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WyCB President's Address 2023

2023 Wyoming Council of the Blind
President’s Address

Revive, Strive, and Thrive:

This is my motto and what I have focused on and would like to continue focusing on in the next year.

Revive: for us to become excited again about our mission for WyCB, become active again, increase our membership, and identify goals for our organization.

Strive: move forward with our goals, include our communities as partners in achieving our goals, be creative in what we do and how we do it. To strive is to work as a team to become a solid and effective organization.

Thrive: to become an organization that is respected and is known to offer resources and direction for BVI-related issues, not only to individuals with BVI, but also to their families, friends, and other professionals.  To thrive is to become an organization that is known to all communities in Wyoming as a resource and opportunity to connect with others who are facing BVI-related issues.
In taking on this position last September, we hit the ground running. You will hear about the activities and changes that have been made so far since September through the committee reports that are to come.

Some of our accomplishments include a successful community awareness campaign for White Cane Awareness Day which occurred in October. We were then informed that we had been selected to be part of Thankful Thursday for April 6, 2023 which necessitated pooling resources throughout the state for the creation of gift baskets for auction at our fundraiser. As most of you already know, it was necessary to postpone that event due to the record amounts of snow we received in Casper on April 4, 2023. We are pleased to announce that the event is now rescheduled for September 14, 2023. Specifics related to that event will be coming up in the committee report. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend if at all possible, and we are always looking for volunteers to assist in the project.  We would like to have a strong BVI representation at that event.

One of the concerns I have for our BVI community in Wyoming is the isolation that individuals have expressed experiencing and are feeling. We are working hard to get the word out that WyCB is here and available to individuals and families, friends, professionals, and anyone who has an interest in our cause, whether BVI or sighted, to join us so that we may have a strong voice for our state.

To help address feelings of isolation in our BVI community, on July 26, 2023 we started WyCB Roundup, which is an informal monthly conference call. Again, the purpose of this group will be addressed in the committee report, along with the specifics regarding that activity. I do encourage all of you to join in on these monthly calls, so that we may connect and discuss whatever we desire as a group, and to simply just socialize and get to know each other. My hope is that with a group like this, there may be additional activities that sprout as a result of people connecting through the WyCB Roundup.

Finally, to me, the most important focus for our organization, is our membership. According to the 2020 National census, over 12,600 people in Wyoming identified themselves as having visual challenges. It is important that we build our membership. It is through building this membership that WyCB will become stronger. There is strength in numbers when it comes to addressing difficult issues that may arise within the state regarding BVI- related issues. It is through the strength in numbers that this organization may better advocate on behalf of us. It is through strength in numbers, that through advocacy, we will be heard.

With low membership numbers, it makes it more difficult to advocate on our behalf. Low numbers makes it difficult for us to be heard and to be taken seriously.

I am certain that in the future the BVI community in our state will face challenges and if we have a strong organization behind us, we are likely to be more effective in asserting to others what is in our best interest.

If there is anything you take away from what I have presented here, please let it be to let others know about WyCB and encourage yourself and others to become active members and to take part in representing individuals in Wyoming with visual impairment and blindness.

Respectfully submitted,

Cheryl Godley, Ph.D.
Wyoming Council of the Blind