Advocacy Volunteer – Paradise, NL
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.