Lowell Association for the Blind (LAB) is a non-profit, community based organization dedicated to working with the blind and visually impaired. Established in 1923, the Association has been serving the Greater Lowell/ Merrimack Valley community for over 97 years. LAB is supported by contributions from memorial donations, grants from foundations, and program funding. The office in downtown Lowell provides 4,000 sq. feet of easily accessible space for meetings, adaptive equipment training, Braille lessons and a radio/recording studio.
Our Mission: To support, educate, and nurture the blind and visually impaired residents of the Greater Merrimack Valley by helping them enrich their lives and gain independence.
Its further mission is to stimulate the interest of the general public in the problems and issues facing the blind and visually impaired and to educate them to understand that the blind and visually impaired are productive members of society, seeking fulfillment of their human potential.
Submitted by Etta Phillips Macphie, (Chairman of Committee for the Blind of Middlesex Women’s Club, 1923-1926):
“The Committee for the Blind of Lowell, Mass.
The Women’s Club has about forty-five (45) women on its list. The Lions Club has attended to such problems as paying for the funeral expenses of a man, paid for fuel, and taken men to ride or seen that some person’s taxes were abated etc. The Women’s Club’s Committee, spent about $150.00, and the Lions Club about the same in 1925.
More money is wanted, more volunteers are needed, a wider interest and responsibility within the Community is essential. It is the idea of the people now working for the Blind in Lowell, that it is time to organize a Lowell Association for the Blind. Most cities have such an organization. It would then be possible to have a city wide representative Board, under a constitution with departmental committees to take proper care of the work and make it of no burden to any one person. It might be wise to have Patrons and Patronesses or a membership list. The two clubs now fostering the work could continue their duties, (Women’s Club to visit and the Lions Club to take charge of radios and some welfare work), and besides, other clubs could serve. The work necessitates the following Committees,- Motor Corps, Entertainment, (tickets to lectures, Reading Circle, Outings). Industrial and Employment (cooperate with state Home Teacher and supply Braille magazines) Christmas Cheer, Children’s Committee.
It would be a great help to have a partially blind person (who has been trained) to be the Secretary, and have that person responsible for records and correspondence, and to be available so as to cooperate with other agencies, and keep a contact between the City, the State, the blind people and the Association. Then too, Middlesex County has no home where blind people can be taken care of. The Association should bear this in mind and try to interest influential people in such a cause. If some Club would finance the whole work, or even part of it, under the new plan for the first year, then a budget could be estimated and the Association could apply for admission to the Community Chest the following year.
At the present time, there is not a cent to carry on the work until next fall, so everything is at a standstill. If any Club would promise an amount, or advance it, a loan could be secured to tide over intervening time. Any further information can be secured from the Committee of the Middlesex Women’s Club, or from the Lions Club, or from the Lions Club, or from the State Division of the Blind in Boston. Estimated budget Estimated Budget for work now done: Shopping for the Blind $10.00 Christmas Cheer 50.00 Radios and Maintenance 100.00 Transportation (Taxi) 5.00 Welfare 100.00 $265.00 Additional: Paid Secretary $650.00 Desk room in some office down town 60.00 Welfare 100.00 Entertainment, (radios and tickets) 100.00 $910.00 Total $1175.00.”