Philanthropy in Phocus

Friday, October 14, 2022
Facebook Live Video from 2022/10/14 - Empowering people with vision loss to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Facebook Live Video from 2022/10/14 - Empowering people with vision loss to achieve their goals and aspirations.


2022/10/14 - Empowering people with vision loss to achieve their goals and aspirations.

[NEW EPISODE] Empowering people with vision loss to achieve their goals and aspirations.


They will get a better understanding of the capabilities of blind individuals, especially in the workforce, and how changing perceptions can end up changing lives and organizations.


About Scott Thornhill: Director of Public Policy for Alphapointe, a non-profit organization with the mission to empower people who are blind through opportunities for employment and personal development. Scott is responsible for issues such as government relations, successful employment, innovation and more for Alphapointe. 

Name of your organization: Alphapointe


Facebook: Alphapointe NY, Alphapointe

Instagram: AlphapointeNY, AlphapointeKC

LinkedIn: Alphapointe

Tune in for this sensible conversation at or watch the Facebook Livestream by Clicking Here.

Show Notes

Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3

Segment 4


00:00:39.410 --> 00:00:53.939 Tommy DiMisa: right. That's it. That tune that song That means It's time, baby. It's time for philanthropy and focus. I just made that journey from the kitchen, up two flights of stairs to the top of my house, just below the roof.

00:00:53.950 --> 00:01:23.940 Tommy DiMisa: Where is Tommy Tommy's in the attic. Tommy's in the attic. We've been focused That's the name of the show. I think i'm going to take some singing lessons. I I met somebody who recently, who said that he didn't take singing lessons until he was thirty-five, and now he goes all around up and down the east coast uh singing Frank sinatra tunes. He gets paid to do it. So I think I was supposed to be a crooner. Scott Thornhill. I think that's what I was supposed to be.

00:01:23.950 --> 00:01:50.250 Tommy DiMisa: I think I was also supposed to be a game show host. So you know what? At forty-four years old man i'm just getting warm up. There's a lot more to do so. I might sing today, all right. So this in the show philanthropy and focus. If you've been with us for eighty somewhat episodes. You know what i'm about. I'm the nonprofit sector connector, you know, every single week, every single Friday morning I'm going to bring you another leader of a very important nonprofit organization, to do several things,

00:01:50.460 --> 00:02:20.390 Tommy DiMisa: to chat, to catch up, to connect, but really learn about this individual leader. Learn about the organization, learn about the programs that the organization provides, and then how can we help? How can we be part of the solution? How can we be part of the impact that that organization is making, and we do that inside of a nice sixty minute window. Um! We do take a couple of breaks. Uh, if you're checking us out, you can check us out on Facebook philanthropy and focus on Facebook and focus is Ph. Ops

00:02:20.400 --> 00:02:26.619 Tommy DiMisa: us. If you're not checking us out there, and you just listening. That's how you can check this out there, or obviously we're always streaming. Live

00:02:26.630 --> 00:02:54.890 Tommy DiMisa: on the audio at talk radio. Dot Nyc. With me today is Scott Thorndill Scott Scott. Firstly, before we do the introduction of bio. Good morning. How are you, sir? Good morning, my friend. I'm doing well. I I think you should be a crooning game. Show host. Wow! That would be a It'll be like names dude or name this croon. I think we just that's what it I just sing. That would be an absolute train wreck, or you know it'd be the next American idol,

00:02:55.060 --> 00:03:24.150 Tommy DiMisa: one of the two, one of the two That's look at that. We're we're just creating here. We're manifesting right here in the attic. So Scott Dornhill is a director of public policy for Alpha Point, which is an organization I have been aware of for a number of years. Um, because they have a location out in Queens, and I do a lot of work, as many of you know, with the Queens Chamber of Commerce. My friends, Brenda Levy and Tom Grech, in fact, Brendan is the the uh, the actually last night on Uh Pbs Scott, was

00:03:24.160 --> 00:03:52.099 Tommy DiMisa: the answer for George. Okay, George Harrison, you know, after the George passed away they did a concert. It was pretty cool. I was watching the text of my old man, I said, Put on Channel thirteen. It's pretty cool. My father loves what I call my old man. He'd hates it actually. But I texted him, and I said, that check out this. So I bring this up because Brendan Levy, and I wrote the lyrics and the words the Lyrics, and that he wrote the music. We've shared the lyrics on my theme song which you Haven't heard the lyrics part. You'll be heard at the break, but it was like a lenin, and Mccartney kind of thing,

00:03:52.110 --> 00:04:06.020 Tommy DiMisa: and then I might not have a theme song. But Brendan and Tom, I know you know these guys well, and they're always on the advocacy side, and especially when it comes to our nonprofits, you know. They're good folks, they are, they are. We will talk about them a little bit,

00:04:06.030 --> 00:04:27.939 Tommy DiMisa: but you know Scott and Alpha Point. We're going to get into the organization. It's an organization that provides empowerment, employment, and growth and development for people who are visually impaired or blind. And just to get up on my soapbox for a second. Because why not? It's here in the attic. Let me step up on the soapbox. Okay, there it is. Here's the deal about this. I'm. Really,

00:04:27.990 --> 00:04:33.990 Tommy DiMisa: I've been connected with organizations who do a lot of work in the intellectually and developmentally disabled space.

00:04:34.000 --> 00:05:02.220 Tommy DiMisa: I've been connected to that world since, you know, I have a cousin Linda, who passed away about ten years ago in the past, But Linda had special needs, and we, my aunt, my cousin's founded the Lenny Loo Foundation, which I am on the board there, and I do some of the Development works of the outreach work. Really, what I get to do, Scott is, I get to go out and hand out the big checks, which is a lot of nice kind of the best part of everything, and I notice this. I don't know about your life, but I notice when I call somebody up when I tell them I have a check

00:05:02.230 --> 00:05:06.879 Tommy DiMisa: they will call my friend. They like. It's a very good way to make friends, and I like to make,

00:05:07.040 --> 00:05:08.380 Tommy DiMisa: but I I

00:05:08.390 --> 00:05:28.639 Tommy DiMisa: i'll try to go back to what I was saying there, I mean in reading about the organization again this morning. It reminded me a lot of uh Henry Viscardi story. Uh, and you know the story center which is here on Long Island, and John Kemp, who's been on my show. But I just think there are certain folks who have always been on there on the advocacy side, saying

00:05:28.910 --> 00:05:31.389 Tommy DiMisa: enough about what you cannot do.

00:05:31.400 --> 00:05:54.949 Tommy DiMisa: Let's figure out what you can do. Let's accentuate what you're good at, and I don't make this what i'm about to say. You might get a chuckle. People might chuckle out of it, but I don't really mean it that way. But there's a lot of things I suck at, and don't have the ability to do. You might. All who are listening might say singing is one of those things. But we're we're gonna fix that. But but there's a lot that I cannot do just from a difference of abilities. Um,

00:05:54.960 --> 00:05:58.059 Tommy DiMisa: the where i'm going, Scott is, it's probably obvious, is

00:05:58.070 --> 00:06:16.879 Tommy DiMisa: when we can accentuate what people are good at and and give them the opportunity. I mean two of the people who are very influential in the beginning of this organization over one hundred years ago, or Eugene Tandy and Um Hayes Brooks, who were chiropractors and attorneys leaders, business owners who happen to be blind.

