CNIB Foundation eNewsletter April 2019

Main Content

CNIB Foundation Programs 

CNIB Social - Our CNIB Foundation Socials are a great way to participate in fun activities. Clients come together to participate in a variety of activities such as craft nights, bingo games and holiday parties. Join us on the fourth Sunday of each month, from 2:00-4:00 PM, at CNIB, 70 The Boulevard in St John's.

Audio Book Club – Exploring audio books can be very rewarding for someone with vision loss. The CNIB Foundation Audio Book Club is a partnership with the Mt Pearl Library. Clients read/listen to an agreed upon book and then come together to discuss. This group takes place on the second Thursday of each month at the Mount Pearl Library, 65 Olympic Drive, Mount Pearl from 7:00-8:00 PM.

Walking Club – Take a brisk walk in the warmth of the Village Mall. Our Walking Club is on the third Tuesday of each month from 6:30 – 7:30. It is the perfect excuse to get out of the house and an opportunity for individuals living with vision loss to get out for a walk together and then stop for a coffee/chat afterwards. 

Tech Time – Tech Time is interactive information sharing technology group that aims to provide clients with knowledge and experience on the latest gadgets and smartphone apps. There is also some time at the end of each session for clients to ask questions about the technology that they are currently using. This group runs on the second Tuesday of each month from 2:00-300 (except for February, May, August and November when it takes place from 7:00 – 8:30).

Coffee Time – There is nothing like a hot coffee or tea with friends in the morning. CNIB's Vision Loss Rehabilitation and Foundation staff invite you to drop by our offices the third Thursday of each month from 10:30-11:30 a.m. This is an informal time to just chat about topics that are important to you and get to know our team.

Heavyweights – Join Coach Darren at Heavyweights, Saturday mornings from 10:15-11:00 AM, Coach Darren provides our clients with an opportunity to train in a group with other CNIB clients. Please note There is a gym fee associated with this group.     

Six Week Yoga Program with Helena Butler - Whether you're looking to try a new activity, meet people or nurture an existing talent, our culture, sports and recreation programs are fun, supportive and collaborative. Join Helena Butler of

Nova Yoga for a six-week Yoga Program beginning Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 5:30! If you require a sighted guide or want more information contact; Kelly Picco, 754-1180 ext. 5813.

Rug Hooking – Rug hooking is very much a part of the culture in Newfoundland and Labrador. Its also very much a part of our foundation program for individuals living with vision loss. Join us the third Sunday of each month from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at CNIB, &0 The Boulevard, St John's.

*For a full list of events and more information on our groups or to register for a specific program, please visit us at, Newfoundland and Labrador or visit our Facebook page and check out the many events featured there. You can also call Kelly at 754-1180 (5813) or email .

Meet Mariah, Vision Loss Rehabilitation NL's Low Vision Specialist

Mariah Hogan is a friendly outgoing person who enjoys the career she has chosen as a Low Vision Specialist. She was born and raised in Charlottetown, PEI. After completing her Bachelor of Science at UPEI, she decided to pursue her love of travel and adventure, by spending a year abroad hiking across Spain on the Camino de Santiago, tasting her way through Southeast Asia and road tripping across New Zealand before returning to Canada to continue her education. 

After returning to Canada she moved to Montreal, Quebec where she earned her Masters of Vision Science, with a specialization in Visual Impairment and Rehabilitation at the University of Montreal. During her degree she published a research thesis on the topic of virtual art exploration for the visually impaired. Graduating the top of her class, her degree allowed her to foster her passion for helping others while learning about the latest in vision rehabilitation. 

Mariah was also able to experience valuable interactions with individuals living with vision loss in a clinical setting through a three-month working internship in her home province with Vision Loss Rehabilitation PEI. 

Since graduating in December 2018, Mariah accepted a position with Vision Loss Rehabilitation NL, and now calls this Island her home. While she is based out of St. John’s, she conducts travelling clinics to provide low vision assessments and services to clients in Central and Western Newfoundland and is passionate about empowering her clients to achieve independence and improve their quality of life. 

She says, "she is honored to be part of such a wonderful team and has been blown away by the warmth and hospitality of Newfoundlanders!" 
When Mariah is not working, you can find her taking advantage of the beautiful hiking along the East Coast Trail, skyping her dog Tilly back home, browsing the shelves of the local library, or sipping on a strong cup of tea.

Let's Celebrate Our Volunteers

CNIB NL would like to send a big thank you to all our volunteers and vision mates. Across Canada, volunteers donate more than 300,000 hours of their time every year to help us change what it is to be blind! 

Meet CNIB Lead Volunteer Cindy Antle

Cindy Antle drove past CNIB on The Boulevard every evening on her way home from work for 13 years, before retiring as a registered nurse. She knew about the CNIB but never gave the charity much thought after passing it on her daily commute.

