"The Society is an integral and important asset for our community that helps thousands of children, adults and senior citizens overcome vision challenges and discover new ways of living, working, and enriching their lives"
St. Louis Cardinals President William O. DeWitt III Serving as Honorary Chair of St. Louis Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired 100th Anniversary Celebrations in 2011.
William O. DeWitt, III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals, has volunteered to serve as Honorary Chairman of the St. Louis Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired 100th Anniversary Celebrations in 2011, a year-long commitment to publicly support the Society's not-for-profit service mission.
"I am proud to support the St. Louis Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired as Honorary Chairman of its centennial celebrations because of the Cardinals' relationship with the Society dating back nearly a century," DeWitt said.
"The Society is an integral and important asset for our community that helps thousands of children, adults and senior citizens overcome vision challenges and discover new ways of living, working, and enriching their lives," DeWitt said. "I sincerely look forward to helping the Society celebrate its centennial year and gala public activities as Honorary Chair," he said.
Sheila Sweeney, Vice Chair of the Society Board of Directors and Chair of 100th Anniversary Year Celebrations, said, "We are thrilled that Mr. DeWitt will serve as Honorary Chair of the Society's 2011 centennial year festivities, and very grateful for his time and efforts. Year 2011 is historic for the Society for many reasons - Mr. DeWitt's involvement makes it even more special."
Society President David Ekin, ACSW, LCSW, said, "The Society is proud of our heritage of providing programs and services for blind and visually impaired people and their families in metro St. Louis since 1911, and very grateful that Mr. DeWitt supports our service mission."
The Cardinals' and DeWitt family connections with the Society began when Society Founder James C. Jones purchased the Cardinals from Betty Britton, who was the first woman owner of a professional baseball team. As Cardinals Chairman, Mr. Jones brought baseball promoter Branch Rickey to the Cardinals as team President and Manager. Mr. Jones, in 1916, also decided to promote a "bright youngster" who was selling soda pop at Cardinals games to work in the front office. That young man was Bill DeWitt. Young Mr. DeWitt quickly rose through the ranks of the Cardinals business organization and stayed a top executive with the team until 1942, and he remained active in professional baseball until 1981, including as General Manager and owner of the old St. Louis Browns.
William DeWitt, Jr., later followed in his father's footsteps in the professional baseball world and, in 1995, became the Cardinals' Chairman and General Partner. His son, William O. DeWitt, III, became President of the Cardinals organization in 2008. The Cardinals team is one of the most popular in baseball and has won ten World Series Championships, second only to the New York Yankees.
In 2011, the Society will celebrate its centennial by hosting special events for people of all ages and walks of life. A few are:
"In Touch With Knowledge: The Educational History of Blind People & History of Braille Writers," a free, hands-on exhibit January 28-March 12, 2011 at Crestwood Court. "In Touch With Knowledge" is presented by the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind made possible by a gift from Eugene Callahan in memory of his wife, Marie.
"Celebrate a Century: EnVISION the Future," a VIP reception and dinner to celebrate the Society's history and achievements by individuals is April 9, 2011, at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. The internationally-recognized Leslie Dana Gold Medal Award and other recognitions will honor outstanding achievements in blindness prevention and to the visually impaired community.
"Children & Family Festival in the Park" on September 17, 2011. This fun event for sighted and visually impaired people of all ages will adapt sports and games, including baseball and other activities, for children and youth who are blind or visually impaired. The day-long festival at Shaw Park in Clayton also will feature music, entertainment and food.
The Society enhances independence, empowers individuals and enriches the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired and their families. Its committed staff provides specialized Vision Rehabilitation, Orientation & Mobility, Adaptive Education, Assistive Technology, Children's Services and Support Services. It provides older adults who are newly visually impaired or blind due to age-related eye conditions with home-based services, specialized agency services and community activities. It also renders services to school-age students in Illinois and Missouri. It is the only agency of its kind serving greater St. Louis, and the second oldest of its kind west of the Mississippi River.
For more information about Society activities and sponsorship opportunities, please see the Society website at slsbvi.org/ or call David Ekin at 314.968.9000
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