by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
When I was growing up, my dad spent alot of time listening to the radio. Not just any radio — but a special radio, one that got only one channel — never of music, but always people talking. As a child, I thought this was not only strange, but a bit boring. But then again, children often don’t understand the draw the adults have to the newspaper. And this was my dad’s version of reading the newspaper — most often The Washington Post. My dad was blind, and this was the only way he could enjoy it. The radio was called the Washington Ear, and is a service for those who are visually impared or disabled in some way that makes them unable to read themselves.
What does this have to do with the Botanical Garden you say? Well, the Richmond Region also has a similar service for the blind and disabled. It’s called the Virginia Voice. And not only do volunteers come in daily to read The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Style Weekly and other local publications, but The Virginia Voice also reads national magazines, and hosts themed shows. And that’s where we fit in! This week, the Virginia Voice featured Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on their Home & Garden show. Jennifer Laughter, Marketing Director, at the Virginia Voice, interviewed me about what’s coming up this year at the Garden. I’d never been on the radio before, but I think it turned out really well! And for me, well, it was pretty cool, getting to be featured on a radio for the blind service. In a way it was like coming home.
Oh, and here are some more facts about the Virginia Voice, in case you are curious, or know someone who could use this free service:
They serve 1,400 people in Central Virginia and more than 700 in Hampton Roads.
Of those they serve, 85 percent are blind or visually impaired. 15 percent cannot read due to a physical disability.
Virginia Voice is on the air seven days a week, 365 days a year.
They are non-profit and 80 percent of the organization’s revenue consists of contributions from:
• service/civic groups