People are sharing their heartwarming experiences with an app that lets you ‘see’ for blind people
via Be My Eyes

Smartphones and voice-activated technology have been a huge blessing for the visually-impaired.

They make it much easier for visually-impaired people to access information while making day-to-day activities a lot more convenient.

Before smartphones, they would have to carry multiple items such as GPS devices, voice-activated note takers, and bar scanners.

Now, a new app called Be My Eyes is making life a lot easier for visually-impaired people by connecting them to people with sight via Facetime. It also gives sighted volunteers the opportunity to give back.

Be My Eyes was created by Hans Jorgen Wiberg, a visually-impaired man, in 2015. Visually-impaired people would often use Facetime to ask friends and family members for help.


So Wilberg created Be My Eyes so they wouldn't have to be as reliant on personal relationships.

Visually-impaired people use the app for countless purposes, including finding lost things in their homes, reading labels, counting money, and matching their clothes.

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In four years, the community has grown to over 140,000 low-vision or blind users and over 2.5 million volunteers. There are so many people who've signed up to help that sometimes it takes weeks for them to receive their first call.

"When we launched, we didn't know if people would be willing to volunteer time to help complete strangers," Alexander Hauerslev Jensen, the CCO of Be My Eyes, told The Guardian. "But within the first 24 hours, we had more than 10,000 volunteers."

"The fact that we have so many volunteers enables us to have a really fast response time. I see it as a good problem," he continued. "It takes a few minutes to make a big impact on someone else's life. This is a combination of technology and human generosity."

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People who've signed up for the app as volunteers have been raving about their experiences on Twitter. Here are just a few of the recent experiences they've had as Be My Eyes volunteers.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."