Needless to say, COVID-19 has changed the way in which we are all living our lives for the time being. In an effort to continue to support and connect with youth who are blind or partially sighted all across the Province, we have created a series of virtual programming that we have named Connecting Through COVID-19.
Many children across BC are missing the social connection with other kids at school and in their communities. Each Tuesday, children 7 – 12 years of age who are blind or partially sighted can connect with each other in our Blind Beginnings Zoom room. This is a place to share struggles, strategies, and successes, but also to play games, tell stories, and make new friends.
When: Tuesdays from 3:45 – 4:45pm
Register now for the Kids Connect Support Group!
Parents are invited to connect online, without your children, to share your challenges, frustrations, worries, and strategies for coping. Some of you aren’t seeing all the professionals who normally come into your home to work with your child, some of you are juggling home-schooling and working from home, some of you may have lost your jobs. Whatever your situation, this group is a place to receive support from other parents as well as a registered clinical counselor.
Who can attend: Blind Beginnings parents across BC
When: Every 2nd Thursday at 7:15pm
Register now for Virtual Parent’s Night Out/Online Support Group
Many children and parents have described this program as the highlight of their week, and we’re thrilled to be continuing this partnership with the outreach team from the Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired. Join us on Friday mornings in June for Accessible Story Hour! We’ll read stories, but also provide image description and explain concepts that might be new to some listeners. Following each story listeners can share their thoughts or ask questions about the story.
When: Friday mornings at 9:30am
Register now for It’s Accessible Story Time!
Through our Active Beginnings Yoga and Fitness classes, children and youth who are blind or partially sighted will have opportunities to learn and practice physical activity in a safe and supported way.
The objectives of this program are:
- improving physical strength, endurance and balance
- reducing stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression – there is research to support that yoga and fitness actually reduces the secretion of cortisol (stress hormone linked to these)
- increasing confidence
- increased likelihood of future participation in a community based program maintaining and an active lifestyle
- strengthening social connections with peers
- demonstrating to parents that yoga, pilates, and fitness are accessible activities for youth who are blind
Our Foundations Programs – Wednesdays 3:45pm – 4:45pm
Yoga for Beginners – 4 Wednesdays in July
Foundations of Fitness – 4 Wednesdays in August
If you are new to yoga & fitness, or you’ve been finding it challenging following our online classes over the past three months, you might want to register for either of these 4-week foundations programs offered on Wednesday afternoons through the summer. In this foundations program, our yoga alliance certified yoga & fitness instructor Whitley Point, will be slowing things down and focusing on familiarizing us with the fundamentals of yoga, pilates, and fitness. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the class, and recordings of the class can be made available for further practice on your own between classes.
The goal of this program is to provide attendees with the knowledge and confidence to not only attend our virtual intermediate level classes, but also feel confident in the ability to attend a yoga or fitness class in the community.
When: Wednesdays from 3:45 – 4:45 PM starting on July 8 for Yoga for Beginners, and starting on August 5 for Foundations of Fitness
Register now for Yoga for Beginners and Foundations of Fitness
Note: Through June we offered a Foundations of Yoga program, and recordings of those 4 sessions are also available upon request.
Intermediate Yoga Class – Wednesdays 5:00pm – 6:00pm
For those of you who already enjoy yoga, this class is for you. Our yoga alliance certified yoga instructor Whitley Point will guide us through different accessible yoga classes each Wednesday. There will be a focus on anatomy and safe movement brought together by direct verbal cueing. As an individual with a visual impairment herself, It is a fundamental aspect of Whitley’s teaching style to speak clearly with straightforward directions to lead a fun and creative class.
Who can attend: Blind Beginnings members with some yoga experience
When: Wednesdays from 5:00 – 6:00pm starting on July 8
Register now for Intermediate Yoga
Sporty Saturdays – Saturdays at 11am
Join us on Saturdays at 11:00 am and move your body. This class is for youth who are blind or partially sighted, siblings, and parents, either individually or in groups. Mom and daughter, Father and son, brother and sister, or any other family combination, this is a chance for any member of your family to do a workout in a supportive environment.
Our Saturday workouts are guaranteed to get your heart-rate up and make you sweat. The routine and exercises will be varied and you should bring your hand weights just in case. Our yoga alliance certified fitness instructor Whitley Point will guide us through different classes each week. This is an opportunity for your family to improve your fitness and have fun while doing it.
When: Saturdays at 11:00am
Register now for Sporty Saturdays
Parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are invited to connect online every second Saturday. We will start with a check-in with an Early Child Vision Specialist from Vision Loss Rehabilitation BC. who will answer your questions. Following, Shawn will lead a facilitated parent discussion where you can share how you and your family are doing.
When: Every 2nd Saturday at 9:30 am – next session June 27
Register now for Baby Beginnings Online
On the last Friday evening of each month youth who are blind or partially sighted 12 years and older are invited to connect online for what we are now calling our Creating Connections Workshop!
Instead of a structured discussion about how to socialize and fit in, we’re just going to socialize and connect. This is a chance to meet some new youth and make some new friends. I think we can safely guarantee some laughter and fun as well.
Who can attend: Children & youth who are blind or partially sighted 12 – 20 years
When: Friday June 26 at 7:00pm
Register now for Creating Connections
How does this work:
You can attend all of these workshops and groups from the comfort of your home using Zoom conferencing. We will send you a link to join each meeting. When you click on the link the first time, it will prompt you to download the app, and then place you in the room. This app allows you to connect with video and audio from your computer, smart phone or tablet. You can also dial-in by phone but dialing-in will provide audio access only. Zoom allows you to choose to turn your camera on or off, making it possible to see the presenters without being seen yourself if that is your preference. It also allows you to mute if your child is fussing or you have background noise.
All participants must also be a member of Blind Beginnings to participant in our programs. If you are not already a member, please visit https://www.blindbeginnings.ca/support/membership-2020 to “Become a Member”, or renew your membership. We want to limit barriers to participation in our programs, so ensure to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any financial constraints and we can look at waiving the membership fee.
If you are a member and would like to register for any of these programs, please send an email to Carrie at: email@example.com. Registration will remain open as long as these events are being offered, and you are welcome to attend as many Blind Beginnings events as you wish.
To register, make sure to please include the following:
- The program(s) you wish to register for
- Name of each person registering
- Ages of any children/youth
- Email address that we can send the Zoom link to