75 years. That's how long the Montana Association for the Blind has been helping Montanans who are either already blind or are losing their vision.

Thanks to a grant from the Gianforte Family Foundation, the association is going to expand even further into the high tech arena during a summer workshop at Rocky Mountain College.

First off- let's just get it out there right up front: FREE room and board at Rocky Mountain College. Jocelyn DeHaas is the executive director of the Montana Association for the Blind. She tells us that they will be having their Summer Orientation Program (SOP), June 13-July 9 at Rocky. The program will instruct participants on safe mobility, adaptive equipment, recreation, and assistive technology.

A grant from the Gianforte Family Foundation has enabled the organization to expand programming this year to include computer and software training for those who want to find or maintain employment, despite their visual impairment. Students will use adaptive computers and specialized software—JAWS (Job Access With Speech) screen-reading technology and a Fusion magnification program—to increase accessibility for those who cannot see a computer screen or maneuver a mouse. “Specialized software is the bridge to using a computer when visually impaired,” DeHaas says.


DeHaas was just a kid when her father lost his vision due to a hereditary disease. It dramatically impacted his mental health and happiness. He credited the association for turning his life around.

The free, annual summer program typically accommodates 25 students of all ages and from all areas of Montana. Room, board, and the training program are included.


They're also hosting an open house on Sunday, June 26th at Rocky Mountain College for anyone who wants to learn more about their services. Click here for more details on the program and to find their contact info.

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