Gibson Neaves is an independent, 86-year-old senior who lives on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mr. Neaves has experienced significant hearing and vision loss for the past 25 years, which left him feeling isolated. With no family nearby, Mr. Neaves felt alone with little way to communicate with his family, friends and the world around him.
While listening to the radio one afternoon. Mr. Neaves heard an ad for iCanConnect, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution program. iCanConnect is a national program with local contacts that provides free distance communication equipment and training to qualified individuals who have significant hearing and vision loss and who meet income eligibility requirements.
Mr. Neaves called the number in the ad and reached Sharon Williams, the iCanConnect representative for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Sharon helped him through the application process. Once Mr. Neaves was accepted into the program, he met with Sharon to talk about his distance communication needs and goals. Within a few weeks, he received an iPhone and Sharon trained him how to use it. He visits with her occasionally and she helps him with updates and new features.
“My iPhone has been invaluable,” says Mr. Neaves. “I have family all over the world, from Trinidad to Puerto Rico to Canada. I’m in the middle and they are all around me. To connect with my family, I mostly use WhatsApp, although I do FaceTime with a few of them as well. I’ve been legally blind for more than 25 years. In the past, it was difficult for me to make phone calls. I couldn’t see the numbers. By the time it took me to dial the phone number, it would disconnect. With my iPhone, I use Siri a lot. I can say the name of the person I want to call and the phone does all the work. I can do so many things. I don’t feel so isolated anymore because it keeps me connected to the world. iCanConnect has been a godsend.”
“I encourage anyone who has significant hearing and vision loss to check out iCanConnect,” continues Mr. Neaves. “I want anyone who is frustrated and living alone with hearing and vision loss to be aware of iCanConnect. It’s a life-changing program and helped me to go from being isolated and frustrated to connected to my family, friends and the world. I am a different man thanks to iCanConnect. It’s a very helpful program and brings joy to the hearts of many people who were suffering without being able to connect with relatives and friends. You really can get connected with iCanConnect.”