Williamsport, Pa. – The Lions Clubs of District 14-G, along with Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), recently donated a Mobile Assistive Technology Lab to North Central Sight Services (NCSS) in Williamsport.
The customized trailer will bring Assistive Technology to individuals who are blind or visually impaired in Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga counties.
In the summer of 2020, NCSS created a state-of-the-art Assistive Technology Lab at its Reach Road facility that provides hands on opportunities for clients and community members to work with the latest tools and devices designed to help people who are blind or visually impaired gain independence and access to information.
The Assistive Technology Lab includes low tech products like special pens that write dark and don’t bleed through the paper, liquid level indicators, handheld magnifiers, and talking clocks all of the way through to high-tech wearables and sophisticated digital magnification systems.
However, since transportation is the most significant barrier for individuals with visual impairments, NCSS felt very it critical to take the technology on the road to clients. As a result, clients will now be served in even the most far-flung areas of North Central Pennsylvania.
Past Lions District Governor Jim Wilbur, Jim Douty, Jim Crawley saw this need and immediately stepped in to help.
“The Three Jims” applied for funding, purchased the trailer, and customized it to fit the agency’s needs. Workstations and cabinets that include specially engineered locking mechanisms to keep them secure while in motion were custom built and installed.
The lab also has a generator that provides electricity to make it a standalone facility to demonstrate the technology. The mobile lab is also outfitted with all of the necessities including a spare tire, locking mechanism on the hitch, painted floor, accessibility step so people may enter and exit safely, and even a broom and dustpan to keep it tidy.
“I am thrilled to take our Mobile AT Lab on the road and get technology to people who need it the most”, says Brandon DeArment, NCSS AT and IT Specialist.
Brian Patchett, NCSS President & CEO adds, “I deeply appreciate the Lions enthusiasm in stepping up and donating this mobile facility that will help community members have access to information and technology in all aspects of their lives. Having been an Assistive Technology professional and user, I know the priceless value that Assistive Technology brings to the life of an individual with a visual disability.”
“Thank you so much to the Three Jims and the Lions Club International Foundation for making our dream of a Mobile AT Lab a reality. This gift will create independence for so many individuals in our region,” Patchett added.
To learn more about NCSS, or if you know anyone who has a visual impairment and needs assistance, visit us at 2121 Reach Road, Williamsport, Pa., call (570) 323-9401 to schedule a visit with a member of the services team, take a tour, or visit the Assistive Technology Lab.