Sights for Hope Team Marks White Cane Safety Day with Learning and Teaching

Sights for Hope’s team marked this year’s national White Cane Safety Day by learning additional techniques to empower those it serves and by inspiring children to be inclusive of people with visual impairments.

Held annually on October 15, White Cane Safety Day is intended to raise awareness of how the canes are used as safety devices by people with visual impairments and blindness. The commemoration was signed into law in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson. It also provides a reminder that people with visual impairments who carry white canes have right of way on any road and cannot be held liable for crashes or injuries.

Recognized today as symbols of empowerment, white canes have been used by Americans with visual impairments since the 1930s. For those who use a cane, it is an integral part of their orientation and mobility (or O&M) techniques – which are practices and strategies that advance independent travel.

Sights for Hope held an immersive training program on O&M techniques, including white cane use, for its staff on Friday. Its purpose was to help Sights for Hope’s team members – including those who are not direct service providers – reinforce skills taught to its clients. These abilities are among the most critical for people with visual impairments who seize their personal independence.

Sights for Hope followed with presentations to students at St. Elizabeth Regional School in Whitehall, PA, on Monday. The programs introduced students in grades 1-3 to white canes, braille, and techniques for organizing money with limited sight. The students also learned proper etiquette to use with people who have visual impairments.

Sights for Hope transforms the lives of people with visual impairments and blindness by removing the barriers to their independence. Sights for Hope’s services teach adaptive skills to accomplish daily life activities; provide supports that counter the effects of visual impairments and blindness; increase access to medical care, healthy food, and other essentials; and advance solutions that enhance sight capabilities. More than 40% of Sights for Hope’s clients live below or near the federal poverty line. Founded in 1928, Sights for Hope carries forward in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and Monroe County a tradition of service inspired by Helen Keller and is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind.

Image: Photo of a man holding a white cane and a microphone speaking before an audience.