For nearly 50 years, VOICEcorps has given those around central Ohio with vision disabilities a free alternative to print. Now, the nonprofit organization is also providing a cable television service to add to the ways it can be utilized.
Now through the month of June, anyone interested in learning more about the program and its television service can visit the Delaware County District Libray’s main branch in Delaware or the Orange Township branch, where displays are set up with additional information.
Displays include brochures, registration forms, and VOICEcorps program guides. The displays are easily identifiable with large VOICEcorps banners marking them. On Friday, June 25, a VOICEcorps ambassador will be interviewed by DCDL Director George Needham on his weekly library radio program, broadcasted on WDLR radio.
VOICEcorps began in Columbus in 1975 as a radio service where users could access a broadcast on a special radio, which is provided by VOICEcorps and helps the users to stay current on happenings in and around their communities. While the radio service continues today, the same broadcast can now be accessed on a private television station through WOSU to make it even easier for anyone with a television to enjoy the program.
VOICEcorps has more than 200 volunteers who record programming that broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no exceptions. Programming includes the reading of local newspapers such as The Gazette, magazines, and even books. Mark Jividen, the executive director of VOICEcorps, said there are typically two books being read at a time, each broadcasting at different times of the day. Jividen said the books are usually some of the newest titles to be published, which is different from some of the reading services out there that usually take time to get the latest titles.
Jividen said some of the most beneficial pieces of information users receive seem like the simplest of details for those who don’t suffer from diminished sight, but for those who do, they are important details that might otherwise be missed. He said details such as reading the current trash colors for Columbus residents, or the local grocery store ads in any community are some of the most popular services VOICEcorps provides.
In general, Jividen said VOICEcorps goes a long way in simply helping its users to feel included and in tune with the world around them again.
“During this COVID incident, there was so much talk about the psychological effects of isolation and social distancing, or being required to remain at home,” he said. “We have lots of folks who we serve that have been dealing with that for years. They remain isolated because they don’t get information, they don’t read.”
Jividen added, “I wish I had some quotes to give you off the top of my head that people send us — a letter or an email, for instance — and they are so thrilled. They say, ‘My life is back.’”
For more information on how to access the broadcasts, Jividen encourages potential uses to access the VOICEcorps website at www.voicecorps.org or to call 614-274-7650. “We’ll set them up with everything they need,” he went on to say.
Those interested in donating to VOICEcorps to help the organization continue to provide free radios and service can do so by also visiting the website.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.