News & Publications
For media inquiries about MABVI’s programs or events, or subjects related to disabilities and the field of human services, including developmental disabilities, brain injury, vocational services, visual impairment, and blindness, please contact:
Paul Twitchell, Director of Communications and Marketing
Explore our Annual Reports and other publications. We are an effective organization with a focus on building innovation and partnerships in Massachusetts.
“Our Stories” book (PDF)” is a collection of photos and stories of individuals with disabilities, sharing the impact of the deinstitutionalization of adults with disabilities in Massachusetts. Audio version available here.
MABVI Email Newsletters
The Dangerous Vision Podcast
Dangerous Vision explores what it would be like to be blind in a sighted world. Host Randy Cohen, a blind Harvard Business School professor and board member of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, learns how other blind people “do blind”, navigating their way over and around obstacles with white canes, guide dogs and technology that will blow your mind.
New episodes are released every Monday and can be found online and where you find all podcasts.
MAB Community Services Welcomes Laura Alpert as New Chief Financial Officer
Brookline, MA – (February 14, 2022) MAB Community Services (MAB) is pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Alpert as Chief Advancement Officer. Laura brings a wealth of 25 years of experience in development, marketing, and communications for hospitals and nonprofit organizations, including Massachusetts General Hospital, The Dimock Center, Pine Street Inn, and United Way of the Greater Capital Region in Albany New York. She most recently served as the Vice President of Philanthropy at Boston Arts Academy Foundation.
Laura will join MAB’s senior leadership team on February 14, 2022. She will lead a six-member Advancement and Communications team that increases awareness of MAB’s mission, and impact, builds relationships, and secures support from private individual and institutional donors. The Advancement department also supports “Team With A Vision,” an international team of visually impaired runners, sighted guides, and volunteers who raise funds for MAB’s statewide vision rehabilitation services. READ MORE
Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired Receives $250K Grant from NextFifty Initiative
Brookline, MA – February 15, 2022 — Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) has received $250,000 from NextFifty Initiative, a Colorado-based foundation that supports efforts to improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers. This funding will allow MABVI to expand its services for older adults across Massachusetts who live with blindness and low vision, and to invest in innovative efforts such as MABVI’s Age-Friendly initiative and Access Technology Training Program.
Sassy Outwater-Wright, MABVI’s Executive Director, shared: “MABVI is incredibly proud to have been awarded a grant from NextFifty Initiative to support thousands of older adults in their journey through vision loss. Grants such as these are transformative – especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has exacerbated already-present obstacles for older adults with disabilities.” NextFifty’s investment will allow MABVI to have an even greater impact ̶ more older adults who are blind or low vision will have the tools and resources to live healthy lives with confidence, autonomy, and increased social connectedness. Through statewide Age-friendly efforts, MABVI is also working with key state elder service agencies and five Gateway city partners to ensure that health equity and access to care is prioritized for every individual who is blind or low vision. READ MORE
Accessible at-home tests should be a top priority during this phase of the pandemic, she said. “Not all of us have a family member who can help, especially if we’re isolating with COVID.” …READ MORE
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts residents were asked to “be the eyes” for the blind one day a week. The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) said they need more volunteers to match their waiting list of 150 people, who need one-on-one aid with their daily tasks.
Alexandra Maggio, the Association’s Director of Volunteer Engagement said to WBZ that volunteers spend one day a week lending their sight to the blind or visually impaired….READ MORE
COMMONWEALTH MAGAZINE Op-ed by Ivy Street School’s Executive Director, Brandon Cardet-Hernandez
FOR A MOMENT, imagine you commute to work each day by train. A co-worker also commutes by train, but on a different line. Every day your co-worker arrives late, missing important meetings. You both live equidistant from the office and take the same mode of transport, yet you are always on time, while your co-worker is not. Now imagine you discover that your co-worker is late because of a train track in need of repair that requires the conductor to go slower at certain times. The system has failed your co-worker. And while this may upset you to learn of it, it doesn’t impact you directly. That is until the route you take develops the same problem. Now the system has failed you both. This story illustrates what the COVID-19 pandemic exposed about our education systems. For too many—primarily poor, Black and brown students, students living with special needs, and English language learners – the system had broken down long ago. READ MORE
WCVB TV June 23, 2021, BROOKLINE, Mass. —At the Ivy Street School in Brookline, prom was held celebrating the end of a difficult year. Like all students, those at Ivy Street had to deal with remote learning, isolation and pandemic-related anxiety….See video here
WCVB TV October 9, 2021 –Blind marathoner overcomes adversity to compete in the Boston Marathon, alongside a guide (wcvb.com)
For the visually impaired, getting vaccinated has been a challenge
NEWSY. Apr 01, 2021 – With a walking cane in one hand, Kyle Robidoux does his best to navigate the sidewalk in front of a vaccination clinic in Revere, Massachusetts, the 45-year-old first started losing his vision when he was a teenager.
