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National Center for the Blind

The Assemblies of God has had a National Center for the Blind since 1994. The center provides services to the blind and visually impaired and will provide additional assistance when funds become available.

Currently, the National Center for the Blind has a cassette- and book-lending library. The center has developed Berean University courses, Assemblies of God periodicals, tracts and other evangelistic materials, some on cassette, some in braille.

There are two employees in the National Center for the Blind and three regular volunteers. Another 80 people from around the country read books recorded on to tapes.

There are about 4.5 million blind and visually impaired people in the United States. Of those, 1.3 million are legally blind, including me. I have been legally blind — defined as having 20/200 vision or a visual field of 20 degrees or less — since birth due to an inherited condition.

People who are blind worship in many Assemblies of God churches. Slightly more than 1 percent of blind people in America use a white cane or guide dog.

The center would like to boost its children’s collection. Sighted children have so many Christian materials available to them; children who are blind have very little. There are more than 55,000 blind children in this country.

Technology is available to do so much more. Assistive technologies are being developed that will allow the visually impaired to read a computer screen by way of synthesized speech or braille output devices.

People who are blind can live fruitful lives. Almost half of visually impaired adults — and one-third of those who are legally blind — are employed in professions such as lawyers, physicians, nurses, child-care workers and cosmetologists. Nearly a million visually impaired people use computers.

People who are blind don’t dwell continually on their lack of sight. Most go about their daily routines in schools, workplaces and communities.

— Paul Weingartner, director, Assemblies of God National Center for the Blind

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