(Aug. 21, 2013) -- The connection of UTSA and the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind (SALB) began with a conversation several years ago between two friends whose children went to the same school. Something that started small has become a collaboration with a great impact on the community.
Several years ago, a meeting between Olivia Lopez, program coordinator for the UTSA Mexico Center and the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), and Chris Crane, national sales manager for the SALB, led to a significant business relationship. UTSA is now one of the top three commercial accounts with the SALB, purchasing office supplies, equipment and furniture.
The San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in Texas. For 80 years, the group has helped people who are blind or visually impaired live high-quality, independent lives by providing rehabilitation services, technology training and employment in its light manufacturing assembly plant.
"I've known Chris Crane for a long time because our kids went to grade school together," said Lopez. "We got together for a meeting, and I realized what a great impact their work was having. She saw the potential for collaboration between the university and the Lighthouse, so Dr. Harriett Romo, the director of CAPRI and the Mexico Center, and I helped set up the Lighthouse as a UTSA vendor. They supplied office materials to us and then other departments started buying from them, and it grew. I've always liked UTSA's commitment to helping others."
"We call our major commercial customers Visionary Partners, so UTSA has that distinction within our agency and when we refer to the school in public," said Crane. "With more than 50,000 blind people in San Antonio, partnering with UTSA has made a significant impact in the lives of many of our neighbors. Since there is a 70-percent unemployment rate among the blind, UTSA purchases help to create jobs for people who are blind and support for these individuals and their families."
The SALB recently was awarded the paper contracts for the John Peace Library and College of Business copy centers at UTSA, along with providing everything from paper clips to printers from a selection of more than 41,000 items for offices across the three UTSA campuses.
About the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind
Serving more than 6,000 clients each year, the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind is a San Antonio icon for training and educating the blind and severely visually impaired and is a leader in manufacturing for military and government agencies.
Founded in 1933, the Lighthouse began as a small sewing plant on the San Antonio South Side and has grown into an agency that provides employment for more than 450 employees in a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing and rehabilitation facility. More than half of its employees are blind or visually impaired.
The SALB manufacturing operation supports our nation's military efforts by manufacturing office supplies, military helmet chin straps and textile apparel, spill kits and absorbent products, aerospace insulation blankets and airplane floorboards.
SALB operates 14 base service centers on 11 military installations in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico as part of the AbilityOne program, which helps blind and disabled employees nationwide find jobs. AbilityOne partners with nonprofits to provide products made by the blind and disabled to the federal government at fair market prices.
SALB also hosts community events such as Art in the Dark and the SALB Walk Run. To volunteer, visit the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind website.
Experts from throughout Texas and the United States will gather to explore conservation issues pertaining to San Antonio's iconic Spanish colonial missions. The special presentation is a San Antonio 300 Tricentennial event.
Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
Campers in 9th grade through college will receive instruction and coaching on agility testing and position specific drills to refine and improve his skillset as a football player.
Recreational Field Complex, Main Campus
Inspired by UTSA's renowned Mexican Cookbook Collection, the evening features cuisine and spirits of celebrated chefs from San Antonio and Mexico.
Hotel Emma, 136 E. Grayson St., San Antonio
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.
Various locations, Main Campus
Campers 6-12 years old will enjoy the summer learning to read, write and speak the Chinese language. They also will learn about the Chinese culture such as martial arts, painting and drawing, arts and crafts and more.
Confucius Institute at UTSA (MB 1.208), Main Campus
Campers 7th grade and up will focus on individual development with emphasis on simplifying and teaching the specific skills and movements associated with the game. Serving, passing, setting, attacking and individual defense will all be covered. In addition, team concepts will be emphasized.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Celebrate Texas' diversity with authentic ethnic cuisine, music, dance, arts and crafts from the many countries that make up the rich heritage of Texas.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
The 3 day, annual Department of Defense-sponsored conference brings together military and civilian practitioners from across government, industry, and academia to address the nexus of cyberspace and national security.
Business Building Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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