For Robidoux, who is legally blind, arriving at any new location always offers its set of challenges. The first time an Uber dropped him off, he was a few blocks down the street. It took nearly 30 minutes to finally get back to where he needed to be.
“The lack of familiarity definitely increases anxiety,” explained Robidoux, who serves as the director of volunteer service and community planning for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
In an effort to make sure vaccination sites are accessible to others who are visually impaired, he has been working with public health officials to eliminate any obstacles that may exist for those who can’t see. READ MORE…
City and MABVI Hold COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments Designated for Seniors With Vision Loss
Beacon Hill Times, The City of Boston recently partnered with the Massachusetts Association for the Blind, Visually Impaired (MABVI) to arrange for older adults with vision loss to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury. Fourteen individuals were vaccinated this afternoon through the coordinated effort by MABVI, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), City of Boston’s Age Strong Commission and the Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
Boston is working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to vaccinate residents against COVID-19. Following the State’s lead, the City is working to create equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine across all populations and neighborhoods in the city.
“We need to break down barriers that may prevent some individuals from getting vaccinated. I’m grateful for the partnership with MABVI to make today’s appointments happen as we work to ensure that all Bostonians have access to the vaccine when they’re eligible,” said Chief of Health and Human Services, Marty Martinez. READ MORE…
Innovate@BU announces community transit design winner, plan to increase transportation accessibility
February 2, 2021 by Yiran Yu – BU Daily Freee Press
Public transportation may be the engine of the city of Boston, but that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Boston University student innovators are brainstorming how to expand the accessibility of public transportation, so the resource can truly be one for all.
Bus stop on Park Drive. Boston University student Sarah Hillesheim won the Innovate@BU Community Transit Design Challenge for her proposal to improve accessibility at bus and above-ground T stops.
Innovate@BU recently co-hosted a venture competition with Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Titled “Community Transit Design Challenge,” the competition invited students and alumni to design a trusted transportation system to tackle city traveling problems inhibiting rider accessibility. MORE…
WCVB TV May 7, 2020 – “…A project called Food is Love underway it MAB Community Services is helping that to happen. Among other programs. MAB operates 20 group homes for people with different abilities. The crisis has been very hard on their staff and residents they’ve been unable to really go out probably since the week of St. Patrick’s Day, Liz Murray manages a MAB home in West Roxbury. She said her staff has really stepped up. “They’ve been super thorough about cleaning about wearing masks, but wearing their gloves washing their hands, the Board of Directors of MAB is now honoring that work in memory of Maxo Joseph, a staff member of 19 years. Who died of Coronavirus last month. “What he loved to do was to take care of the people on his house…he was also a fabulous cook, and always won the food competition at the annual picnic he was just all about the soul and the food and the happiness that food brings…” SEE MORE
Vital Coronavirus Information Is Failing the Blind and Visually Impaired
When it comes to communicating crucial updates around the pandemic, blind readers are an afterthought.
By Melanie Ehrenkranz
Apr 9, 2020, 8:24 am Several times a day, I search for coronavirus updates online, an increasingly grim and unconscious habit I’ve adopted over the last few weeks from the confines of my New York City apartment. I’m met with a barrage of charts, infographics, and transcripts of news conferences. I’m able to grasp the harrowing reality we’re in with just a few clicks. But for the blind and visually impaired communities, information from the government and news sources remains largely inaccessible, and in the midst of a global pandemic, this isn’t merely an inconvenience, it’s fatal negligence… READ MORE
Coping with disease and disability in the time of coronavirus
CNN, April 8, 2020
(CNN) Sassy Outwater-Wright has fought off cancer three times in the last 33 years, losing most of her eyesight to a rare form of the disease at the age of three.
High expectations and support for blind and low-vision people
Fifty Plus Advocate April 30, 2020 – Amy Ruell was born in western Massachusetts about three months ahead of her due date. Ruell’s survival was a near-miracle, but the oxygen that saved her life destroyed the optic nerve.
“My parents treated me as they would have treated any other child of theirs,” she recalled.
As a result, “being blind was not a big deal.”
Ruell’s brain learned how to navigate the physical world she could not see.
“I walked to the school bus stop,” she reminisced.
