Help for Family, Friends and Neighbors
Eye-Link Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides technology for residents of Minnesota and North Dakota who have visual impairments, who are not veterans, and who, for a variety of reasons, can not get technology through State Services for the Blind.
Kathaleen from Minnesota received a Ruby magnifier from Eye-LInk. She uses it for reading and home activities, and as an independence aid when she leaves her home. She said, “At the store, I take photos of bar codes or ingredients and the Ruby brings it up to my face, so I can read the type.” Her Ruby lets her zoom in and out on whatever she’s reading: labels, books, the newspaper and more.
Here is how the Eye-Link process works:
A person who has vision loss and needs adaptive technology applies to State Services for the Blind. If the state, for any number of reasons, can not fulfill the person’s request, a SSB representative can assist the person to fill out the grant application.
When the grant application is sent to Eye-Link, it is crucial that the person who applies includes proof from SSB stating that the state was unable to fulfill the person’s request.
Jim Justesen, Eye-Link founder, said, “Any grant application must be accompanied by a ‘denial’ note, fax, or letter from State Services for the Blind. The board will not review requests for adaptive technology unless a denial letter from SSB is attached.” Eye-Link board members meet quarterly to review all pending grant applications.
The goal is to get the right technology to the visually impaired person. Each year Eye-Link, Minnesota receives between 35-45 adaptive equipment grant applications.
Eye-Link Minnesota and Eye-Link North Dakota do not look at the applicants ability to pay when granting requests for assistive technology. A majority of funding relies individual donations and a small percentage of corporate foundations.
Eye-Link and SSB’s collaboration does not end with the delivery of assistive devices. SSB provides people with the training they need to use the equipment provided by Eye-Link.