Since 2016, PineCone has offered sighted guides during the annual bluegrass festival in Raleigh as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that our programs are as accessible and inclusive to as many people as possible.
The sighted guides program is back again this year as part of IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC, which returns to downtown Raleigh as an in-person festival on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1 & 2.
PineCone is also seeking volunteers interested in learning to serve as sighted guides at this fall’s bluegrass festival, IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC, and at various events throughout the year for people who are blind or low vision.
No prior experience is necessary; however, training is required for people interested in volunteering as sighted guides. Two training sessions are being offered by PineCone at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (you only need to attend one of the two sessions):
- Sunday, August 29, 3-4:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, September 7, 6:30-8 p.m.
Trainings are led by local orientation and mobility specialists Claire Hakin and William Tubilleja, with assistance from longtime PineCone members and advocates John and Sandy DeLuca, community members who themselves have low vision. John worked in law and administrative positions in state government. In his last two positions, he served as Director of the NC Division of Services for the Blind and then as an administrative law judge with the Industrial Commission. He retired from state government in 2010. John currently serves on the board of Arts Access, a nonprofit organization that advocates for accessible and inclusive arts programming. Sandy is a “mostly retired” former teacher for blind and visually impaired students in Gaston County, Wake County, and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. She also worked as a children’s consultant for Services for the Blind (serving 34 counties in western NC) and as an adjunct professor in a teacher training program at NC Central. She also does some occasional Braille proofreading.
If you’ve been trained before, this will serve as a refresher, as well as an update about some elements and information unique to this year’s festival.
Individuals who are blind or low vision may request a sighted guide or other accommodation by contacting Jamie Katz Court or Courtney Wheeler at 919-664-8333. Please submit your request by Friday, Sept. 17. We will do our best to honor requests made after this date, but strongly encourage you to request a guide early if you know you plan to attend the festival!
We hope you’ll help us spread the word about the availability of this program!