Port Washington Lions Club gives technology grant to Helen Keller National Center

Port Washington Lions Club gives technology grant to Helen Keller National Center
Port Washington Lions Club president Jim Contino presents the technology grant to Joseph Bruno, the president and CEO of Helen Keller Services.(Photo by Jessica Parks)

The Port Washington Lions Club in conjunction with the Bermuda Lions Club awarded a $10,000 grant on Monday to the Helen Keller National Center.

The grant will be used to acquire new computers and equipment for the Adaptive Technology Center, which trains deaf-blind students in computer programs, assistive technologies, portable devices and adaptive hardware and software.

The grant has already been put to use with the center purchasing the new computers in anticipation of the grant money.

Sue Ruzenski, executive director of the Helen Keller National Center, said that when the center heard the grant was approved, “we went ahead and got them because we were in such desperate need.”

“We’re really thankful that we have working computers that the students can go on and have a class,” Don Horvath, a technology instructor at the center, said.

The new computers also have the memory to support the software that they need.

Deaf-blind students typically use two software programs to aid them in screen reading, ZoomText and JAWS.

Horvath said that often when both programs were downloaded onto the computer, they would malfunction.

“Now with these computers, everything runs fluidly and it is really great for us,” he said.

The Adaptive Technology Center holds classes from 8:50 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and after that students can work on their own “so they can practice what they learned in class,” he said.

Joseph Bruno, president and CEO of Helen Keller Services, said he believes technology is a key for helping the people the organization serves to live independently.

“Technology allows them to see what they couldn’t see before,” he said.

Stephanie Teff, former president of the Port Washington Lions Club, initiated the grant process after speaking with Marina Carroll, the center’s major gifts officer and coordinator of special events, at a pancake breakfast.

Carroll told her the organization was in need of new technology equipment, so Teff looked into a way that the Port Washington Lions could help.

The Port Washington and Bermuda Lions Clubs made their donation through a grant program that emphasizes sight, hearing and humanitarian services.

The Bermuda Lions Club is affiliated with the New York State and Bermuda Lions Foundation, which supports organizations throughout New York and Bermuda.

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