00:06:16.890 --> 00:06:36.649 Tommy DiMisa: It Wasn't stated that these are men who are blind who are unable to do things, so I I may. We could start. Let's start the conversation there, and cause I think we set it up there where we can just talk through some of that, and I want to hear about you, your background and real estate, how you came now for point. And obviously, as we talked about earlier, the programs and things like that.

00:06:36.660 --> 00:06:38.219 Alphapointe: Sure. Absolutely.

00:06:38.450 --> 00:06:46.050 Alphapointe: Yeah, You know I I I can jump right in if you if you'd like on that part. And you know I I agree with you about the abilities part, and what um

00:06:46.450 --> 00:07:01.900 Alphapointe: we all want the same things essentially. Uh, with some nuanced differences right depending on where you live, and maybe how you grew up, or whatever. But but as human beings, we all sort of want the same general things. We want to live a good life. We may want to um

00:07:02.340 --> 00:07:09.200 Alphapointe: family wise, you know, raise children, or whatever it might be, or um traveling. Um.

00:07:09.250 --> 00:07:26.590 Alphapointe: We all sort of had the same desires. You want to live a good life. You want to be healthy. You want to do these things. And so someone who's blind is There's no different in that, and I can tell you some some funny stories about how people who are blind or no different than people who are cited. We would try to do some of the same things, but it's um

00:07:27.510 --> 00:07:38.440 Alphapointe: in in working with different boards and things throughout the years, you know, there's there's a couple of different ways, whether It's an organization, or it's an individual. There's there's a couple of different ways to sort of view how you're going to move forward. One is

00:07:38.530 --> 00:07:56.360 Alphapointe: you look at your strengths and weaknesses. And you say, Okay, how am I going to make you make my weaknesses go away, or how am I going to improve my weaknesses right? I'm going to get better the things i'm not good at, or you say i'm going to look at my strengths. How do I capitalize on those, and not spend a lot of time concerned about my weaknesses So

00:07:56.370 --> 00:08:03.669 Alphapointe: and so really in in the field, that that we're in in terms of working with people who are blind as I am. Um,

00:08:03.680 --> 00:08:26.189 Alphapointe: it's it's really capitalizing on the strengths. And then you shore up the weaknesses where you have to to make sure that someone is safe and and those kinds of things. But um! You really do want to look at the abilities, and then how you use those capabilities, or that aptitude to then move someone forward, whether it be living on their own at home or it's working a job, or it's uh transportation, whatever it might be. That's that's kind of the approach.

00:08:26.390 --> 00:08:35.519 Tommy DiMisa: I think that's so. Right on. And I did a video leading up to this show. I always do a video actually, right after the program. I shoot a video for the next week's program to,

00:08:35.530 --> 00:08:50.460 Tommy DiMisa: and that's sort of what I I started to tell the story, and I watched that video again. Last night I started to tell the story about. I used to work for adp the large payroll operation I uh out of bayside queens. It's, in fact, how I met my business partners some of eighteen nineteen years ago. Um! And

00:08:51.360 --> 00:09:15.779 Tommy DiMisa: I remember they would say, all right. So here's what you guys can do. You have a a book of clients. You have uh some banks in your community and your territory. You have some Cpas, and you should prospect, and if you're not good at one of those four things well, then, you should do more of that, so you get better at it. And I this isn't long ago. This is seventeen eighteen years called me, and I was, although it feels long ago. But in history it ain't that long. And

00:09:15.850 --> 00:09:33.189 Tommy DiMisa: I think as a society. And I said this in that video, too, and and and to your point exactly capitalize on those strengths. I say, accentuate, I see. Just go after, because to me the other part I I don't mean if, if, unless you have the desire to get better at something like you want to improve something like. But to the

00:09:33.330 --> 00:09:50.499 Alphapointe: if we get caught up on those weaknesses, man, what are we leaving on the table. We only could focus on so much at any given point. Right? So so that's the thing. So talk to me about that, too.

00:09:50.510 --> 00:10:08.999 Alphapointe: Uh, we're in that job, for one reason or another. Either. Either they went after the job, thought it's what they wanted, or someone else, maybe, in the organization. Move them into a particular job, and their skill set, and everything else. Then it it's the prime example sort of. How do you? What do you do if you're evaluating how the person is doing the job.

00:10:09.010 --> 00:10:28.350 Alphapointe: Right? Then you're gonna go. Wow! They're not really. They're not doing very well at this job. So where do we need to improve. How do they need to get better? What do we need to change? Or, you say, Wait a minute. The person is really good at these other three things. Why, Don't, why don't we sort of adapt the job, or find a position for them where they can capitalize, and those things so uh for me. So

00:10:28.360 --> 00:10:33.879 Alphapointe: being blind, and and I think people with disabilities across the board really in a lot of ways, Tommy, it's um,

00:10:34.240 --> 00:10:45.080 Alphapointe: and I did it, too. That's how I know It's true that rhymes and didn't mean to happen. But um when I was younger and had site so just to to kind of set the

00:10:45.100 --> 00:10:54.249 Alphapointe: the scene a little bit. I was diagnosed at the age of eight, with retina as pigmentosa Rp. For short but thankfully they do that for all of us. Right. Art shortened to Rp.

00:10:54.270 --> 00:11:06.819 Alphapointe: So my mother and I were driving on a on a on a road, and there was a truck in front of us, and she asked me to read the word on the back of the truck, and I couldn't read the word on the truck, and and I knew she was worried. Looking back on it, I know she must have been worried.

00:11:06.830 --> 00:11:24.159 Alphapointe: Um! It was a lettuce truck, and it had the word lettuce written across the back of the cab, you know, in a uh an area for them to to hold. Lettuce um to this day I don't feel the same about salads, Tommy Frank, about it. I wish you had said chicken wings or pizza, or something that I probably would, but

00:11:24.170 --> 00:11:34.569 Alphapointe: things may have been a lot different for me. But um! So I immediately went into, you know, going to see I doctors and and uh specialists and all of that, and so um.

00:11:35.060 --> 00:12:03.809 Alphapointe: But I was living with a secret right that I had this vision impairment, and it would only show up periodically to other people. Maybe when I was in the dark at night, night, blindness or whatever. Well, then, as I got older at fifteen, they told me i'd be blind by forty. Um! I I try to over achieve. So I hit that around thirty-six. Um! But way to go over. Gee! Thank you. Thank you Who strive for that. But but really and and I was. I've mentioned this to you previously that there, you know, there's a legal definition of blindness which is different than a lot of disabilities.

00:12:03.820 --> 00:12:21.099 Alphapointe: It's it's codified in law. What what blindness is, and so that's why you hear the term legally blind. The person is legally blind. Well, you're either blind or you're not because it's. It's the way the definition works. But there are degrees of vision that you can still have and and be can and be blind by definition.

00:12:21.280 --> 00:12:23.280 Alphapointe: So um!

00:12:23.520 --> 00:12:27.560 Alphapointe: I went through thinking. A person who's blind

00:12:27.680 --> 00:12:43.470 Tommy DiMisa: can't do anything. I don't want to be that person, and it was this impending doom that's your that was your youth was was that you were. I was fear it's all gonna i'll. I can do anything at a point in my life. Yeah,

00:12:43.480 --> 00:12:51.660 Alphapointe: wow, I had a death sentence, in my opinion, right? I I knew it was coming. It was a train rolling down the track that I could not stop

00:12:51.730 --> 00:13:14.749 Alphapointe: um, and I had no control at all over it. And so with that in mind right, I tried to hide it. I pretended like it didn't exist. I I would um. I mean just to be frank. I would lie if I had to, because my pride and my own protection. That's how desperate um it would get. And so I would make up all kinds of reasons, right not to tell someone.

