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Maine VolunteerFare

Feature Program

Published January 19, 2006


The Iris Network: Maine Audio Information and Reading Service

The mission of The Iris Network is to empower persons who are blind or visually impaired to attain their self-determined level of independence and integration into the community; to provide rehabilitation, training, education and other related services for individuals, their families, and other support systems; and to be a resource regarding issues related to blindness and visual impairment within the state of Maine.

Description:

The Iris Network, formerly the Maine Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, has headquarters in Portland and outreach offices around the state. In addition to Maine AIRS, the agency has a rehabilitation center, computer access program and community services department with eight outreach offices in Maine.

Maine AIRS broadcasts local news and features from the state's daily and weekly newspapers and other publications from studios in Brewer and Portland, Maine. Volunteer readers prepare and read material that is broadcast via the second audio program channels (SAP) of MPBN. Programs reach listeners via SAP receivers, the SAP channels on stereo TV sets and on the agency's website (www.theiris.org).

Maine AIRS program is also carried on Mattawamkeag's community access channel MCAT26, Houlton's Polaris Cable System, Brunswick's TV7 and Belfast Area High School's BAHS TV5.

Volunteer readers read live or produce recorded programs for later broadcast. Maine AIRS also has reading opportunities at The Iris Network's Portland studio. For more information, call 1-800-715-0097.

Here is your chance to raise your voice for persons who are blind or visually impaired.

History:

The Iris Network started the Maine Center for the Blind in 1905 in Portland. It operated a residence for blind individuals and had an industries program that produced such items as brooms and other products that were sold to support the program.

Through the years the agency added programs that began to address issues such as orientation and mobility, basic skills to ensure safety in the home and on the street and now includes the computer access program that trains visually impaired and blind individuals how to use computers with adaptive equipment.

Maine AIRS signed on in April 2000 and was the first radio reading service in the state.

Contact people:

Les Myers, Director, 207-989-0058

Christopher Williams, Program Assistant, 207-989-0058

Anisio Correia, VP, Program Services, 1-800-715-0097

Office fax number: (207) 989-3712

Address:

12 Acme Road, Suite 104

Brewer, ME 04412

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