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Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Unite


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4,Ma March 4, 2014, Washington, DC – Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB) and the National Cherry Blossom Festival are pleased to announce their new partnership to expand its reach and services to people who are blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind. 

This partnership began with CLB and the National Cherry Blossom Festival working together to enhance the accessibility of the Festival’s website, nationalcherryblossomfestival.org, for persons using screen readers and screen magnification computer software. The website contains detailed information about the upcoming 25-day Festival, March 20 through April 13, as well as year-round events and programs.

Diana Mayhew, President of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, said, “Through this partnership, we are taking steps to make the Festival more accessible. We hope that by expanding services, the visually impaired community will join us in celebration of spring.”  

CLB will exhibit its outreach material at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival on Saturday, April 5. Additionally, tourists to the Festival events, as well as persons with disabilities such as blindness or visual impairments, will have access to a revolutionary technology all while traveling via the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.  ClickAndGo is a customized narrative mapping and orientation technology that gives highly detailed walking directions to pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired. Currently, Metro customers who are blind or visually impaired are not able to access detailed information regarding the physical layout of a Metrorail station or a Metrobus transit center.  Visitors to the festival, who are blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind, can contact CLB’s offices to request a volunteer to accompany them if they do not already have an ongoing volunteer reader and visitor.

Tony Cancelosi, President and CEO, of CLB, said, “We are honored to partner with the National Cherry Blossom Festival for the purpose of extending the mutual reach to people with disabilities.  This Festival offers so many enjoyable and culturally valuable events for everyone to participate.”

To coordinate an interview or photo-op, please contact Jocelyn Hunter at jhunter@clb.org or (202) 454-6422.  Jocelyn will be in attendance at the March 4th press conference.

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About Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB)

CLB serves people of all ages who are blind, low vision, or deaf-blind living in the Washington, D.C., region, by providing vision-health screenings, independent living skills training, support groups, retraining, and job counseling and placement.  Among the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, 17% of them have visual impairments.  CLB partners with government and private agencies to retrain and employ these wounded warriors.  Independence is our vision.  For more information, please visit our website at www.clb.org.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the nation’s greatest springtime celebration.  The 2014 Festival, March 20 – April 13, includes three spectacular weeks and four weekends of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.  The 2014 Festival commemorates the 102nd anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.