00:13:14.760 --> 00:13:20.930 Alphapointe: And and looking back on it. It's easy to shake my head and say, Oh, man, that was foolish, you know You look pride getting away. Just

00:13:21.430 --> 00:13:26.659 Alphapointe: why in the world would you do that? It wasn't anything I did right. It was a genetic thing, and um,

00:13:26.910 --> 00:13:49.650 Alphapointe: And so because of that, the way I looked at this right. I was feared, and and I tried to run away from it, and I did not want to embrace what was going to be happening to me. And so if I had done that, let's go to if down the if road. If I had done that right, I I may have gotten my skills sooner I may have been better prepared. I may have done things to set my up myself up to live as a blind individual.

00:13:49.660 --> 00:14:07.030 Alphapointe: Um! But instead, what I did was pretend like it wasn't happening try to hide from it um all of that, so that when I ultimately didn't have any more options to pretend um I wasn't prepared. Wow! And that's part of my message to people is um, It's not

00:14:07.040 --> 00:14:23.649 Alphapointe: it. It's It's just something that's that's happening in your life. And yes, there are some, you know, blindness where the person has done something to to cause. There are causes of blindness that aren't just sort of random, and then people have accidents, you know. I know there's people that work with us who were injured in the military. Um

00:14:23.660 --> 00:14:30.609 Alphapointe: uh disabled veterans. So, anyway, We can talk more about that as we as we move down the road. But that's how I was looking at this.

00:14:30.620 --> 00:14:59.980 Tommy DiMisa: Yeah, we're gonna take a sneak. We'll walk through a quick break in a second here. But that is such a a really pointing story to Scott, as I hear you tell it, because it. It. It's your story, but it's so many other people story, whether they have Rp. Or something else, or or just as we as we age and we realize we might. Maybe we're all, you know. Stick around long enough. You're going to be old. That's kind of how it works. So my mom used to say right. She's like you live long enough. You'll get there, too, or anytime We made fun of a br of an age or a birthday or something. You're right

00:14:59.990 --> 00:15:29.969 Tommy DiMisa: exactly, I mean. Look at Jim Morrison did tell us. No one gets out of here alive but you can. You could stay for a long time if you do things right and you get the jeans right. But I think even that is a is a telling story to to kind of. Be prepared and and evolve in some regard, you know, and and you look back. And now you tell that story, and that story can influence other people to maybe do it differently. Do you do a lot what i'll ask you real quick, just yes or no. But do you also do work with that Rp. Community like. Is that

00:15:29.980 --> 00:15:38.029 Tommy DiMisa: Because I think that story, if it is a if it's a what I say that if it's an evolving disease for someone, they can maybe a better

00:15:38.040 --> 00:15:51.610 Alphapointe: I engage on on, I will say, and engage on social media with groups that are the red. And I just put in tosa groups, and I cannot tell you, Tommy, it breaks my heart still every day when I hear a parent say, my child just got diagnosed with Rp. Please help me. What do I do?

00:15:52.290 --> 00:16:21.689 Tommy DiMisa: Yeah. Yeah, I can't imagine. I mean It's It's tough. But I guess the thing is, where what do you do? Well, I think you're share. Share my story right. I share with them. Here's what Here's what I think helps someone who's lived through this. Here's and here's what you don't do. Don't cuddle don't uh don't try to keep them away from things, because how much? And again, how many more skills could they have learned to deal with this. It's a preparation thing, right, if you know. Yeah, it's common, but it doesn't have to be an depending do. It could be a situation where we're ready for we're going to stop with

00:16:21.700 --> 00:16:32.309 Tommy DiMisa: quick break. Scott Thornhill is here with me this morning director of public policy for Alpha Point. We're going to get in top of point shortly. We're taking a quick break. We'll be right back. Scott, Tommy, in the attic.

00:16:35.530 --> 00:17:01.490 Are you a business owner? Do you want to be a business owner? Do you work with business owners? Hi! I'm. Steven, Fry your small and medium sized business or Smb Guide and i'm the host of the new show always Friday, while i'd love to have fun on my show. We take those Friday feelings of freedom and clarity to discuss popular topics on the minds of Smbs today. Please join me at my various special guests on Friday at eleven. Am. On talk radio dot Nyc.

00:17:03.700 --> 00:17:10.350 Are you a conscious co-creator? Are you on a quest to raise your vibration and your consciousness?

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00:17:39.320 --> 00:18:08.240 Are you on edge, hey? We live in challenging edgy time. So let's lean in. I'm Sandra Bardman, the host of the edge of every day, which airs each Monday at seven P. M. Eastern time on talk radio dot Nyc. Tune in live with me and my friends and colleagues, as we share stories of perspectives about pushing boundaries and exploring our rough edges. That's the edge of every day on Mondays at seven P. M. Eastern time on top radio, Dot Nyc:

00:18:09.530 --> 00:18:20.799 You're listening to talk radio, Nyc: uplift, educate and power,

00:18:20.900 --> 00:18:21.840 you,

00:18:23.250 --> 00:18:24.560 you

00:18:25.970 --> 00:18:26.820 you

00:18:26.860 --> 00:18:27.820 you!

00:18:42.040 --> 00:18:43.920 And

00:18:43.930 --> 00:19:07.569 Tommy DiMisa: that is the aforementioned Brendan Levy. They are singing the the soundtrack to this Year's show philanthropy in focus. So maybe that's Brendan singing. It's brendan singing as Well, Yeah, he's. You might not know this. He has a band. Um, and they he's. They had a record deal. They were like popular back in like the nineties, and the name of the group was the goods,

00:19:07.580 --> 00:19:24.589 Tommy DiMisa: and as they are now older men, they now call themselves damaged goods. Well, and I will tell you, Scott, When you're up here in New York we'll go out on, you know, if we can link up when he's playing, because they do shows maybe once a month or something like that, and they can rock they really.

00:19:24.600 --> 00:19:39.750 Tommy DiMisa: Yeah, they're they're good time. Um. So all right. So this organization i'm reading right right off. Of the notes four hundred employees, more than half of whom who are blind. In other reading, I. It's found two hundred and fifty of the four hundred employees of Alpha Point are blind or visually impaired.

00:19:39.760 --> 00:19:52.919 Tommy DiMisa: Uh founded in nineteen eleven. They They have business division, such as online office supply, retailing, plastic injection, molding, manufacturing. I know there was janitorial products that were being made. There was Um!

00:19:52.930 --> 00:20:03.309 Tommy DiMisa: Oh, God! Why can't I think of when somebody gets hurt in the military Vernei kits. Thank you. Turni kits. Um. Thank you for that call center, I mean on and on and on again

00:20:03.320 --> 00:20:28.870 Tommy DiMisa: leveraging what people's. Abilities are not only their abilities, but also their interest. It's not like. Well, we got this one size thing, and if you want a job here's what it is. No, you'll work even with these folks in their different abilities. It's not just catch all. Okay. So you're you don't have site. You have to do this job right there on your opportunity. So before we even get into that, let's tell tell me about your business background. And then when the Alpha point gets into your

00:20:28.880 --> 00:20:29.970 Alphapointe: It's kind of your

00:20:30.090 --> 00:20:47.159 Alphapointe: it gets in your path, and and how you end up together. So um I, as I was talking about before, sort of the my journey um with blindness, as I got into my mid to late twenties, you know I was married and um

00:20:47.170 --> 00:20:59.699 Alphapointe: still in uh, but we've got married, and you know life's kind of moving on, and you're figuring out and figuring out jobs. And I graduated from college. I was figuring out jobs and bounced around a bit and um!

