A new initiative was launched in South Carolina on World Sight Day in 2020 – the Palmetto Vision Alliance (PVA). Earnest Glover, Marketing Assistant at the Lighthouse, has been involved from the very beginning.
“A lot of people that are visually impaired and unfortunately have no idea about the services that they can get,” notes Earnest. However, the Palmetto Vision Alliance is hoping to change that.
What is the Palmetto Vision Alliance?
“The Palmetto Vision Alliance is a collaboration of organizations serving people who are blind,” Earnest explains. The Lighthouse operates a manufacturing facility in Summerville that employs people who are blind.
Daniel Prohaska, President and CEO of Lions Vision Services, was the visionary for the alliance. He shares, “The Palmetto Vision Alliance is a way that we can come together to coordinate and to collaborate. We want to maximize resources for the blind and visually impaired people that we are serving. We don’t want to duplicate services.”
He continues, “each organization has a different niche. Some are vision rehabilitation experts. Others specialize more in vision intervention. Some in vision health education, or even in research. We wanted to create an accessible, easy to join collaboration.”
Why Collaboration is Important
Through collaboration, cooperation and coordination, PVA hopes to maximize the resources for blind and visually impaired people.
“There wasn’t really a centralized platform where we could all come together,” David shares. “This was really the first statewide platform for vision organizations to collaborate.”
“Being part of a group of people that are advocates for the blind community allows us to get things accomplished in numbers,” Earnest explains. “When we talk to the governor as a conglomerate, we let him know this issue is an issue for the entire state. Then, people are willing to listen a bit more.”
Issues the Palmetto Vision Alliance will Address
Earnest has been working hard at advocating for transportation solutions for employees at our Summerville, S.C. facility. However, other individuals have been facing similar issues across the state.
Limited transportation is available in rural areas. That makes going to appointments, running errands, and getting to work much more difficult for people who are blind or low vision.
“Transportation is really one of the major things that holds up a lot of people from being able to practice independence,” David notes.
Earnest is hoping that PVA can help to leverage other organizations to assist and amplify the work that the Lighthouse has been doing.
PVA currently has 18 organizations that are participating. These organizations come from throughout South Carolina and are working together to maximize resources for blind and visually impaired people in South Carolina through collaboration, cooperation, and coordination among key service stakeholders. However, more support is always welcome!