TULSA, Okla. – Valentine’s Day shoppers are invited to pick up free cards with special Braille messages for loved ones at Tulsa Promenade Mall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, February 10.
Staff from Visual Services will combine outreach with public education on the first level of the mall located at 4107 S. Yale Avenue in front of Bath & Body Works and The Nut Hut.
The main entrance is near the El Chico Restaurant off E. 41st Street.
The Visual Services experts will also distribute candy and Braille alphabet cards intended to help children compare print letters with Braille characters.
The basic braille unit is an arrangement of six raised dots, two across and three down that resembles the number six domino. Each dot or combination of dots represents letters of the print alphabet. Braille dots are designed to be read with the fingertips, but can be written by hand, on computers or portable electronic note takers.
The Valentine’s holiday project was the marketing brainstorm of VS Field Coordinator Fatos Floyd. She hopes to improve public knowledge about blindness, Braille and statewide assistance available from Visual Services.
“There are a lot of people who do not know about our agency,” Floyd said. “Our Braille project will hopefully get our name out so we can help more people make the most of their remaining vision and learn innovative techniques for coping with vision loss.
“If there is someone in in your life struggling with a visual disability, we are here to help,” Floyd added. “We want citizens to know how DRS invests their tax money, who benefits and why that matters.
“Being blind myself, I love seeing other blind and vision impaired persons experience the rehabilitation services which I have benefited from myself.”
In 2016, Visual Services assisted 1,830 Oklahomans who are blind or visually impaired, including 246 who became employed, taxpaying citizens. Those successful jobseekers earn an average of $22,602 per year and pay $3,390 in average annual taxes.
Visual Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, assigns expert rehabilitation and orientation and mobility specialists to teach individualized skills to jobseekers at worksites, as well as older blind Oklahomans in their varied home environments. The skills instruction and other services are delivered in every county in the state and customized to help individuals lose their fear of blindness and develop skills that lead to independence and self-sufficiency.