00:20:59.740 --> 00:21:06.660 Alphapointe: But I was losing my vision. It was. It was obvious that it was getting worse, and I was trying to figure out how to how to do things.

00:21:06.670 --> 00:21:36.639 Alphapointe: Um! In March of seven um. I woke up one morning, Tommy and my left eye The vision that was remaining in my left eye had had gone pretty much overnight. Um, as I tell people, it felt like I had peanut butter spread across my eye. Now I can't tell you. I've never had peanut butter spread across my eye that I know of, so I I can't, but it just like That's what it seemed like it would be like just that really deep sort of a fog. Okay, uh thick, you know, sort of. And so I thought, Oh, maybe I've got an infection or something. Well, you know,

00:21:36.650 --> 00:21:45.759 Alphapointe: to the doctor he is not just the progression of the disease. I'll see you next year. That was the the bedside manner that was so comforting. But but um so,

00:21:46.260 --> 00:21:52.230 Alphapointe: and I, you know At that time we, our son, had been born in two thousand and two. So he was five years old.

00:21:52.270 --> 00:22:08.480 Alphapointe: My wife and I were running our real estate brokerage, which she still runs. Um! And we were. We ran that together for thirteen, fourteen years, and then she's been running her by herself for the last four years. Um, that I've been with Alpha Point but um our five year old son was reading real estate contracts, Tommy

00:22:08.490 --> 00:22:36.090 Alphapointe: Um, which helped his vocabulary and his reading ability quite a bit. But it really wasn't a great plan moving forward. I I have the I have the call of time out because I I i'm at a point in my life when i'm not sure I clear on what's going on. I just gotta throw a flag. So I was he reading them because you did not have the ability, and he was he was reading the contracts for you. Somebody would send something in and so on. My computer I could use reverse

00:22:36.100 --> 00:22:52.440 Alphapointe: um high contrast. So I have a black background with white or yellow writing right? It's a technique that we use with people with vision impairments to help read computers. Uh, I could enlarge things a little bit. But um! The The reverse type was really what I did to to help me during those years.

00:22:52.450 --> 00:23:02.300 Alphapointe: But after this happened in March of seven um! And I lost the remaining vision in my left eye, and all I had that left was the partial in my right eye. I I was. It was a tough,

00:23:02.310 --> 00:23:30.900 Alphapointe: tough time in my life. Um! I was very frustrated. I got to October of that year, and I was just sort of feel like I was banging my head against a brick wall like. Why is this happening to me now? I knew it was going to happen right. I'd already been told it was going to happen, but now I'm. In the middle of the of the worst of it I was used to having sort of not great vision, but at least they were the same in both eyes, and I could function and do what I needed to do. Use the reverse type, or use some of these tools. Well, now i'm at a point where I can't read, You know I've got this contract in front of me on paper.

00:23:31.180 --> 00:23:35.440 Alphapointe: I hadn't been able to do that for years, you know, probably two year, three years at that point.

00:23:35.450 --> 00:24:03.160 Alphapointe: And so, my son, I still had to have something, and my wife, which she wasn't around. I'd ask my son to read this, but he's only five. I i'm thinking of mine because i'm thinking of my seven year old who is reading like he loves to read. But he's really a you know, dogman and Captain Underpans. So yeah, no. That game. And he's reading on the couch next to me. But at this not real estate contract I know we're we're with all here, too, for I say he's the only five year old that use where, with all in here, two fours, and thereupon's and but um

00:24:03.170 --> 00:24:22.380 Alphapointe: he would it because he I mean it's a he didn't like it. No, don't get me wrong. It wasn't like he enjoyed it. But uh, but as a hey, you know, will I need you to read it, you know. And so, But in October of that year I really had a crossroad. I I just was so frustrated and just was was angry, and in August I had gone to visit a friend of mine uh in another state, so I flew

00:24:22.390 --> 00:24:30.899 Alphapointe: um, and my wife had been asking me to get a cane. You know she's like you really need to get a cane. You really need to get a cane. And And I said, i'm not you. I don't need a king. And then finally

00:24:31.040 --> 00:25:01.019 Alphapointe: we're on our way to the airport, and I could tell she was a little frustrated with me. You're not happy with me, and I said, what's wrong? She said. Well, you never called about that king, did you? And I said, Well, of course I did. I knew how important it was to you, and she said, Well, when did you call? And I said about half an hour ago, but I, because I knew there was no chance. They could give me a cane before I went on this flight, and I was embarrassed. Look I again looking back on it. It was foolish, but I saw the cane as the Scarlet Letter for those who remember the Scarlet Letter Right. I I saw this as the sign that something was wrong with me as the sign

00:25:01.030 --> 00:25:09.960 Alphapointe: to everyone around me that I I was less than, and so I didn't. I didn't want that I didn't want. I mean a symbol that like.

00:25:09.970 --> 00:25:37.629 Alphapointe: And and finally she said, Look, she said, if you don't, you know, if you don't care about yourself, at least care about the people around you who don't know you can't see them right? Yeah, and i'm A and i'm a big guy, Tommy, You know we've met. We have to warning. Then there's sort of they don't. Yeah coming down the can't see me and I play, You know I played football in college and all that. And so I was, but you know so and so. Um yeah, I not believe me. I I decked a few folks through the years, and i'm not proud of it, but you know I took a few people out. Um

00:25:37.640 --> 00:25:44.310 Alphapointe: thankfully. I don't think anyone was hurt, you know badly. But um! So that was a a very difficult time

00:25:44.320 --> 00:26:02.670 Alphapointe: for me in terms of what that was was looking like, and so I had to make one hundred and eighty degree turn, just to be blunt about it because I stayed home a lot. Didn't want to go out for a period of time. And finally she told me she's like, you know you just can't live like this. You've got to figure some things out because i'm an extrovert. I I get energy from being around people, and so

00:26:02.680 --> 00:26:31.340 Alphapointe: I had to figure it out, you know. Got the cane. Got some training. Those skills are crucial. Uh Got Got a screen reader called Jaws job access with speech. Uh, which is what I still use. Um today. Different version. But same same program reads everything on my computer to me. So that's when my world started to change was when I embraced what was going on, and and I couldn't control it, but I could control my reaction to it, and We've all heard that probably a thousand times couldn't control what was happening, but I could control my reaction to it. So getting the skills

00:26:31.670 --> 00:26:47.840 Alphapointe: had to do one hundred and eighty degree term, where I was willing to be out with a cane navigating by myself, You know I couldn't tell that people were staring at me. That's the good part about not, you know my son could tell, and it really bothered him, and he would just stare back, and he's he was. He's a big guy, too. And um,

00:26:47.850 --> 00:27:17.809 Alphapointe: I said, look, just don't you just let it roll off you because it's just because people aren't used to being around someone who's blind. So we work through that. And um. Then I started um doing some public speaking uh in our real estate uh there, aren't a lot of blind real estate brokers. Um, Tommy. So um! Why, people who want to buy homes, though too, so there are right, so it does not build rapport, not to say that in that business anymore, but it's some some level of connection, Right? It it does, and of course it's. You know it. It would be a niche situation, and we did have that opportunity a few times. But

00:27:17.950 --> 00:27:29.519 Alphapointe: what I had done before that was, I memorized everything right, so that when I sat down with a client I didn't have to read what was in front of me. I already had it memorized, and I would just spout it out to them. Um, but we got to the point where

