Get out those candles!: Helen Keller Services for the Blind celebrates 125 years in Downtown

Get out those candles!: Helen Keller Services for the Blind celebrates 125 years in Downtown


Happy felicitations are sent to the Helen Keller Services for the Blind. The venerable organization kicked off its 125th anniversary year with a breakfast at Borough Hall hosted by Borough President Adams, who said, “I am pleased to host this event of a beloved Brooklyn institution that will remain in Downtown Brooklyn and continue to grow and inspire.”

Joseph Bruno, president and chief executive officer of Helen Keller Services, accepted a citation from Jennifer Viechweg-Horsford, community liaison to Sen. Roxanne Persaud, (D–Canarsie), as well as laid down plans for a move to new space this summer. Bruno unveiled the 125th anniversary logo that incorporates the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and said, “I can’t imagine a more fitting place to kick off our 125th anniversary celebration than Brooklyn Borough Hall.” He added, “Helen Keller Services began in Brooklyn in 1893 as The Industrial Home for the Blind. In the ensuing 125 years, we took on a new name, opened new offices here and on Long Island, and expanded our scope of services, touching the lives of countless blind and visually impaired men, women, and children.”

The Beep congratulated the organization and said, “125 years of community service is a monumental achievement. I thank them deeply for helping to make Brooklyn a safer place for everyone to raise healthy children and families.”

A highlight of the kickoff breakfast was the unveiling of an architect’s renderings of the new digs that will occupy 180 Livingston St. and will house the new headquarters for Helen Keller Services. Plans include a private lobby outfitted with a marketing wall, which will display programs, events and stories; new classrooms; a gym for pre-K and early intervention students; training rooms; breakout, community, and education space; new offices and workstations; adaptive technology training program space; a doctor-staffed Low Vision Center; a new boardroom; private conference rooms for interviews and agency work; and displays telling the story of the institution’s past and its vision for the future. The new space will be fully accessible and will contain wayfinding attributes that will welcome consumers who are learning to easily navigate its 35,000 square-foot presence.

The organization will celebrate with a gala event on Sept. 13 at Liberty Warehouse in Red Hook.

Helen Keller National Center is the only comprehensive national program that provides vocational and independent living skills training exclusively to youths and adults with combined vision and hearing loss.

Helen Keller Services [57 Willoughby St. in Downtown, (718) 522–2122].

Sheepshead Bay

Top of the charts

Standing O is sending out a very special O to former Bay son Peter Frank Santovito. He let the O know that his tune “Beat of My Heart” (Santovito-Price-Rudy Perez, executive producer) hit the top 50 Adult Contemporary Airplay Chart on Jan. 20.

Pete recently trekked up north on Jan. 13 to rock on out at the annual reunion concert of the Bay Rockers held at the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club, which celebrated the group’s Silver Anniversary.

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