Urban Miyares, president of the San Diego-based Disabled Businesspersons Association, has been named outreach specialist for a new Blinded Veterans Initiative at The Hadley School for the Blind. Miyares is a blinded and multi-disabled veteran who brings more than 40 years experience as an entrepreneur to his new role.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are an estimated 158,300 legally blind veterans and 700,000 veterans with low vision. In addition, approximately 7,000 veterans become newly blind or visually impaired each year from non-combat related causes. Compounding the problem is that approximately 70 percent of working age Americans who are blind or visually impaired are unemployed or underemployed.
In response, Hadley’s Blinded Veterans Initiative will educate and inspire blind or visually impaired veterans to pursue their personal and professional goals and help support their families. Veterans coming to Hadley as a result of this new initiative will be able to enroll in any of the school’s 100+ distance education courses. Core subject matters emphasized through this new initiative include business and entrepreneurship, technology, independent living skills, adjustment to blindness and braille literacy. The program is tuition-free for all visually impaired veterans and their family members, thanks to the support ofGoldman Sachs Gives, a donor-advised fund.
In his role as outreach specialist, Miyares will travel around the country networking with his business and veterans colleagues to encourage enrollment at Hadley. “There are many courses and programs about how to get into business, but there was no curriculum on how someone who is blind or visually impaired can make those programs work. The Blinded Veterans Initiative will address those issues that are specific to people who are visually impaired,” says Miyares.
Among his many professional activities, Urban is co-founder and director of “Challenged America,” a pioneer and leader in the field of adaptive sailing as a therapeutic, rehabilitation activity; director of the “National Disabled Veterans Business Center” and “Special Kids In Business” — an innovative San Diego after-school entrepreneur and mentor program for school-aged children with disabilities. He is also founder and principal in a number of business ventures and other community programs. Miyares is the host of Biz @ 9, a monthly webinar on non-traditional self-employment.
For more information about The Hadley School for the Blind or the Blinded Veterans Initiative, please visit www.hadley.edu.