00:27:29.650 --> 00:27:32.979 Alphapointe: um I was. I was I

00:27:33.320 --> 00:27:44.810 Alphapointe: We all enjoy a good inspirational story. Um, you know. We hear them a lot of times during prom season or something, and it and it's it can be a little offensive at times, but it's sort of the the, you know disabled you do,

00:27:44.820 --> 00:28:12.020 Alphapointe: young lady, is asked out by the star football player what you know. We all sort of enjoy these stories and isn't that heartwarming and all that. I I went through a period where it was that sort of motivational right. It's this this blind real estate broker. I spoke at the National Convention for our real real estate brokerage, or for the company that we were affiliated with. Um, Did some speaking engagements, quite a few actually in different places around it did some training for other real estate agents, and it was amazing that the blind real estate broker could do the training,

00:28:12.030 --> 00:28:25.889 Alphapointe: and and I was. I'm proud of that. Those things, Tommy. I'm not i'm not belittling them, but but it wasn't ultimately sort of how I was going to move forward. It was more about this um um, this sort of

00:28:25.960 --> 00:28:46.469 Alphapointe: inspirational motivational. But but for me long term I didn't. Necessarily. Was it like a novel thing for. Yeah, it was sort of like, Wow! And you know we're so amazed. And and and again I'm: i'm thankful for those opportunities. And what I learned during that time, but I had to learn how to live with blindness, and not just sort of the Oh, you can memorize these things.

00:28:46.480 --> 00:28:50.840 Alphapointe: Um, it's hard to do that as you get older and and things change. The skill. Development

00:28:50.870 --> 00:28:58.069 Alphapointe: became crucial, but I had someone during that process, and this is where I I I really think a lot of times. Um! Things are

00:28:58.080 --> 00:29:15.379 Alphapointe: uh fall into place outside of our knowledge of them falling into place around us. Um! I was at, an I was speaking to a local group, and they asked me if i'd be willing to serve on a board. Um, and I said I would think about it because I was on a couple of other boards, and so I ended up serving on on a board of an organization that worked with people who were blind

00:29:15.390 --> 00:29:32.379 Alphapointe: and um. And so here I am, a board member of this place, right? The only blind board member of an organization focused on helping people who are blind. Um! And so I got to know the employees. I got to know the other board members. I got to know the leadership and the leadership of that organization encouraged me, saying, Hey,

00:29:32.390 --> 00:29:43.140 Alphapointe: you could really make a difference for other people who were blind who didn't have the foundation. Didn't have the family support didn't have seek us, Tommy. That's a lot of this is. I was blessed with a family that was supportive

00:29:43.190 --> 00:30:07.530 Alphapointe: education system where I was able to get what I needed. Those kinds of things growing up. Um, sit close to the board or get someone to help you take note to see. I tried to avoid any recognition. I'd sit closer to the board, but I didn't want anybody helping me, because then everybody else around me would know something was wrong. But as I realized that other people didn't have those same advantages, I started to feel like I want to change something. I want to help level the playing field. I want to get involved on a different level,

00:30:07.540 --> 00:30:36.610 Alphapointe: and I ended up um getting involved in national industries for the blind and and meeting people at conferences and um as time went by and I realized that's the direction I want to go. Um! I was. I was thankful to have some conversations with the folks from Alpha Point, and was offered an opportunity to um to come on board with Alpha Point. Let's pause the right that because I love where we are, We're taking a quick break. We'll be right back in a sec. But the thing there is, you know you. You find

00:30:36.620 --> 00:30:48.810 Tommy DiMisa: what the impact you're supposed to make. You found the change you're supposed to make, and then you find the organization, and we'll find out the rest of the story. When we come back we'll be right back.

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00:32:45.270 --> 00:32:59.410 Tommy DiMisa: We're back. So the mission of this organization is empowering people with vision, loss to achieve their goals and aspirations. The vision of the organization is a world where everyone with vision loss rises to their desired

00:32:59.420 --> 00:33:08.739 Tommy DiMisa: full potential. And it's, you know. I think that's really where we were in the conversation. Scott, you know, Yet you now at that point realized

00:33:08.750 --> 00:33:21.770 Alphapointe: what your mission is, or what what the work you're supposed to be doing is right. That's right, and and I and I just like a lot of people. I that started to write a book, and I've still I'm still working on it years and years years later. But

00:33:21.810 --> 00:33:41.900 Alphapointe: and that was really the message that I was feeling, and and the sentiment that is, if we all sort of did that on a certain level, instead of hiding the things that have gone wrong, or the bad decisions we've made, or whatever. If we can get to that point where we can help others who are struggling with the same thing. Then you know what a different world it would be

00:33:41.910 --> 00:33:49.930 Alphapointe: uh, in a lot of ways. But we're so pride in other things effect it's just human nature. But I did I I was able then to

00:33:50.200 --> 00:34:20.169 Alphapointe: uh be in a situation where um I was able to advocate on behalf of other people who were blind. Now listen! If you had told me that that's what I would be doing when I was in my mid twenties or your late twenties, when I wouldn't leave the house because I was missing handshakes and tripping over curbs that you know. And and when I was told about, hey, there's this place you can go to where blind people I was like man. That's so great that blind people have a place to go. It's so nice that they have a you know, a place that they can hang out. But I pictured someone who was blind as someone who had their hand out, or someone who couldn't do anything, and everybody else had to help.

00:34:20.920 --> 00:34:29.939 Alphapointe: And so for me then to be in a position where I myself, as a blind individual, was advocating on behalf of what blind people can do

00:34:29.949 --> 00:34:52.429 Alphapointe: was, you know, talk a hundred and eighty degrees. That's what it was, and so in the work that I do now. It's it's there's a lot of aspects to it, but it's It's looking at where you know Where is legislation on a Federal level state level, even local level. Uh, what can we do to help open up more opportunities right now, Tommy? About seventy seven zero. About seventy percent

00:34:52.440 --> 00:35:04.810 Tommy DiMisa: of people who are blind are not working seventy percent, seventy percent. How much of that is involved, if if at all. Because I think of this in terms of comparison to the the individuals with special needs, or Id

00:35:04.840 --> 00:35:21.309 Tommy DiMisa: How much of that is it related to benefits from your perspective meeting? I I can't go get a job because i'll lose my benefits, you know, or the alternative that people just aren't giving the opportunities. There's there's there's percentages across the board. A a certain percentage of that seventy percent.

00:35:21.910 --> 00:35:34.250 Alphapointe: Frankly, people probably don't want to work, you know. There's no it's It's don't don't feel like they have to right the benefits are enough that they can kind of get by um, maybe living with family, whatever it might be. And and then there, um!

00:35:34.670 --> 00:35:40.060 Alphapointe: There is a group where there are the external factors like

00:35:40.320 --> 00:35:46.949 Alphapointe: transportation. It's depending on where they live. Um, New York City.

00:35:46.960 --> 00:36:01.239 Alphapointe: Different story than you know. Some of them, maybe a more rural area, whatever it is. So So that's why you end up having actually a number of people who are visually impaired or blind, who do want to work and be what you do move to larger cities. And there's public transportation and and all this sorts of things.

