Because of BALANCE 2022
A few of our most dedicated clients have taken the time to express their gratitude by sharing their “Because of BALANCE” stories below. We want to thank them and invite you to read their stories.
I learned about BALANCE in 1998 and over the years I’ve taken lessons in computer skills, mobility, community facilitation- the list goes on.
Because of BALANCE I developed my ambitions. They helped me to keep pursuing my creative work and develop ideas which connected the blind and theatre community for me.
In 2020, I spoke with Deborah Gold about actors reading plays over zoom, an idea to offer some enjoyment and community during the pandemic. This has led to many other projects. To be able to combine my creativity with my community gave me such motivation to get through the hard Covid times, and continues to be essential fuel for my creative fire. BALANCE truly does put their clients at the centre, is genuinely empowering people to be their best selves, and has the imagination to not only “serve” but to build a better world together.
Because of BALANCE I am a better lawyer. Their tech training helped me to become savvy at staying in contact with my clients and maintaining a busy work schedule, their vocal training has helped me project my voice better, and their counselling helped me to deal with the difficult transition of practicing law during a pandemic.
I came to BALANCE about 5 years ago. The team at BALANCE took a holistic approach to service delivery, connecting me with various health and wellness programs in addition to navigation and mobility training. One of my favourite experiences at BALANCE has been with the Sharing Space Support Group, which I looked forward to attending each week without fail. The individuals in our session had wonderful chemistry, and offered a sense of connection and belonging that lasted beyond the group’s conclusion – we are now planning get-togethers all the time!
Because of BALANCE I feel recognized and valued as a whole, well-rounded individual. Without asking anything in return, BALANCE has been an enormous support in many aspects of my life.
I came to Canada in 2017 and over four years ago I became part of BALANCE.
BALANCE has taught me how to use the computer independently and because of BALANCE, I am able to read my emails and use MS Word app efficiently. They also taught me how to travel independently and because of BALANCE I can now navigate across GTA confidently.
Currently I’m benefitting from one of the most fantastic programs BALANCE has to offer, which is Assistive Technology Apprenticeship. Because of BALANCE, I’m not only earning an income but also learning new computer skills and gaining the necessary experience to get my future job. This program is a great opportunity not only to become more efficient user of assistive technology, but also to help others become more independent and because of BALANCE i’m feeling more beneficial and helpful to the community.
In 2012, I became a client of BALANCE, where I learned skills to support my independence in AT & O&M. Having just moved back to Toronto after completing grad school, these skills were critical as I embarked on my employment journey. I was fortunate to sit on the BALANCE Board of Directors for 2 years; in this post, I saw BALANCE grow both in its offering of groups and programs and in its staff. I was able to transition the professional skills I cultivated on the board and became a member of the staff instructional team. In my role, I mentored clients, teaching them the needed AT and community engagement skills to be successful in employment, volunteer, or education. Because of BALANCE and the opportunities the organization offered, I have the confidence to pursue a doctorate degree at Western University and am now in my 3rd year of my studies.
Because of BALANCE, I was able to master the use of an iPhone and iPad and I learned to manage and edit documents with confidence. These skills allowed me to accept two new job opportunities that would have otherwise been impossible to manage. I am a visually impaired psychiatrist. As part of my practice, I see people who are struggling emotionally with vision loss. In fact, I have sent many of my patients to BALANCE. BALANCE has played a pivotal role in turning their lives around. They have all found BALANCE as helpful as I did.
Unemployment is a substantial problem in the blind and visually impaired community. For those of my patients who were lucky enough to be employed, BALANCE has helped them to maintain their employment. I have been so impressed with the organization’s contribution to the lives of those of us who are blind and visually impaired, that I have joined their Board of Directors. BALANCE is a small but mighty organization that has a lifelong positive impact on the lives of its clients.
I have been a member of BALANCE for over 30 years, and value them immensely for their assistance and training. I was introduced to tailored programs for me to learn the skills I need to be able to function again with reduced vision. BALANCE has always been there for me whenever I encountered obstacles that I couldn’t navigate on my own. In these very high-tech times in which we live, BALANCE has provided me with the tools and skills that have enabled me to communicate and organize my thoughts and words with people in all areas of my life and in many formats!
Hi my name is Hussein, I lost my sight last 2010. It was only over a year ago when I became a part of BALANCE.
BALANCE has taught me how to use the iPhone independently. Because of BALANCE, I am now able to send text messages, check emails, and read/sign important document. My BALANCE AT instructor has been very understanding with me. She designs the lesson/learning materials based on what my goals are and what would benefit me.
BALANCE did not only offer one-to-one program, but also groups that really benefited me. One of the most recent programs I joined was the Stay Safe! Self-Defense In- Person class. Self-defense has taught me how to control myself during emergency. Because of this program, I became more aware and vigilant of my surroundings. Because of BALANCE, I am now more confident and more courageous in facing difficulties in life.
My name is Joseph and I’ve been a client of BALANCE since 2005. Over the years, I’ve received support and training for Independent Living Skills and Assistive Technology Instruction such as how to utilize phone navigation apps.
