Blind Fitness, a Santa Barbara nonprofit will guide a group of blind and vision-impaired walkers and joggers from the pier toward East Beach on Saturday, Oct. 15, White Cane Awareness Day.
The community event will also offer a guided blind-fold experience for sighted peers to walk with a white cane and a human guide to gain a greater awareness of the blind community.
The national White Cane Awareness Day was started in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to raise consciousness about the safety issues blind Americans face every day.
Blind Fitness was started in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown by orientation and mobility specialist Brianna Pettit of Santa Barbara With the help of volunteer guides, Pettit is positively impacting the lives of a population often prone to depression and obesity.
“At Blind Fitness, we believe that freedom of movement is a basic human right,” Pettit said. “Because we believe that every day we are spreading awareness of the blind and vision impaired community, building a platform for our athletes to access and excel in sports and recreation, and dismounting obstacles and barriers that stand in our athletes way of achieving their individual goals in fitness and sports.”
Blind Fitness is also creating a community by recruiting sighted guides including marathon swimmers, elite cyclists, yoga instructors, and surfers dedicated to helping the visually impaired experience the outdoors and adventure.
To learn more about Blind Fitness and get involved, email Pettit, executive director at Brianna@blindfitness.org.