00:36:01.250 --> 00:36:16.749 Alphapointe: But I mean we could talk about that all day as well. Right accessibility of Mta accessibility, and all those that that's a whole. Another discussion, and that is part of the the work that I do also is is sort of partnering, and and where those things pop up and and alpha point Um,

00:36:16.810 --> 00:36:29.249 Alphapointe: being an advocate on behalf of our employees, but also on behalf of just the larger, blind, visually impaired population. But there are a number of factors involved, and it's something frankly that we struggle with sometimes sort of is Um,

00:36:29.430 --> 00:36:44.459 Alphapointe: you're locating individuals, and and once people have gotten so demoralized about what they think is possible or available, or they've been told so many times. You can't do that, um, or don't even try to do that. Or why are you trying to do something like that? They quit trying to do that,

00:36:44.470 --> 00:37:02.289 Alphapointe: or anything like that which would be working or doing things on their own um. And we hear these stories all the time from people who come to us for services, or people come to us for a job. Um! About how they You know they had been working somewhere, and it didn't work out. The employer didn't understand, or um

00:37:02.300 --> 00:37:05.499 Alphapointe: they didn't have the skills that they needed. So, for example, um

00:37:05.550 --> 00:37:17.779 Alphapointe: in our Richmond Hill Queens facility, we have an activities of daily living apartment, a simulated apartment. So um what that is There's a kitchen essentially there. Um! That

00:37:17.870 --> 00:37:33.719 Alphapointe: we can work with clients on. How do you prepare a meal for yourself? Um, Because we talk about employment, right? That's the goal of, like the Federal Government and a lot of State governments is vocational outcomes. They want that individual to have a

00:37:33.760 --> 00:37:35.079 Alphapointe: That's the goal.

00:37:35.250 --> 00:37:36.240 Alphapointe: But

00:37:36.330 --> 00:37:56.060 Alphapointe: number one, not everybody is is going to work, but number two to hold down a job, and I think we all know this, but we take it for granted to hold down a job. You gotta be able to feed yourself. You gotta be able to take care of hygiene. You gotta be able to take care of your clothing. I mean basic things of life that we do take for granted, but for someone who's who's blind, who may be living on their own

00:37:56.070 --> 00:38:05.349 Alphapointe: um, and maybe they stayed with their family until they were older. There's all different kinds of scenarios, but we we work with the foundational sort of building blocks that then help that individual

00:38:05.460 --> 00:38:12.259 Alphapointe: be successful in a job. Because I like to say. You know we meet people where they are, and they and they help them. We we help them get where they want to go.

00:38:12.270 --> 00:38:34.120 Alphapointe: Um. So we we meet them where they are, and that can be any different kind of place. They may have just left a job because they were losing their vision, and they didn't know what to do, and they're scared. So maybe we're helping them get back to their old job or get back in the same field they were working in. But just now, with assistive technology and some some orientation and mobility which is using your cane and getting around, or a guide dog in certain cases.

00:38:34.480 --> 00:38:50.379 Alphapointe: So we we do that. And then we we have people that come to us who have never worked. Maybe they're in their mid thirties, and they've never had a job. So the statistics tell us, Tommy, that that someone who's blind a blind teenager has their first job or opportunity. Two to three years later than the sided teenager

00:38:50.450 --> 00:39:03.579 Alphapointe: Um, The The The blind college graduate usually doesn't hit really what would be considered an entry level job with opportunity upward mobility till they're twenty-five; whereas a person who cited is about twenty-three

00:39:03.590 --> 00:39:22.020 Alphapointe: um and so institutionally sort of along the spectrum or along the the continuum of of our lives. People who are blind um are are behind. People with disabilities in general are behind. So you keep moving that. And and you say, Okay, department of labor tells us that

00:39:22.030 --> 00:39:41.399 Alphapointe: people with disabilities at every education level are employed at a lower percentage than non-disabled people at the same education level. So back to your question. Is that about benefits? So? Um! Certainly people have to manage the benefits, because, depending on the type of job the person has the pay may not be enough

00:39:41.410 --> 00:39:42.939 Alphapointe: that it offsets

00:39:43.100 --> 00:39:51.760 Tommy DiMisa: the benefits. And now you're making too much money. You're going to lose your benefits right? So you have to make a decision, you know. I mean, you may need too much salute, and you lose a benefits, but not enough that it's like,

00:39:51.770 --> 00:40:21.760 Alphapointe: because you lot. Yes, yeah. So when we talk about policy on a Federal level, we're talking about what we call the earnings Cliff or the cash cliff with Ssdi through social security disability. So, instead of sort of having just a a cut off point, or even a a very short transitional period, let's make that transitional period a little bit longer. Let the person sort of get acclimated to this this new budget, or this new, you know, income level or whatever it is, because certainly people who are blind, Tommy sometimes literally will turn down.

00:40:21.770 --> 00:40:50.860 Tommy DiMisa: It's a promotion in their job because it's going to negatively affect them financially. But no policymakers. Let's listen up. If you're like. This is a lot a lot of what your work is right. It is. It's part of the part of it. It's part of it, and it's like silly, though. That's a silly situation like how they're they're improving their situation. And now we're going to it. We're going to punish them and take away this thing. That was a lifeline for lack of a better word, but something that supported them structurally.

00:40:50.870 --> 00:40:52.529 Tommy DiMisa: And you take that away, and

00:40:52.540 --> 00:41:20.689 Alphapointe: I I i'm gonna be quiet. Listen to you, because you know. Oh, no, I just you're right. And but it is a tough one, because nobody seems to really have a the solution, and so it gets talked about, but it never really gets addressed in the way that we would that we really think it should be. I mean that's just one of the factors right There's There's the transportation aspect that I mentioned. Um! There's that education piece where it can be more challenging for someone who is disabled, and, you know, blind to

00:41:20.700 --> 00:41:29.780 Alphapointe: uh to get education in the same way or in the same timeframe. Um, and then you get to employers and the employers.

00:41:30.180 --> 00:41:34.650 Alphapointe: I I tell people often that we've done a really good job of making people feel guilty

00:41:34.680 --> 00:41:41.460 Alphapointe: like they feel like they should hire people with disabilities, and Don't get me wrong. There are some employers who are doing an excellent job

00:41:41.470 --> 00:42:05.990 Alphapointe: um of of really um actively recruiting, and because what they have found is what we know is that people with disabilities who have earned a job are often your most loyal employees. Um. We found during Covid Tommy, when you know, we were deemed an essential organization in an in essential business during Covid because of our work with the Federal Government Department of Defense

00:42:06.000 --> 00:42:07.010 Alphapointe: and others.

00:42:07.090 --> 00:42:19.959 Alphapointe: And so we had to separate, you know, move our production lines apart, which is challenging, you know you get into a production line or do so. We do manufacturing. We have call centers. We have all these things, you know. We had the hands and tigers everywhere, and the mask, and all these things. But

00:42:19.970 --> 00:42:32.540 Alphapointe: what we were having to do was um continue to operate, and we found that our blind employees were coming to work at a higher percentage than our cited employees. Um. And even with

00:42:32.550 --> 00:42:46.819 Tommy DiMisa: yeah, with sorry I caught up the commute piece there, but it so they more challenged to get there, and they will show him what What do you think the psychology is there? I think psychology is what I say is, once you've earned that opportunity. You're not going to let it go easy, Right? You're not going to let that go, because

00:42:46.830 --> 00:42:58.710 Alphapointe: another statistic, just to throw another one at you for the fun of it, because we just love statistics. Is Um! About eighty-five of people with a disability who lose their job do not get another one

00:42:58.720 --> 00:43:15.459 Alphapointe: uh eighty-five. So, and part of that can be right that they uh that that disabilities happen when people are older, right? So maybe the individual is closer to retirement. They just decide that that's a part of it. But it's also because once you've been in a job and you get acclimated to it, and the people know you, and they know your abilities.

