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Rotary, Lighthouse hold boat excursion

May 9, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

When you have eyesight, you can see what you're enjoying out on the water.

When you are blind or visually impaired, you have to use the rest of your senses- the smell of the sea water or the sound of the water splashing against the boat.

On Saturday, more than 40 clients with The Lighthouse of SWFL, a vision rehabilitation facility in North Fort Myers, and the Rotary of Cape Coral teamed up to offer an experience of a lifetime.

Rotary, with the help of volunteer captains, took Lighthouse clients out on the open water Saturday for the 15th annual boat trip, an opportunity many had never had before.

"Clients get to experience many of the things we teach in classes like orientation and mobility," said Amy Turner, community relations coordinator with Lighthouse of SWFL. "They can go out and live, work and lay independently."

Forty clients, along with guides, met at Tarpon Point Marina for the two-hour boat ride provided by Rotary volunteer boat captains.

The partnership provided a sensory exploration experience, giving those who are blind or visually impaired a new type of feeling, enjoying an experience that is different from the way those with sight do.

Turner said the event lets their clients go out with confidence and conquer any fears and to appreciate the water in a different way.

"They're feeling it, they're experiencing it. They're just doing it without sight. While we get to immediately experience the blue waters of the gulf, they're doing it at a heightened sense of awareness," Turner said. "They hear it and smell it and experiencing it."

After the boat trip, both groups got together for a cookout with burgers and hot dogs. In return, Lighthouse has invited Rotary members to its annual dinner, where all the food is served in the dark and those who are sighted are blindfolded.

Rotary is an organization of business, professional and community leaders who provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards, and help build goodwill and peace in the community and the world.

Lighthouse of SWFL is a 501(c)3 non-profit, vision rehabilitation agency serving Lee, Glades, and Hendry counties. Its mission is to enable all people living with a visual impairment or blindness to remain independent, active and productive. Lighthouse of SWFL is a United Way partner that is partially funded by the Division of Blind Services, the Lee County government and other private donors.

For more information, visit www.lighthouseswfl.org or call 997-7797.

 
 

 

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