Nonprofit that aids visually impaired holding fundraising concerts

The Tucson Society of the Blind is holding its annual concerts March 22-23, one of its main fundraisers for the year.

The nonprofit, which also participates in the Jim Click Millions for Tucson Raffle, provides educational, emotional and social support for the visually impaired and their families.

“This concert is so important to help us get the word out. We know there are lots of people out there who could use our services, but they have to be brave enough to come out and ask for help,” said President Barbara Macpherson, who lives with Retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that causes retinal degeneration resulting in a gradual decline in vision.

Macpherson said many people who have severely impaired vision struggle with isolation, loneliness and a fear of leaving home, and that organization meetings can help alleviate these problems.

The meetings are held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays at Christ Presbyterian Church, 6565 E. Broadway, and feature activities such as bingo, crafts, luncheons and guest speakers on topics ranging from the latest in research and technology for the visually impaired to coping with loss of vision and living your best life.

“Lots of people don’t want to come out of their houses, but it is worth it for them to do it. You have to build up your self esteem; it makes a big difference in your attitude and quality of life. You really come away with an ‘I can do it’ attitude,” Macpherson said.

The group also offers a wide range of regional field trips designed to enrich the lives of members. Past excursions have included Sabino Canyon and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

The trips provide specially-adapted activities that allow participants to rely on other senses besides sight and are designed to keep members engaged in life and learning, according to Tom Young.

Tom and his wife, Bobbie, are members of the group: Bobbie, 83, lost the sight in one eye after an accident and suffers glaucoma in the other eye; Tom, 81, also has impaired vision.

“We try to create an environment where we teach people to be independent,” said Tom.

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