The EIES Have It. (Serving the visually impaired since 1974!)

The EIES (Electronic Information & Education Service of New Jersey, pronounced “eyes”) organization has been serving the visually impaired community of New Jersey since 1974. Last year, Frank Scafidi, the executive director of EIES, invited me to join their board of directors. Over the last two years, Frank has shared with me the great services that EIES provides to the visually impaired community.

EIES provides a reader service to our community.  Our listeners are able to catch on the news from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NJ Star Ledger, Readers Digest and many other publications

My decision to join the board of EIES was due to their mission.

EIES’s mission is:

“To provide in an efficient manner, immediate, direct and convenient access to the printed word, to those individuals whose ability to read is severely impaired by a visual disability. Access is provided by utilizing state of the art electronic technology, including, but not limited to radio, cable TV/FM systems, and telephones and computerized telecommunications.”

EIES was founded by the late John F. Mulvihill, Jr. Despite being blind since age 15, John earned degrees at Seton Hall and Boston University and worked in public relations for several years. He recognized that blind persons have a need for more detail on the day’s events than is possible from simply listening to radio and television news broadcasts. In 1974 he arranged with Seton Hall’s radio station to use their facilities to broadcast a two-hour show Sunday afternoons. From there he added a studio with a signal generator in a building adjoining the South Orange Library. Over the years he raised funds from the federal government, corporations and private donors.

In 1980 he expanded to a full-time operation providing 14 hours of programming daily from its own studios in South Orange, New Jersey. In 1987 he signed an agreement with a cable television company that allows blind listeners to pick up the broadcast via a cable hookup.

The service is currently delivered through two methods.  The first method is the Radioreader.  The Radioreader is essentially a radio station for the blind. Listeners can hear EIES by tuning into a special radio receiver. Access can also be obtained through FM Cable provided through cable TV systems in Northern New Jersey.  Secondly, a live radio broadcast is available over the Internet.  This service is provided at no charge.

EIES is a nonprofit organization that depends on the work of volunteers.  To see pictures of our volunteers in the EIES studio click on STUDIO.  EIES has been very fortunate over the years with the number of people who have tirelessly volunteered to serve the visually impaired community.  Recently, EIES suffered a huge loss when chairman, Jim Lazarus, passed away this past February at the age of 75.  Jim joined the EIES board in 2000 and has been chairman for the last ten years. He spearheaded our annual fundraising gala during that time. His mother, Eda Lazarus, was a supporter and volunteer with EIES for many years until she died a few years ago. Jim was a driving force that kept EIES going and was a great advocate for the organization. He was a tireless and enthusiastic supporter of EIES and a friend to all of us. We will miss him dearly.

Jim, at the mike in the EIES studio.
Jim, at the mike in the EIES studio.

The World Health Organization provides the following facts about visual impairment and blindness:

  • 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision.
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries.
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment; cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle and low-income countries.
  • The number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has greatly reduced in the last 20 years.
  • 80% of all visual impairment can be avoided or cured.

There are 84.5 million visually impaired people in the United States (59 million adults and 26 million children)  The statistics for the visually impaired community are improving but it is still a major problem in developing countries.  The EIES organization is doing its part and can use your support.  EIES is totally funded by donations and grants.

Our major fundraiser this year will be a benefit concert by the band The Rave-Ons for EIES on Friday, May 31st at 7:30pm at Jubilee Hall at Seton Hall University.  The Rave-Ons are a high-energy rockabilly band formed to revitalize the music of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Buddy Holly is considered by many to be the Father of Rock and Roll. His music has inspired The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and countless other artists.  You can hear a sample of their music at Rave-Ons.

Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased via PayPal by clicking the following link, or in person at EIES.

One of my key strategic goals is to raise the public’s awareness about the services that EIES provides to the visually impaired community.  Most of us know someone who has a relative or friend who is visually impaired and we want him or her to know about the EIES reader service.  I hope that you will forward this blog to your community to spread the word about EIES.  Also, take some to check out the services and provide us your feedback.

EIES is located in South Orange, New Jersey and is always in need of volunteers.  Stop by and ask for Sherri De Rose or email or call her at / 973-762-0552.  Donations to EIES can be made clicking on this link to our PayPal page.

With your support EIES will be able to continue to serve the visually impaired community of the world.


59 Scotland Road

P. O. Box 411

South Orange, NJ  07079

Bus: 973-762-0552

Fax 973-761-6879

Frank Scafidi – Executive Director

Sherri De Rose – Volunteer Coordinator


Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: