Contact: Dena Fellows, Badger Association
MILWAUKEE, WI. – January 26, 2010 – On January 1, 2010, the Badger Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired and The Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children merged to create one comprehensive, full-service vision resource organization expanding opportunities for children, adults, and families living with changing vision. The new organization hopes to foster independence and successful integration of people of all ages who are visually impaired and offer a continuum of care and support throughout their lives.
This merger will better position the new organization to meet the increasing needs of people in Wisconsin experiencing vision loss. The Wisconsin Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired estimates that as many as 200,000 Wisconsin residents are blind or severely visually impaired. The Office also estimates that approximately 3,000 people with potentially blinding eye diseases (diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.) are examined in the state each week. As baby boomers age, Prevent Blindness projects that the number of Americans affected by age-related blindness will double by the year 2030. The National Eye Health Education Program affirms that the growing prevalence of eye diseases is a major public health problem that reduces quality of life. By combing resources, staff and leadership, the merged organization will be better positioned to reach out and serve all of those in need.
The Badger Association began operating in 1919 to help adults cope and adapt to living with varying stages and degrees of vision loss. The Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children began providing specialized early intervention services for children in 1967. With more than 130 years of combined service, the Association and The Center now align their strengths to form Wisconsin’s premier resource center for all people who are blind and visually impaired.
Patrick Brown, Executive Director, explained the merger as a partnership that emerged from “both organizations’ board of directors believing that a complete merger would best further the missions of serving individuals of all ages with visual impairments and maximize efficient use of community resources.”
“Our hope was that these efforts would lead to a synergy of programs dedicated to enhancing quality of life and increasing opportunities for independence among children and adults who are living with vision loss within the Greater Milwaukee community,” recalled Terri Davis, Associate Director, past Executive Director of The Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children.
After sufficient funds are raised, all programs of the merged organization will operate out of the Badger Association’s current facility on Hawley Road, Milwaukee, WI. A wing will be renovated and specifically tailored to meet the therapy needs of children who are blind or visually impaired.
About the Badger Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Badger Association is a private, nonprofit organization governed by its members, dedicated to promoting personal development, career growth, and community awareness through specialized services and programs for people who are blind and visually impaired. Last year, over 6,000 individuals participated in specialized training and education services, community outreach programs, found independent living solutions, and purchased adaptive tools. Learn more at http://www.badgerassoc.org.
About The Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children
The Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children has been the only agency in Wisconsin to provide the specialized early intervention services required to meet the unique needs of children who are blind or visually impaired. The Center has a 42 year history of successfully serving the special education, therapeutic and developmental needs of children from birth through age six who are blind or visually impaired and their families. Historically, the Center has served 80 to 100 children and their families each year.