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After 112 years, ABVI rebranding as Goodwill Vision to help more people with visual impairments

Randy Gorbman

A well-known local organization that helps people with vision problems is changing its name. The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) has been around since 1911.

But as of late last year, the non-profit has a new name. It’s now called Goodwill Vision Enterprises.

ABVI is part of Goodwill, and the organization’s CEO and President Jen Lake, said one reason for the name change is some people who are starting to lose their vision are hesitant to seek out rehabilitation and other services because they don’t like to be classified as blind.

“In talking to people we realized that our name itself, the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, while it describes what we do, it also creates a barrier to people wanting to move forward,” Lake said.

Lake said the name change could help encourage people to come to Goodwill Vision Enterprises to take advantage of their programs and services.

“(It) will really open the possibilities to people coming to see us sooner, and also allowing people in the community who haven’t been connected to us to understand that Goodwill does something with vision services, with eyecare,” Lake said.

Lake said Goodwill Vision Enterprises has a range of rehabilitative services and adaptive technologies that can help people who have impaired vision improve their quality of life.

The organization expects increased demand for its services, since a study by the National Eye Institute expects the number of people with visual impairment or blindness in the U.S. to double to more than 8 million people by 2050, due in part to an increase in the number of older people.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.