Using her fingers she learned to read words written in raised dots (“Braille”). Using her intelligence and indomitable spirit, she graduated from high school and went on to earn degrees at Smith College and Simmons School of Social Work. She married, had two children and pursued a career as a social worker and advocate for blind people. READ MORE…
Why Michelle Obama opening up about depression is a big deal for Black women
By Harmeet Kaur, CNN Updated 3:43 PM ET, Sat August 8, 2020
MAB Board member and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Michelle Durham is quoted in this article.
(CNN)Michelle Obama recently revealed that because of the pandemic and racial injustice in the US, she has been experiencing low-grade depression.
Ivy Street School Welcomes Brandon Cardet-Hernandez
Brookline, MA – (November 03, 2020) The Ivy Street School announced it has appointed Brandon Cardet-Hernandez as its new Executive Director. Brandon joins Ivy Street School with nearly twenty years of experience working in education, including serving as the Senior Education Policy Advisor for the Mayor’s Office of the City of New York and as the Principal of The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, a turnaround high school in the South Bronx. As Executive Director, Brandon will be responsible for outlining a clear vision for Ivy Street’s future as a preeminent school for youth with neurocognitive and neurodevelopmental disorders. Additional responsibilities will include increasing the visibility and community-wide understanding of the organization’s mission, goals, and activities and deepening the ongoing work of building an inclusive community for students. READ MORE…
Grafton Patch, December 19, 2019, GRAFTON, MA — A Grafton runner represented the Bay State at the finish line of a California marathon earlier this month. Chaz Davis finished first in the United States Association for Blind Athletes Championship at the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA. Davis had a time of 2:43:11…In 2018, Davis ran the 122nd Boston Marathon where he finished 5th among 15 notable 2018 Boston Marathon finishers with a time of 2:56:22. Chaz ran as a member of Team With A Vision.
The group raises funds and awareness for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) to promote greater involvement of visually impaired runners in the Boston Marathon.
Davis works for MABVI as an adjustment to vision loss counselor as well as the coordinator for Team With A Vision and United in Stride, a website that matches runners who are blind or visually impaired with sighted guides across North America. READ MORE
Sacramento, CA – (December 08, 2019) Chaz Davis, from Grafton, Massachusetts finished first at the United States Association for Blind Athletes (USABA) at the California International Marathon (CIM) with a finish time of 2:43:11. Chaz participated as part of the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) Championships.
The USABA Marathon National Championships are held at the California International Marathon. Since the CIM adopted the Visually Impaired Division in 2007, participation of visually impaired and blind runners has grown from 2 to nearly 70 participants. This year, the group of 70 blind runners and 40 guides included military veterans, local runners, international runners, and Paralympic athletes. …READ MORE
Brookline, MA, (October 1, 2019) – The Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (MABVI) and Boston University Innovate@BU have announced a partnership to develop a challenge open to BU students and alumni to solve community transit problems that will benefit society at large–and particularly for seniors and the blind and low vision community.
The goal of the Community Transit Design Challenge is for Boston University students and alumni to develop and design new human-centered tools to improve transportation accessibility solutions for the aging and visually impaired communities, which will ultimately improve transportation for everyone while competing for a $10,000 grand prize. Ultimately, the challenge hopes to find solutions to help older adults who are losing their vision better connect to their communities.
“We each have a role in creating a more inclusive space for everyone to live and work and thrive, said Sassy Outwater-Wright, Executive Director of MABVI. “We have the duty to ask tomorrow’s designers, engineers, and social scientists to start thinking about that today and to start building smarter solutions. MABVI is proud to partner with BU to solve some of the most common problems facing older adults who are blind or have low vision. Accessibility in design today creates a more inclusive future.”
“Our students and alumni are no strangers to Boston’s public transportation challenges. We are thrilled that this collaboration will give our community the opportunity to view transportation challenges from another perspective and to use their expertise to build better, more accessible solutions for all,” said Gerry Fine, Executive Director of Innovate@BU. More info
KGW8 TV August 22, 2019 – Team of blind runners joins Hood To Coast relay this year – For the first time, a team of blind and visually impaired runners will tackle the Hood To Coast relay this year, with the help of running guides.
Woman’s Running, August 20, 2019 – Vivienne Hau fixes retinas by day; now, she’s co-captain of the first-ever visually impaired Hood to Coast Relay team.