BALANCE has supported me socially during the pandemic with online Zoom events and groups. Some of my favourite events were the ROM where I learnt about Whales and Art History, info sessions about COVID-19 that were provided by BALANCE and Toronto Public Health.
I appreciated that BALANCE kept me informed and socially engaged during the pandemic and especially during the lockdowns so I didn’t feel as isolated. Because of BALANCE I always feel connected to and supported by my community.
Hi! My name is Laurisa. I have been associated with BALANCE for Blind Adults since August of this year, so it is quite new to me. I learned about BALANCE and the services they provide to their clients through friends who have benefited from them. I joined BALANCE since I wanted to be of help in providing services to others.
Because of BALANCE I am now an Assistive Technology instructor apprentice, who’s able to teach clients new assistive technology techniques, latest adaptive devices, and help improve their computer skills. With this, I feel I am making a positive contribution to the community. This makes me feel more involved in my community.
BALANCE has helped break down the barriers that get in the way of living independently. Because of BALANCE I have learned how to cook, chop vegetables , use the dish washer, microwave, toaster oven and stove top to make meals. They taught me how to use a computer, the keyboard and JAWS . Another thing BALANCE has helped me with is how to get around my home and neighborhood.
Because Of BALANCE I feel I am a part of a community.
The journey of looking for a place to belong didn’t start in adulthood, but when I was in middle school, particularly in the middle end of Grade Six. It all started first with joining the Vision program then clubs during lunch and afterschool, until I graduated in the Spring of 2015. Despite joining those groups and clubs, I still find myself lonely and adrift for a year or more. However, one afternoon while surfing on the web I found BALANCE for Blind Adults and hit the subscribe button. From the beginning and the near end of each month there was always an opportunity to join. . . until one day in early 2021 I, too, took a chance to join and apply for their program. More than a year has passed since joining, and I still find BALANCE very informative and entertaining. I can’t wait to see what will come up next
Because of BALANCE, I have been able to do and be my best. I’ve accomplished so much including learning essential skills to live a productive life. I cook well enough to feed my husband and myself, and I am an entrepreneur. BALANCE has helped me gain dignity, be more confident with my educational pursuits: such as two university degrees. BALANCE helped me gain skills such as taking pictures for my business.
I am Parnian, a 26-year old Afghan-Canadian woman. I came to Canada in 2017. I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP1) at an early age; it negatively impacted me after 2016. It was challenging for me, moving to a new country, and learning new language and culture. I felt lost and was unsure on how to continue to live alone.
After I found out about BALANCE for Blind Adults, I instantly registered myself. Then, I started to receive tons of help from them. Because of BALANCE I was able to develop my skills further by learning accessible devices and computer programing. I also improved my communication skills. Now, I am more amazingly comfortable and independent. I am now able to turn my negative thoughts to positive. All thanks to BALANCE, who have helped me a lot during the process.
BALANCE is an organization that helps people with visual disabilities, and the help that I have received from them has been amazing. They have enabled me to make easier use of technology, and this has made the quality of my life a lot better.
Because of BALANCE, I have overcome barriers to communication and feel even more connected with friends and family since learning these skills. I have been greatly helped during COVID-19 with online lessons and one to one in person lessons, learning to use voiceover on my Mac computer.
My name is Susanna and I was born totally blind. I really relied on Balance during the pandemic for mobility training and assistive technology. During the pandemic I have been training to become a certified music practitioner (CMP), playing therapeutic music for people in hospitals on my violin. The course has been virtual, so tech support has been vital. The photo is of me and mom: we have a duo called Neep&Tattie and play traditional fiddle music. I also sing traditional music, including in Scots Gaelic, and am a regular singer in my local church, often in the role of cantor. You can find out more on my website: www.susannamccleary.com
BALANCE has given me the confidence and skills to use what I have learned as we move out of the pandemic.
My name is Windy Ho Li. Because of BALANCE, I have learned a lot of skills including the accessibility features on Mac, Windows computer, iPhone, iPad, and more. Through the program BALANCE has provided, I have built confidence in travelling independently. Also, I am now able to communicate and share my life skills with others. Recently, I had the opportunity to join the apprenticeship program as a low vision adaptive technology instructor and became the first graduate. Because of BALANCE, I am able to allow the society to know that my ability is beyond my disability.
In 2014 I moved to Canada from Turkey. Finishing Grade 12 as I was learning English Braille was very challenging and I was referred to BALANCE by a specialist teacher at my high school. Recently I have benefited greatly by taking the UP Skills and Money Matter Workshops. They taught me to become financially responsible as well as becoming more confident in my soft skills which I am excited to use to gain employment once I complete my multiple degrees at University of Toronto. Because of BALANCE I am successful both academically and socially.
BALANCE for Blind Adults has helped me personally and professionally In the past 13 years. Balance instructors have taught me how to use a computer with screen-reading software, an iPhone with Voice Over, and navigate my way to and from various workplaces. Without Balance, I would not have been able to secure and retain employment. I have been able to advance in my career with Balance’s help along the way.