LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — During the pandemic, the world services for the blind has remained open. They’ve also made a way to support other small businesses in the area that are struggling to stay open.
We’ve seen COVID-19 close and change local businesses across the capital city, but the world services for the blind are still open for business as usual.
For 73 years Lions World services has been operating and with a few adjustments.
“We’ve of course had to take a few precautions, we’ve closed our doors to all outsiders coming in,” said Sharon Giovinazzo the CEO and President of World Services for the Blind.
Folks are still able to learn and move through their programs and the main thing keeping them motivated to keep their doors open.
“I had over 20 residents here, a lot of them with vulnerable health conditions, as well as a third of our client’s population was homeless,” said Sharon.
If they closed, residents like Joane Hancock says she would have no place to go.
Hancock says this is the safest place she could be right now. She’s been here for almost a year after becoming blind during a gardening accident.
“When I got here, I didn’t know left from right and I love the fact this place was able to stay open through the virus,” said Joane.
“I wouldn’t even risk back home, as much as I thought about it before, but there’s no chance,” said Baltazar Cuazitl who is another resident.
Baltazar started on campus at the perfect time, right before the virus outbreak and now he’s just focused on working Information Technology while blind.
“I’m just glad it’s still open, and I’m getting stuff done and just keep moving forwards,” said Baltazar.
As they continue to operate they’re also helping small local businesses.
“We’re going to be able to reach out to local restaurants and have three meals a day catered in for our clients,” said Sharon.
All the students here on campus were here before COVID-19, but Friday they will have the first new resident on campus. That resident will have to be quarantined for the first 7 days.