Cindy awoke one morning in June 2012 with no sight. At 55 years old, Cindy had developed optic neuritis – damage to the optic nerve caused by inflammation.

After experiencing a loss of sight, Cindy turned to CNIB for orientation and mobility lessons using a white cane, independent living skills and assistive technology training.

In 2013, Cindy signed up to volunteer for CNIB. Since then, she’s undertaken numerous roles – from board member and advocate, to fundraiser and media spokesperson.

She’s hosted four Dining in the Dark events, as well as third-party fundraising initiatives with her husband Al – including a fish and brewis cooking competition that raised $1,500 towards CNIB Foundation programs.

“Cindy’s philosophy is to ‘make inclusion the norm, not the exception’,” says Debbie Ryan, program lead for advocacy and public engagement at the CNIB Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador. “Her work as an advocate in the pursuit of making her community more accessible and inclusive is unwavering.”

After learning about Key2Access – a new technology that makes streetlight crossings safer for people with disabilities – Cindy phoned members of the Town of Paradise Council, explaining how the technology could improve the municipality’s unsafe crosswalk conditions.

As a result of her passion, dedication and leadership, Paradise met with Key2Access and will be installing four beacons as part of a pilot project later this year. Cindy is currently advocating for Paradise to install a public bus service for individuals with disabilities.

When Cindy isn’t volunteering or advocating for change, she enjoys baking, spending time with her parents, and reading on her iPad – using large text and high contrast settings.

Cindy also participates in her church’s choir, where they send her large-print song lyrics in advance. The choir leader – Cindy’s daughter Leah –arranged for bright yellow strips to be painted on the steps to make the choir entrance/exit more accessible.

All of the songs and readings are now available in large print at the Salvation Army St. John’s Citadel Corps, as they share Cindy’s philosophy of making inclusion the norm, not the exception.

If Cindy’s story inspires you to consider volunteering for your local CNIB Foundation, fill out the application form below.
We want to celebrate the great work of the many volunteers who give freely of their time. Watch for our upcoming volunteer luncheon to be held in May. 

Program Focus, The Audio Book Club
In June of 2018, Mark McCumber (the Regional Librarian of Eastern Newfoundland) reached out to CNIB, inquiring about starting an accessible book club. With interest from several CNIB clients, it was decided that a book club, that would be inclusive to all people living with a disability, would be a great new program. 

The second Thursday of each month, members of the book club meet at the Mount Pearl Library and discuss the book that was selected. During the meeting, Mark provides the group with a couple of different titles available through CELA and the group chooses the book for the following month. All books are available in audio, large print or braille through CELA. 

According to one member of the book club, "the location is great; the host is great, and I am reading books I would have never chosen to read before; it is opening up my variety of genres." 

For anyone who would like to learn more about the book club, please contact Kelly at CNIB.  

CNIB Foundations Phone It Forward Program Unleashing the Power of Technology! 

Smartphones can make a tremendous impact on the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted. Accessible smartphone apps make it possible to do all kinds of things that may have seemed challenging before. All smartphones now offer built-in voiceover technology, which reads aloud everything that appears on the phone's screen, enabling the user who is blind or partially sighted to access all it has to offer.

Modern smartphones allow people who are blind or partially sighted the ability to independently grocery shop, read prescription labels, access assistance from sighted volunteers, travel using GPS and so many other things that a sighted person takes for granted.

Despite how life-changing smartphones can be for people who are blind or partially sighted, many people with sight loss do not own one – at least not one that is advanced enough to help them in their daily lives.
If you are receiving CNIB Services and are interested in signing up to receive a smartphone, call 1-800-563-2642.

If you know someone in your community who would like to donate a smartphone, visit, call 1-833-554-5020 or visit your local CNA Campus, Vogue Optical or local CNIB office.

Gypsy Tea Room Dining in the Dark

It’s exciting and maybe a little unnerving. A culinary experience where you are blindfolded. Dining in the Dark is a sensory experience that allows you to use your sense of smell, taste, hearing and touch to experience the exceptional food and wine at the Gypsy Tea Room. Dining in the Dark challenges the perspective of what it means to live with vision loss. This year funds raised by Dining in the Dark - Gypsy Tea Room will support the Annual Post-Secondary Youth Orientation Program. The event will take place at the Gypsy Tea Room on May 29th. For more information on tickets, email or call at 754 1180 ext. 5807

Classified Section of CNIB-NL Newsletter

Do you have any independent living aids or technology you would like to sell or donate? Or maybe a smartphone you would like to donate to us? We are always looking for gently used products. If you would like to learn more about our donor program, please contact Kelly at (709) 754-1180 ext. 5813. 

Contact Us

St John's Office
70 The Boulevard
A1A 1K2
(709) 754-1180

Grand Falls-Windsor
Bayley Business Centre
4A Bayley Street, Suite 605
(709) 489-6515

Corner Brook
3 Herald Avenue, 1st Floor
A2H 4B8
(709) 639-9167


More News