“I remember one listener telling me she was afraid to engage in conversations. Now, she leads them.”
That’s a quote from Bob Sikorski, President of the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service (NFRRS). Sikorski’s leadership is one reason NFRRS is able to continue providing critical information to the blind and visually impaired of Western New York and Southern Ontario.
Over the past 30 years, The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service has overcome numerous challenges including budget cuts, an economic recession and increasing costs of equipment repairs.
Volunteers, the other source of the agency’s longevity, enjoy helping their neighbors in Western New York and our friends just across the border in Southern Ontario.
“I just enjoy reading, always have,” says Mary Barnas, a 15 year volunteer radio reader. “When I happened to find out about this, I thought, ‘Well, that’s something I can do…and help other people who can’t read.'”
What is a radio reading service?
According to The International Association of Audio Information Services, there are many reasons why people may not be able to read normal printed material.
Vision loss is the biggest factor.
Radio reading services, like NFRRS, can help provide listeners with personal independence through information. Volunteers read daily newspapers, magazines and best-selling books to thousands of people at a time.
Other countries, including Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom all have some type of similar assistive audio technology.
The blind and visually impaired population is growing. And aging.
Eyesight is something most take for granted. Consider the following statistics:
- Well over 20 million Americans have experienced significant vision loss, and that number rises every day.
- Almost one and a half million Americans are legally blind, and of those, over 90% do not read Braille.
- Over six million Americans over 65 have vision loss that prevents them from reading.
- Nine million people in the 45 to 64 age range have vision loss.
Helping your community
The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service has become a trusted friend to those who face each day without sight, helping them become active members of society, and improving their quality of life.
Regarded as one of the nation’s finest radio reading services for the blind, and New York State’s best radio reading service, the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service has compiled a track record of exemplary efficiency, productivity, and excellence.
Call Bob Sikorski at (716) 821-5555 to Donate, Volunteer or Subscribe to the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service.
Buffalo Tech Consulting is proud supporter of The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service.