Radio Eye: How One Nonprofit Changes Lives Through Radio Broadcasting

Reading is a fundamental part of our society. We read books. We read newspapers. We read advertisements. We read social media. We read everything.

 

However, this is a skill many of us take for granted. Reading requires the sense of sight, a sense many may not have. Without reading, those  who are visually impaired or blind may find it hard to stay up to date on the world around them. Fortunately, Radio Eye aims to solve this problem.

 

According to their website, “Radio Eye broadcasts the reading of current news, public service and general interest programming to listeners and others who are blind and print-disabled, with the vision of producing quality programming designed to help our listening audience lead enriched, productive, and independent lives.” As a volunteer for the organization, I have seen this mission statement carried out by every employee, volunteer or listener.

 

I have had the pleasure of working closely with two of the employees who implement this mission everyday. Lucy Stone, Program Director at Radio Eye,explained the impact of this mission statement on her employment, “I actually had deferred from Law School and was just looking for something temporary to save money for the next year. But after just a few weeks, I fell in love with the mission and the job and I've been here for 5 years! “ Chelsey Keesy, Radio Eye’s Development Director, says the appeal of the organization comes from the idea of helping others, “After graduating college I knew I wanted a job that involved helping others. I interviewed with Radio Eye and knew it was where I was meant to be after hearing the mission.”

 

How exactly does Radio Eye carry out such a large scale operation? Volunteers known as readers record material such as local newspapers or short stories to be aired. Other readers may air live with daily readings of the Lexington Herald-Leader or other popular newspapers. This material is then broadcasted on a 24/7 station. Radio Eye currently services central and western part of the state while having a growing presence in eastern Kentucky with an eventual goal of being a statewide service.

 

However, to run a successful operation of this size costs a pretty penny. Since the organization is a nonprofit, they run primarily on fundraising. Their annual casino night and silent auction known as “A Signal Affair” is coming up on November 2nd. For more information visit ASignalAffair.org. Also, their biggest online fundraiser of the year, the GoodGiving Challenge, is coming up on November. 27- December 3rd. Last year they made $17,000! More details are coming soon so stay tuned at the Radio Eye Facebook page or the @radioeyelexington Instagram page.

 

What is fundraisers aren’t for you, but you still want to get involved? They are still looking for BlackJack dealers for the Casino Night. As for other involvement, Keesy said, “Volunteer with us! Follow us on social media! One of our biggest problems is some people have never heard of us. Tell your friends, family, eye doctors, etc. about us! We need to reach people who would benefit from our service.”

 

Volunteer readers and volunteers to deliver radios are always needed, as well as, volunteers for control board and office assistance. Stone even goes so far as to say, “Our volunteers are the backbone of the organization and without them, this wouldn't be possible.”

 

For more information on Radio Eye itself, visit http://libguides.uky.edu/c.php?g=223151&p=1477437. If you are interested in learning more on how to get involved in this life-changing organization, you can reach out at 859-422-6390 or email [email protected].