News : New Call Center for Blind and Visually Impaired in Albany
Albany, NY, USA, Jan 22, 2016 -- "Good morning, Kenny, how can I help you?"
Contrary to what it might look and sound like, Diane Clancy is retired. She spends her free time volunteering at the Northeastern Association for the Blind at Albany (NABA).
"Thank you so much for your help and you have a great day," Clancy said into her headset.
In between bites of her food, she'll tell you she uses buses to get around and doesn't really like it.
"I haven't been able to drive for many, many, many years," she said.
Though she has the ability to taste, touch, hear and smell, there is one sense she lacks.
"If I were to look at you, I see no face at all," she explained.
Macular degeneration has destroyed Diane's retina, but through it all, she's adapted.
"There are totally blind telephone operators and people would say, 'what?' " Clancy said. "But there is just so much technology out there you don't need to sit at home anymore."
It's that message NABA has preached for more than a century. Unveiling this new call center, they are hoping to change the statistic that 70 percent of blind people are unemployed.
"It's a new opportunity for us, it's a service industry that we're getting into," NABA Executive Director Christopher Burke explained.
The building on Washington Avenue not only provides vision care services but also competitive jobs. On one floor, the visually impaired sew garments for the transportation authority and military.
There are also programs for children and teens with visual impairments, and a full kitchen to teach youth how to cook safely.
"They have contrast with the white and the black for cutting boards," Clancy said. "They've really thought it through."
The NABA will continue to use their vision to employ those who can't see clearly.
"If you're a visually impaired person, you can't go wrong," Clancy said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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