00:43:15.470 --> 00:43:32.509 Alphapointe: So let's say the business has a downturn, and you lose your job due to no fault of your own or whatever. Well, now you're going to go through that entire process again, and and and stuff all over. Prove yourself all over again. Yeah, um, and if you're in, look, it's just like in the in the non-disabled or able-bodied community whatever you want to call it.

00:43:32.620 --> 00:43:45.870 Alphapointe: People not everybody is a Ceo. Right? Not everybody is a manager. I mean it's. It's the same way in the disabled community. So we meet people again where they are, and if that is, with very, very little skill.

00:43:45.880 --> 00:44:00.639 Alphapointe: Um, and maybe it's an aptitude issue, and maybe they do need to go back to school, and we and and you know, vocational rehabilitation agencies in the States can help with that. Um! We can help young people that are transitioning to a job or transitioning into college. Um.

00:44:00.690 --> 00:44:04.759 Alphapointe: So it it's really trying to support at these um

00:44:04.770 --> 00:44:27.450 Alphapointe: bottleneck points that we find, which is, we work with teenagers uh to help them get that first work experience um through a program that we have. Then we work with those that are going to go to college with that first semester of college. Um getting connected with the Disability Resource office on campus wherever that might be. Um! And then we work with people then that are coming out of college,

00:44:27.500 --> 00:44:45.059 Alphapointe: or that never went to college. But now they're looking for a job, right? We have entry, level type jobs that don't require a a whole lot of skill, but that person can learn and grow, and then we have higher level jobs. For example, our five away compliance, which is a digital accessibility. If you've heard that recently talked about.

00:44:45.070 --> 00:44:58.309 Alphapointe: That's helping companies and government entities and all that. Make sure that their websites and their programs are accessible to people with disabilities. And so that's become a a, a, a great part of something that we can do for people who have, you know, higher level skills as well.

00:44:58.320 --> 00:45:16.079 Tommy DiMisa: Yeah, I I want to. You know there's a There's a whole program at the Miss Party School, the Discardi center out here and all around around digital book that digital accessibility over there already. I do. I? Um, I've I've spoken to um uh a very nice woman there who Who? Um

00:45:16.240 --> 00:45:37.440 Alphapointe: through the chamber. As a matter of fact, on the public policy, the the nonprofit committee. Um, it's a yes, we have a great conversation about digital accessibility and what they're doing there, and and we're doing similar work, and we were actually uh getting connected to to see what more we can do. Alright, Well, that's good when you're up here, and we'll go out and visit them because they're a great relationship with them. You're planning a busy, busy time for me.

00:45:37.450 --> 00:46:07.300 Tommy DiMisa: Yeah, man, listen. You know what again. Only if there's value in it, I don't want to just take you out of time, man I We could sit around and and eat those chicken wings you would talk. That'd be fun hanging out with you because me Everybody knows you. So there's a few people that I know. I think this is a couple of more I don't know yet, so i'm hoping to meet more. Alright, we're gonna do First of all, this is a great conversation. I I hope it's good for you to scout, because um, I think we're getting a lot of knowledge when we come back uh it'll be our final session together when we finish. I just wanted. I don't want to leave anything, or or I do want to leave everything out on the field. I I

00:46:07.310 --> 00:46:29.119 Tommy DiMisa: I don't have any stone unturned, so we come back. Tell me about things that are coming up for the organization legislation, if you, even if you need us to reach out to our our legislators for calls and different things to to support what's going on. If there's an event coming up a fundraising event, whatever you want to let us know about Alpha Point, we come back to all right. Awesome, thank you. Well, we'll be right back. This is philanthropy and focus

00:46:32.060 --> 00:46:56.109 everybody. It's Tommy Dean and nonprofit sector connected coming at you from my added each week here on talk radio that Ny: Z. I hosted program will have the main focus. Nonprofits impact us each and every day, and it's my focus to help them amplify their message and tell their story. Listen: Each week at ten Am. Eastern stand in time until eleven Am. Is from stand in time right here on talk radio, Dot Nyc:

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00:48:24.510 --> 00:48:34.530 Tommy DiMisa: No, Scott. There was just that commercial, but this other show we do here. All professionals and animal over shows just the commercial we just listen to, and it just made me think I had a meeting with the

00:48:34.540 --> 00:48:49.299 Tommy DiMisa: A woman yesterday who found that an organization called Pets for patriots, and there's so much that goes on, you know, with support animals and therapy animals. We didn't have a chance to really get into it today. But um! A lot of benefits in those relationships right,

00:48:49.310 --> 00:49:04.680 Alphapointe: certainly, and um you know it. It's um. There's been a lot of talk about, you know. Support animals recently in different ways, with transportation, you know airlines and all those kinds of things. But but um, you know a number of blind and individuals have have guide dogs. Um

00:49:04.750 --> 00:49:14.600 Alphapointe: and um! It is a commitment on both both sides of that relationship. But I know some. I know some folks who, boy that that has just opened up a whole

00:49:14.690 --> 00:49:42.640 Alphapointe: opens up a whole new world to them in terms of incredible. Yeah, it's pretty incredible to watch this, I I to see that, you know. And again you talk about a relationship because there's so much trust that has to be in that type of relationship right there. There, there really does, and it's um. I've never had a um a guide dog. I occasionally to people we have a labradoodle, and she um I I would not. She's sweet as can be lever to that. I would never trust her to guide anyone.

00:49:42.650 --> 00:49:53.020 Tommy DiMisa: I've been trying to do that. I love that. All right. Let's let's get in the Alpha point. Where, What do you? What's going on? What's up? Coming? Where? What? How can we help?

00:49:53.270 --> 00:50:19.879 Alphapointe: So number one? I would say, Um, anyone who you know who is struggling with vision, loss, right, and and most of us. This is an interesting, I think, distinction to me. Most of us know someone who has what we would say, are vision issues or or vision difficulties? Um, it. It could be an an older. It could be a parent. Um, who's got macular generation, or someone who's having a,

00:50:20.040 --> 00:50:38.500 Alphapointe: and and oftentimes I will tell you whether we realize it or not. The those individuals are going through, some, probably not to the extent, but but it could be going through some of the things that I mentioned earlier. Tommy. Uh, They're struggling. They can't read their prescription bottle. They can't read something else. They're having to ask their spouse, so they're having to do,

00:50:38.750 --> 00:50:45.500 Alphapointe: you know. And then there could be someone younger who um has, you know something happens, and they have a um.

00:50:45.640 --> 00:50:53.689 Alphapointe: They have an injury to their eye. We we've got an employee who um in our Kansas City facility, who was who was stabbed uh and lost vision in his own

00:50:53.720 --> 00:50:58.120 Alphapointe: um, both. And so, anyway. So what my first thing I would say is

00:50:58.190 --> 00:51:08.519 Alphapointe: anyone who you know who you think may be struggling with this, and doesn't know what to do, because oftentimes the doctors don't really get into that area, or they don't think about it.

00:51:08.600 --> 00:51:23.829 Alphapointe: They treat the what's in front of them right. They treat the medical condition, but they're not treating the whole person, so to speak, and so. Um, I would say, refer them to Alpha points. Send them, you know you yourself go to Alpha Point dot Org and um

00:51:24.030 --> 00:51:39.149 Alphapointe: you. You can can get the information there. It's probably the best way to do it, or certainly can can call our facility in Richmond Hill. Um. And you are into each other through queens here in city. However, this is the national, their services nationally right.

