Laura Levine, a teacher at Apex High School was our guest speaker on September 3rd. Laura is a theater teacher and has a special interest in assisting the blind and visually impaired. A few weeks ago she had an opportunity to take some training on Audio Description. Audio Description (AD) is a narration service for individuals who are blind or have low vision. The audio describer provides an ongoing dialogue of visual events that are taking place on the stage, screen, at the museum, on a television, at the movies or even public speaking events. Here is what Laura wrote on her application to take the training:
As an arts teacher in a public school, one of my primary goals is to make my program inclusive and curriculum accessible to all students. Participating in audio description training would allow me to provide audio descriptions not only for productions at the school and in the community, but also for lectures, orientations, and presentations across Apex High’s campus. Because the arts are naturally an area that offers free expression and creativity, I feel particularly passionately about ensuring that all members of the community can have full access to this programming.
This training would make me the first staff member at my school with the skills necessary to provide audio description, and with several members of the student body with visual impairments, it would have a very immediate application. In order to maintain support for the arts in schools, I think it is important to make programming accessible and use our skills to give back to the community in as many ways as possible, and this training would be a strong step in that direction.
But she needed some help to cover the cost. So the Apex Lions Club stepped in and paid half of the tuition for her to attend. So this evening she came to thank us for the financial assistance and also to share some of what she had learned at the training and how she is planning to put that knowledge to work. Not only is Audio Description helpful for the blind and visually impaired, it has also been shown to be effective for children with A.D.H.D. to help them keep focused during presentations and orientations. There are about 5 students at Apex High School with vision issues who could benefit from this immediately. But Laura also has plans to help outside of the school as well at places like the Raleigh Little Theater, for example. She is also considering continuing this line of education professionally. There is a six month mentorship program available as well.
As Lions and “Knights for the blind”, we are always thrilled to help in situations like this. A small investment of tuition cost or time helping someone like Laura with a heart to help the blind and visually impaired will go a very long way! Laura can be reached by email at Levine.Laura@gmail.com.
We also had another treat this evening when one of our members, Lion Sandra Johnson, who happens to work for the Department of the State Treasurer shared that some of our members are actually owed money by the State of North Carolina! There is a web site: NCCash.com where you can (and should) check every month to see if any money is owed to you. Lion Sandy had documentation for several of our members which represented about $1000 in total. Also, if you have lived in another state, you might also want to go check that state’s similar web site since all states have sites like this. How’s that for some good news?