Featured image forPATF Board Member Shares Firsthand Experience of Being a Person With Low Vision

At PATF we believe that to best serve and support Pennsylvanians with disabilities and health conditions, we need to start from a position of firsthand experience and understanding.

And we believe that we need this wisdom at all levels of our organization to be the most informed and effective. For that reason, the majority of PATF’s Board members and staff are either individuals with disabilities or have immediate family members with disabilities.

In recognition of Low Vision Awareness Month, we are taking a moment to recognize the contributions of PATF Board member, Lisa Bryant who self-identifies as having low vision. Lisa shared her thoughts with us about being a member of PATF’s Board.

“I once worked for a nonprofit that served Philadelphia low-income families, many were also Black, Latino, or Asian. However, the board was mostly white and suburban. Although there were regular meetings and financial support, the level of engagement was limited.

Sixty-two percent of the PATF Board either has a disability or has a family member with a disability. Further, we, the board, vote on all guaranteed loan applications so we hear their needs firsthand.

I was well into adulthood when diagnosed with central vision loss. After a lifetime of doing things one way, I suddenly had to shift. That was when I learned some devices would help me, but they did not come cheap.

Now, the pastime of reading would cost more than just the book. Portable magnifying devices are hundreds of dollars. Reading mail was doable again but with the assistance of a video magnifier that runs thousands of dollars.

So, when I read about an applicant who wants a hearing aid so they can again be a part of family conversations, or someone needing a chair lift to further their independence – I get it.

Today, I am privileged not only to stand as a representative of the disability community but also to champion their cause and assist them in securing the financial support they desire and require through loan applications.”