00:51:39.160 --> 00:51:51.629 Alphapointe: So so we are. Our headquarters is in Kansas City, Missouri, and and we? Um, we're right. We didn't spend a lot of time on this. But about eight years ago Alpha Point acquired what used to be known as New York City industries for the blind,

00:51:52.160 --> 00:52:09.390 Alphapointe: and it was because there was just some challenges there in the organization and and needed some bolstering. And so um alpha point was asked. Uh, it was, anyway, acquired New York City industries for the blind to make sure that people kept their jobs, and there would still be opportunities. Um! And then just um!

00:52:09.400 --> 00:52:24.600 Alphapointe: Not not long after that Um! We We moved from our former location in Borough Park, in Brooklyn to uh to Queens. So we have a a large facility on One Hundred and Twenty Third Street, off to make a avenue in in Richmond Hill. Um.

00:52:24.690 --> 00:52:43.140 Alphapointe: And everybody who wanted to keep their job and and work did um. It was kind of funny, actually. Some people had a shorter commute time uh in our Queensland, even though they lived in Brooklyn. It was. It's like less time for them to get to our Queens location than it did our Brooklyn. But yeah, so um, yeah. So. So there's a lot of um

00:52:43.430 --> 00:52:48.059 Alphapointe: uh connection that people can have with family members, friends

00:52:48.070 --> 00:53:17.290 Alphapointe: who who may be struggling. I I often have someone come up to me or call me. And they say, Hey, this buddy of mine has been having some trouble. What can he do right? Well, i'm not the expert on the the sort of the low vision piece, or that. So I will refer them to our our people who are the experts on that and get them, you know. Get in for an appointment, or they'll kind of start the process. And then what's done is an assessment is done like a low vision, assessment and low vision is sort of like You've got vision left. That's why we say we serve people who are visually impaired,

00:53:17.450 --> 00:53:30.929 Alphapointe: you know, or blind. I I Occasionally someone will say, Well, if you're blind, Aren't, you visually impairedable. Yes, right. Everyone who's blind is usually impaired, but not everyone is visually impaired is blind. That's the distinction. And so um! That's the first thing.

00:53:31.420 --> 00:53:39.820 Alphapointe: Be aware and alert about that, because you might catch someone, help them get the services they need before they're willing to even

00:53:39.940 --> 00:53:49.180 Alphapointe: admitted or deal with it right, and you may save them some heartache of um time where they could have been getting a solution that they didn't even know existed

00:53:49.190 --> 00:54:13.709 Alphapointe: beyond that. Uh, certainly anyone who's connected with uh New York City Government. We've got some great relationships there, and so there. I know There's some efforts being made right now through the Council to uh to look at employment workforce development for people with disabilities. Um again. You have a large number of people on the sidelines who are not working, and some of them are very qualified to help companies. So during a time when companies

00:54:14.050 --> 00:54:25.609 Alphapointe: can be struggling to find people to do certain jobs or whatever um there may be a a talent pool that they really Haven't thought about that they could tap into um. So that is a another

00:54:25.620 --> 00:54:44.080 Alphapointe: opportunity is just connecting with us. Um! In that regard. Uh, and from a council standpoint just supporting that, you know, asking your city council person when you're at us? An event, Your city council member, Hey, what are you working on? That? That might help people with disabilities to become more engaged in the community because Tommy, here's the thing

00:54:44.190 --> 00:54:45.740 Alphapointe: for me. Is

00:54:46.120 --> 00:54:59.790 Alphapointe: we start with the individual right? But then, but then helping that individual affect the family, and then the family gets strengthened, more families get strengthened, and now the community, the fabric of the community is strengthened,

00:54:59.800 --> 00:55:15.190 Alphapointe: and so in a, and not not to get a little too high in the sky. But what I would say is that by doing these things right helping each other in this regard. We actually sort of end up helping. You know ourselves, all of us, in certain ways. If you're less dependent on

00:55:15.200 --> 00:55:28.319 Alphapointe: Government as an example to help with certain services or certain things. You're more independent, then, right? It's not as much of a a a poll on on resources, and so we can all do

00:55:28.330 --> 00:55:46.819 Alphapointe: those sorts of things. We will have some events coming up. Um, I know. In the spring we're looking to have. It'll be a fundraising event in April, and i'll get more information to you about that. And then uh later. Next year we'll have more. We have not done due to Covid. We just haven't done a lot of the um we weren't really established with, you know, there's sort of larger events prior to

00:55:46.830 --> 00:55:48.559 Alphapointe: to Covid. And so we're

00:55:48.610 --> 00:56:02.039 Tommy DiMisa: We're figuring some of that out

00:56:02.050 --> 00:56:28.710 Tommy DiMisa: and um and and listen, I when I say, when I start this I feel myself sounding a bit negative. So i'm going to pull back here a little bit, because there are so many organizations that so many community people that are doing. Oh, yeah, I don't. I don't want to knock that. Not and I you sure. But I just think that the obvious thing is we're supposed to be part of a community with this is all for all, for one, for all, and that you know. And again, at a time when it's very

00:56:28.720 --> 00:56:34.759 Tommy DiMisa: scary and geopolitical sense of it on on this planet right now. Um, it it just goes.

00:56:34.770 --> 00:57:03.200 Alphapointe: Where is the bottom line of where we're supposed to be supporting each other and propping each other up, you know. Right? So you're so right. And look, I I i'm one of those people who talks to the Uber drivers a lot. Uber drivers are probably like. I wish this guy would stop talking to me. Um! But you know I get to, and I tell you what you just get to know about people and someone that you didn't know like literally someone I didn't know before I opened the door to their vehicle and and sat down right, and you can learn things just in a a short

00:57:03.240 --> 00:57:33.209 Alphapointe: ride in an uber right? So how much more can we learn if we really took a chance to to talk to people. But I I would say this: We send kids to camp. We have blind kids that are going to camp that are doing things like throwing axes right? We want these. We want these blind youth to have the experiences that cited kids are having, because once they realize they can do these things, and they don't have to be afraid, and their parents are a lot of times the ones that are holding them back, because the parents are afraid, you know, and for rightfully so they're they're worried about, you know. How is my child going to do

00:57:33.220 --> 00:57:35.969 Alphapointe: without me? So I would also say

00:57:35.990 --> 00:57:49.799 Alphapointe: um. It would be very helpful, even if it's not. You know a a a a big in-person fundraiser. You ask how people get help. I'll just tell you if they go to Alpha point dot org and alpha point with an e alpha-poim te dot org um.

00:57:49.810 --> 00:58:19.400 Alphapointe: You know we would love to have a donation in the name of someone you know who's visually impaired, or someone who, who, a family member who's passed away, or whoever it might be, because that donation of fifty dollars or one hundred dollars, whatever might be, helps send a kid to camp. It helps us buy a cane for someone who's never Hasn't been out of their house in three years, or whatever it might be. Um, that allows that individual to now feel differently about themselves and and the snowball can start to roll in a positive direction instead of the negative direction that it

00:58:19.410 --> 00:58:36.129 Tommy DiMisa: that it may have been for years prior. It's a beautiful thing you just said, I don't really have any more to add to it. We we are out of time. This is I've learned so much from hanging with you today, Scott. I know anybody listening has learned a lot alpha point dot org it's all over Facebook Alpha

00:58:36.140 --> 00:58:47.330 Tommy DiMisa: P. O. I. M T. E dot org Scott. I'm glad you, my buddy. Thanks for being here. Thanks for investing the time with me today. Everybody make it a great day. I'll talk to you.

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