A Year In Review

Please take a few moments to celebrate our organization’s accomplishments of 2020! View our official report here!

WAER Membership

Over the last 5 years our membership has grown 8.3% and $4250 have been awarded to our scholars. We currently have 45 members. Our members receive:

  • Professional Support
  • Access to Professional Publications and Development opportunities
  • Discounts 
  • Scholarships and Awards

To become a WAER member: https://bit.ly/2IEW3B9

WAER Outreach Efforts

Outreach efforts have resulted in 240 connections!

WAERvis Digital Community

In August 2019, WAER created a Google group that serves as a platform for people who share an interest in the vision field to collaborate, learn, and stay connected. WAERvis was established with 116 members and now has 165 members from 5 states with a variety of connections to the field. In the last year over 600 conversations have been exchanged.  To join WAERvis: https://bit.ly/3gDaGli

Coffee Chats

WAER has held 8 “Coffee Chats” which created a virtual space for vision professionals to congregate and discuss current topics in the field.  An approximate total of 96 people attended. To register for upcoming chats: https://bit.ly/3gCdrTG

“WAER It’s At” Podcast

The WAER It’s At Podcast produced 4 interviews with engaging guests including the Two Blind Brothers. The 4 interviews have increased awareness of the vision field as demonstrated by 145 downloads.  To listen to the podcasts: https://bit.ly/2JJP4HT

Collaborative Vision Conference

The CVC was established in 2016 as a professional development opportunity for all vision professionals including Birth-to-Three, TVI, O&M, and adult providers. Over a 4 year span, 371 participants have collaborated and increased their knowledge. This year, the conference was canceled due to the global pandemic.  See below for information about the 2021 Virtual CVC that is going to be amazing!

WAER also hosted the 2019 NCOMA conference for Orientation and Mobility Professionals in the North Central region.

Scholarship Raffle Winner!

Every year, the WAER awards one, $1000 scholarship to an individual studying the field of blindness and visual impairment who plans to work in the state of Wisconsin post graduation. We could not make this happen without those of you who support our scholarship fund. Thank you to those who purchased raffle tickets and thank you to Two Blind Brothers for donating gift cards!
The winner of this year’s scholarship raffle is…Micaela Smith!

Congratulations and enjoy your gift card!

WAER Scholarship Donation

Each year WAER awards a scholarship to one individual who is pursuing a career in the field of vision. We normally raise funds for this scholarship at our Collaborative Vision Conference (CVC). Unfortunately this year we were not able to hold the CVC which affected our fundraising.

WAER received a $100 gift certificate from Two Blind Brothers (https://twoblindbrothers.com/) to help raise scholarship funds. Two Blind Brothers are Bradford and Bryan Manning. They started Two Blind Brothers to make the softest clothing and gifts in the world and to help the blind community by donating 100% of the profits back to research for eye disease.

Help WAER raise scholarship funds by making a donation. Every $10 that is donated between now and Sunday, December 6th will get your name entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to Two Blind Brothers. The gift certificate will be mailed to the winner the week of December 7th so you have it in time for the holidays! Remember, every $10 gets you entered one time, that means a $30 donation gets you entered 3 times!

WAER Coffee Chats are BACK!

Join us Friday, December 4, 2020 from noon-1:00 PM.

Each meeting features a unique discussion topic and is open to all Vision Professionals, regardless of the age group you serve! If you are unable to attend and are a part of our Digital Community, you will receive a summary of the chat will be sent out. Not part of our Digital Community? Join today: https://aerwisconsin.org/…/please-participate-in-our…/

December’s WAER Coffee Chat topic:
Assistive Technology for Students and Adults

All participants must register and may do so via the link below. Please note that you will automatically be registered for both Coffee Chats.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

When: Dec 4, 2020 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

2020 Awards and Scholarship Winners

We would like to congratulate alL the WAER award winners for 2020! Congratulations on your achievement and can’t wait to celebrate your accomplishments soon!

Scholarship Recipient: Heather Hasse Special Recognition: Andrea Yenter Special Recognition Honorable Nominee: Cheyanne King Omar L. Miron Award: Jeannine Kennevan William H. English Award: Renee Brewster

Welcome to the New Year, 2020!

Let’s celebrate a few awesome things we accomplished and our commitments to this community for the new year.  
WAER joins you in celebrating: 

  • The 4th Collaborative Vision Conference with a performance from Blind Joe 
  • Tina McKeel as the WAER scholarship winner for pursuing further learning in the vision field 
  • AND the development of THIS digital community!  WAERvis continues to be a great way for our stakeholders to learn, share, and collaborate.  We thank you for following the guidelines that help to unite our community.

WAER is looking forward to:

  • Building a stronger more diverse organization that is focused on promoting, developing, and improving all phases of education and rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired persons that we work with (Consider joining us! Learn more at https://aerwisconsin.org/)
  • An amazing 5th annual 20/20 Collaborative Vision Conference on May 7th and 8th in Stevens Point

The WAER Board of Directors Seeks New Members for the 2020-2021 Term

Photo of WAER members at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Trudy Stachowiak is leading the meeting.

The fall is an exciting time for the WAER Board of Directors; it is when they focus on two of our largest and most important projects–planning the annual conference and seeking new members for Board positions that will become vacant in the spring. Finding new leadership is a challenging, yet rewarding experience. When we find folks who are interested in becoming a new leader in our organization, it allows for fresh ideas and perspectives on how we can support professionals in Wisconsin. This year, Past President, Trudy Stachowiak, a long time AER member and board member is looking for individuals who would like to serve in the following positions:

  • President Elect
  • Treasurer
  • Member at Large

If you are interested in serving in one of these positions, please contact Trudy directly at trudy.stachowiak@gmail.com.