News

BALANCE hosts “Celebrity Presenter”  on May 1, 2017!

Tom Dekker to visit BALANCE for a special (Pay What You Can) presentation…

We are pleased to announce that a special ‘celebrity guest’ will visit BALANCE for a technology presentation* on Monday May 1. Tom Dekker, former BALANCE staff member and assistive technology expert will present on the topic:

“Seeing the Touch Screen Through the Mind’s Eye”

Monday May 1, 4:30-6:00 p.m., Pay What You Can (minimum $5.00)

(followed by “dinner with Tom”, at your own expense, at Jekyll and Hyde pub, if you wish).

BALANCE offices, 2340 Dundas St. W., Unit G-06

Come to this workshop to learn how touch-screen proficiency can be significantly increased by applying techniques to visualize the screens of your favourite apps and work more quickly with them.

Here are a few more notes from Tom to potential participants:

“Greetings to everyone, with a special hello to BALANCE participants who have studied iOS with me in the past. I am very happy to have been invited back to do a presentation during this visit back home. Over the last few years I have been giving a lot of thought to ways in which touch-screen proficiency can be significantly increased. I think we can have a fun and beneficial time as you learn to apply techniques that will help you to visualize the screens of your favourite apps and work more quickly with them. Please be sure to bring earbuds so as not to create a distraction where many iPhones are speaking at once. That way, you can keep one ear on me, and your other ear on your iPhone or iPad.

In advance of the session, you can sign up to receive a brief document explaining what “iPhone Eyes-Free” is all about, or subscribe to receive follow-up information about teaching/learning resources that we are developing. To do this, visit:

Www.ihabilitation.ca/eyesfree

If there is interest, we can also discuss the fact that a growing number of vision-impaired people are exploring online digital marketing activities as a viable alternative to “the traditional job search”, and how much of it can be done right from your iDevice. It is encouraging and exciting to contemplate the potential in this field I look forward to seeing you on May 1!”

To register for this exciting special workshop, please call Chelsea Mohler at 416-236-1796, ext. 225, and state your name and that you are registering for “Dekker workshop” or email her at c.mohler@balancefba.org

*Please note: This workshop is PWYC (pay what you can) with a minimum recommended donation to BALANCE of $5.00. Enrollment is limited, so please pre-register by April 28 (at the latest) with Chelsea!

**We will be videotaping this session for marketing purposes; if you do not want to appear in the video, please let us know in advance so that we may seat you accordingly.

Thank you


BALANCE hosts “Myths and Facts” Workshop for Prospective Guide Dog Users

guide dog sitting

BALANCE Orientation and Mobility instructors and  guide dog users hosted a workshop March 22, 2017 for blind adults considering a guide dog. Much was discussed and learned, because it’s both rewarding and challenging to be a guide dog owner, and people do have a lot of questions. If you have an idea for a workshop at BALANCE, please do give us a call!


New Staff Member to BALANCE!

BALANCE is pleased to welcome Rosie Arcuri as our new Assistive Technology Instructor, Low Vision

Rosie joined us in January, and immediately became an active participant on our team, teaching our clients and planning an innovative new summer program for young adults. With a degree in Psychology and five + years working in the community sector with people with disabilities, Rosie is passionate about helping people who are visually impaired achieve their goals. Rosie comes to us from   Independent Living – Montreal (IL-M), where she organized and taught courses as Program Coordinator.

Rosie has experience with adaptive technology in both her personal and professional life. As someone with a visual impairment, she has firsthand knowledge of both the wonders and challenges of assistive technology. Furthermore, she has been able to pass on her insights to clients through her work with the Adaptech Research Network at Dawson College and IL-M.

Rosie has also been involved with the blindness community for years as a member of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), Montreal chapter’s executive board, a board member for the National Educational Association for Disabled Students (NEADS), and she has been a support group animator for the CNIB in Montreal. She has also worked with people who have other disabilities, such as students, seniors, immigrants, and job seekers. Furthermore, Rosie is bilingual in French and English and can speak and understand Italian.


BALANCE receives Enabling Accessibility grant!

Great news! BALANCE has today learned that we have received a federal grant from Employment and Social Development Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund, to install an automatic door opening system on our front doors. Besides the SDC reviewers, we would like to thank the Crossways Complex management and the TC-LHIN for their letters of support, and we look forward to improving access to our offices in the coming weeks.


Join our Board of Directors!

Calling Committed and Passionate People to Volunteer and Serve on the BALANCE for Blind Adults Board of Directors!

We invite people who live or work in Toronto to fill vacant positions on the volunteer Board of Directors.  We value professional expertise of all sorts, but experience in the following areas would presently be considered as a particular asset to the Board:

  • Legal (including, corporate governance, health, human rights, mental health, privacy)
  • Communications and/or public relations
  • Fundraising

Candidates will be expected to commit to bi-monthly Board meetings, and be willing to take part in Board committee tasks and meetings outside of the regularly scheduled meetings.  Board meetings can either be attended in-person or via teleconference.

We welcome people from diverse backgrounds.

Please email your letter of interest and resume, in Word format, by April 30,  to:

Recruitment Committee,
BALANCE Board of Directors
c/o Michelle McQuigge, Vice-Chair


Doug Poirier talks to a clientSpring forward with a new course at BALANCE!

BALANCE is offering a wide range of interesting courses this spring.


Generous Donation Provides Upgrades to BALANCE Training Centre!

We are  pleased to announce that a generous (anonymous) donation is bringing a technological and physical face lift to the BALANCE training centre.  We are so pleased to announce that we have purchased 5 new computers and we will be adding mobile computing technologies and making key software additions and upgrades.  In addition we have purchased comfortable new chairs for our trainees, and the donation has also made it possible to improve our staff office with much needed brand new excellent office chairs for all the staff.  In the next few months, this generous gift will have made a significant positive impact on the BALANCE client experience.


BALANCE Announces Agreement with L.A.M.P. Information Technology Services

BALANCE is pleased to announce an agreement that will give us IT support from Lakeshore Area Multiservice Program (LAMP) IT Services.  This service is a social enterprise that is providing BALANCE with reasonably priced HelpDesk services and necessary IT upgrades such as improved wifi, and a new email server.  In addition, LAMP IT is able to source new computers for our staff and our training centre at extremely reasonable costs, and charges a reasonable rate to install and maintain our servers and our equipment.  We are so pleased to be working with LAMP-IT, and look forward to a productive relationship as we move forward on our IT infrastructure development plan.  I would like to thank Reconnect Shared Services (a department at Reconnect Community Mental Health) for their comprehensive (LHIN-funded) IT assessment provided to us at BALANCE.  This assessment carefully mapped our as-is state against the best practice standards and noted the priorities in upgrading our IT infrastructure so that we can operate in a state-of-the-art environment.


BALANCE and Accessible Media Inc. form New Partnership to Benefit Clients!

AMI and BALANCE have signed a sponsorship agreement that will see AMI supporting several key events this year, in honour of BALANCE’s 30th anniversary.  AMI will provide the wonderful contribution of a professionally produced video about BALANCE, to be available on the BALANCE website, in addition to sponsorship dollars.  Please take the time to visit the AMI website and the AMI booth at events that you attend this year.  We are grateful to AMI for their support, and we are certain BALANCE clients will benefit from the productive relationship between our two organizations.


BALANCE on Accessible Media Inc.

BALANCE was recently featured on a News show called AMI This Week.