On Friday, Hau—with Hunter—is leading the first team of visually impaired runners and guides at the Hood to Coast Relay, an overnight event in Oregon that starts at the base of Mt. Hood and finishes at Seaside. Twenty blind and sighted athletes will cram into two 15-passenger vans, taking turns running three to four legs each of the 199-mile course. Along the way, they’ll raise funds and awareness for United in Stride, the website Hunter developed that matches sighted runners and those in need of guides nationwide.
Boston, MA – At their annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, held at Community Boating in Brighton on June 14, the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) recognized the Lions of Massachusetts as a Volunteer Community Partner for the Lions’ work in developing the Low Vision Rehabilitation Network (LOVRNET) in Massachusetts. READ MORE
WCVB TV – June 20, 2019
NEWTON, Mass. —A desire to help others resulted in a special relationship between a Belmont woman and a Newton family. It started nearly nine years ago, when Allie Dagg, who was in seventh grade at the time, found an opportunity to volunteer with the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, or MABVI. SEE MORE
Watertown’s Marshall Home Fund held its annual grant award ceremony on May 22, providing $75,000 to 16 local organizations that serve older adults. Through its grant making, MHF helps Watertown be an age-friendly community. The 2019 grantees of the Marshall Home Fund will provide programs and services that address many of these goals. Provide direct health, mental health, and social services for vulnerable individuals: Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Technology Training for Seniors with Sight Loss… READ MORE
The Boston Globe – May 1, 2019
Blind since childhood, Sassy Outwater-Wright commutes every day on the MBTA, navigating a maze of turns, street crossings, tunnels, and train cars between her home in Salem and office in Brookline…“I need all of that information, and I need it in a few seconds. . . . This technology is able to help someone see with me,” said Outwater-Wright, director of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired… READ MORE
Brookline, MA, (April 22, 2019) – The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) is pleased to announce it has received a $119,000 grant from The Gibney Family Foundation (TGFF). TGFF partners with organizations to develop sustainable resources that foster independence, primarily for those who are blind. The funds will support MABVI’s statewide volunteer program.
The grant, which will be distributed over the next three years, will enhance MABVI’s statewide volunteer program through which individuals who are blind or visually impaired are matched 1:1 with community volunteers who provide in-home support. Trained volunteers help older adults accomplish daily activities of their own choosing including wellness activities, technology support, reading print information, shopping for groceries, or serving as sighted guides at the gym―all of which foster autonomy and enable older adults to remain active in their communities. READ MORE
CBS Boston-Apr 15, 2019
… Flaherty, a visually impaired runner, will run her first Boston Marathon Monday to raise awareness for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired…SEE MORE
BU News Service-Apr 15, 2019
BOSTON — …Last year, Hasting’s was contacted by the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) to run with Team With a Vision in the Boston Marathon. Team With a Vision is a program within MABVI that connects blind and sighted runners to support individuals throughout Massachusetts living with vision loss…
BROOKLINE, MA – The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) has announced that Joe Walsh, MS, MEd of Adaptive Sports New England will receive the 2019 Kara Macdonald Aspire Award. The award was created to celebrate the life and work of the late Kara MacDonald, and her dedication to athletes with disabilities.
BROOKLINE, MA – Every runner who takes on the legendary Boston Marathon course faces a challenge, but few more than the members of Team With A Vision (TWAV), a group of blind and visually impaired runners (and their sighted guides) with a common cause: to raise funds and awareness for the visually impaired. The team, fielded by the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI), draws runners from around the world, the nation, and the region to show that with the right support, people who are visually impaired can do anything they set their minds to. This year’s team includes a number of notable competitors.
MetroWest Daily News Sept 6, 2018
A Natick resident is thankful he has access to a new program in town. It’s helping him, and others, improve their quality of life.
Wicked Local-May 29, 2018
Tools to help potentially isolated older adults integrate into the community: Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s …
Worcester Telegram-Apr 14, 2018
… for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The MABVI delivers professionals, peer and volunteer support to more …
Daily Item-Apr 9, 2018
… that Ellen Goldberg’s then-sister-in-law asked her if she’d run the Boston Marathon to benefit the Massachusetts Association for the Blind.
Kokomo Tribune-Apr 12, 2018
He will run as a charity runner for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The organization is taking a couple of buses …
The Huntington News-Apr 4, 2018
… a sighted guide in the marathon with the Team with a Vision organization, which raises money for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind …
American Inno-Mar 5, 2018
Sassy Outwater is serving as director of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired since September 2017.
Forbes-Jun 28, 2018
For my podcast, I recently interviewed Director Sassy Outwater of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI).
WBUR-Aug 2, 2017
Retelling his story for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind (MAB), Bobby described his 38 institutionalized years. “Somebody suggested …