new gaming experience, designed for the blind but playable by everyone.

Use your phone in ways you've never imagined and challenge yourself with a series of mini-games that do not require the use of sight, or play with a friend to find out who's the best!

Each game uses a combination of movement sensors, vibration, sound and other technologies for a totally immersive experience.

FEER – This game was made to be fully accessible with VoiceOver and is the first endless runner for visual impaired and sighted gamers.

Dense fog will make it hard to see the Zombies. Slide underneath the Ravens and jump over the Zombies, trying to grasp your feet. But save the fairies or you will run blind and have to run in the dark. Only those with the best ears survive in this dark world and can save the fairies’ light.


Simple Spring Inspired Recipes

Sweetwater Tavern White Sangria – A Spring Mocktail

The light and refreshing alcohol free spin on this sangria will surely put a spring in your step!

Ingredients:

½ oz. orange juice

3 oz. sparkling apple cider

3 oz. soda water

2 tsp. diced apples

2 tsp. diced oranges

3 mint leaves

Directions:

Add orange juice, apples, oranges, and torn mint leaves to glass.

Finish with sparkling cider, soda water, and ice to fill.

Picture shows a rounded stemmed clear glass holding the contents of a sweet water tavern white sangria with fresh cut pineapples and mint leaves.


Watermelon and Strawberry Smoothie

Packed with vitamins and antioxidants this sweet smoothie is best served frozen!

Ingredients:

½ cup watermelon

1 frozen banana

½ cup frozen Strawberries

a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime

Directions:

Cube and remove seeds from watermelon. Blend watermelon, with frozen banana, frozen strawberries and squeezed lemon or lime juice. Pour and serve.

Picture shows two slices of watermelon and a strawberry sitting next to a fancy clear glass of watermelon and strawberry smoothie topped with a skewer of fresh strawberries on top

Coconut Milk and Mango Smoothie

Ready in no time, this two-ingredient smoothie is smooth as silk and takes you straight to paradise!

Ingredients:

fresh or frozen mango

coconut milk

Optional Ingredients:

mint leaves

grated coconut

Directions:

Blend the coconut milk and frozen mango together. Top with mint leaves and/or grated coconut for added freshness. 

Picture show shows a cutting board with fresh cut mango and mint leaves on it as well as a clear mason jar with a handle. mason jar holds the contents of coconut milk and mango smoothie topped with shredded coconuts, mint leaves and a green and white straw


Classic Chicken Salad

Made as a sandwich, placed on a salad, or wrapped up in a tortilla, this classic chicken salad recipe is definitely picnic worthy!

Ingredients

2 cups cooked chicken chopped or shredded

½ cup mayonnaise

1 stalk celery chopped

1 green onion diced (or chives or red onion)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon seasoned salt

pepper to taste

1 teaspoon fresh dill optional

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a sandwich or over lettuce.

  • Take this classic recipe and kick it up a notch by replacing some of the mayo with mashed avocado or ranch salad dressing. You can even try some of these add-in suggestions:

Celery for crunch

Grapes or dried cranberries for sweetness

Pecans or almonds for extra protein

  • In the need for a quick and easy meal, use canned chicken!
  • Get creative by using poached, rotisserie, or grilled chicken. Even last night’s left-over chicken can be used.


2021 ABL SUMMER CAMP UPDATE

Last summer we missed sharing the blind camp experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The ABL State Office has received many requests and calls asking if ABL will be hosting the summer camp trip this year.

Camp Wewoka Woods will be opening for camp, but ABL will not be participating as a sponsored group. Due to the fact that we take vans for transportation and have to ride in such close vicinity to one another, there still may be a chance for transmission of the COVID-19 virus. We have chosen to plan for next year's camp session when most of our participants will be fully vaccinated and we can enjoy the event!

Christian Record is sponsoring blind campers this year, so if you are still interested in attending one of their camps and can provide your own transportation, please check out their website at https://christianrecord.org/member-services/camps/overview/camps.html.

picture shows a sign reading Wewoka woods Adventist Center.


EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT – AN FCC PROGRAM

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.

About the Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

When Can I Sign Up for the Benefit?

As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.

For more information visit https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit or call 1(888)225-5322.

picture shows the logo for the FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit


ABL Strong Statewide Fundraiser Update

The State Office Team would like to thank everyone for their contributions to the ABL Statewide Fundraiser. This event filled week long virtual fundraiser was jammed packed full of fun and brought our organization together. We played bingo, bet against each other in a friendly silent auction and watched our chapter representatives battle it out with some ABL trivia. Lynn “Big Daddy” Blanchard and his special guest Kayla Blanchard also entertained us during the live virtual piano bar. These special events are what make ABL strong! Not only did we enjoy the time together, we exceeded our $20,000 goal and collected $23,161 in generous donations! The State Office Team appreciates the time, efforts and monetary gifts that were given to help in reaching our goal and our mission of supporting the ABL Training Center!

Picture of Five ABL staff members wearing ABL strong T-shirts, smiling and signing the letters ABL Strong


Discounts for Passengers with Disabilities and Companions

Amtrak offers a 10% rail fare discount to adult passengers with a disability. Passengers with a disability travelling on Downeaster trains (Boston, MA to Portland, ME) are eligible for a 50% discount. Child passengers with a disability are eligible for the everyday 50% child discount plus an additional 10% off the discounted child's fare, regardless of the service on which they travel.

Amtrak also offers a 10% discount for persons traveling with a passenger with a disability as a companion. Those designated as a companion must be capable of providing the necessary assistance to the passenger with a disability.

Just select 'Passenger with Disability' or 'Companion' for each passenger as appropriate in Fare Finder at the beginning of your search and to receive the applicable discounts.

You must provide written documentation of your disability at the ticket counter and when boarding the train. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Transit system ID card for persons with a disability
  • Membership card from a disability organization
  • Letter from a physician
  • Medicare card, if under 65
  • Veteran's Administration ID with “Service Connected”
  • Disabled/Accessible parking placard issued by a state Department of Motor Vehicle (photocopy is acceptable).

Discount Limitations

Not valid with Saver Fares and may not be combinable with other discount programs; refer to the terms and conditions for each offer or ask your reservations sales agent for further details about restrictions.

picture shows the building of the Lafayette, La Amtrack station

 

Game’s with Alexa

Heads Up!

Alexa will give you a bunch of clues to see if you can guess the name she’s thinking of. Free decks include superstars, blockbuster movies and favorite fictional characters.

Say, “Alexa, play Heads Up!”

Truth or Dare

Not for kids, this game is pretty self-explanatory. Pick your poison.

Say, “Alexa, play Truth or Dare”

Trivia Battle

Wanting to prove your trivia mettle to the whole country? Answer trivia questions to help push your state to the top of the leaderboard. If you’ve got multiple people playing, take turns to boost your profile.

Say “Alexa, play Trivia Battle”

Guess the Price

Fashioned after “The Price Is Right,” this game lets you guess the price of a product. Play solo or with others to try and outscore each other.

Say, “Alexa, play Guess the Price”

How Can You Help?

To help in any way, please contact us here at the ABL Training Center by giving us a call, making a donation, or just stopping by.