We do not have a permanent facility, but we use donated or rented space for all of our activities including:
Overbrook School for the Blind gymnasium Philadelphia Dept. of Recreation - Hayes Playground
Variety Club Camp and other facilities within the Delaware Valley
BSO’s volunteers are the backbone of the organization. They include sorority members, parents, friends of blind athletes, sports enthusiasts, adapted PE students, administrators, and anyone who wishes to help. There are many tasks that appeal to a variety of talents. We are always looking for board members, coaches/program leaders, helpers, officials, drivers, fundraisers, grant writers. No experience is necessary as we will train you.
All of the following are essential to BSO’s ability to offer fitness, recreation, and self-esteem building programs:
Overbrook School for the Blind
Parents & friends of Blind Sports
Lions & Lionesses Clubs
Delta Gamma Sorority
Since the organization’s founding in 1974, BSO has been run by volunteers, several of whom have dedicated more than 40 hours per week, and many who have been involved for years.
Blind Sports Organization Board of Directors
Matthew Shields, President
Mark Gervasi, Secretary
Jeffrey Rhines, Treasurer
John Margist, Athlete Representative
Heidi White, Past President
BSO – Philly Chapter Leaders
Steve Greenberg – Walk-Run Club
Jeff Rhines- Beep Baseball
Ernie Tyler - Men's Goalball
Kassandra Hernandez and Rosemary Martin - Women's Goalball
Vacant - Judo
Justin Rhines– Youth Activities
BSO – Delaware Chapter Board (DABA)
BSO’s athletes are the reason for the existence of the organization. They range in age from 7 to over 70. Our athletes range from those who are totally blind to those who have a visual acuity of 20/70, or they have a visual field of 20º or less. Some participate for recreation and socialization, others aim for world-class competition.
In 1974, the organization was started by Dr. Mae Davidow, a blind teacher, who believed that blind and visually impaired public school students and adults needed opportunities to benefit from fitness and self-esteem building physical and social activities.
She was an educator and an ardent advocate for the blind. She set her goals high and worked tirelessly to achieve them.
Dr. Davidow treated her own loss of sight as an inconvenience. She had been left nearly blind at age 10 as a result of spinal meningitis and mastoid surgery. Later she became totally blind. Dr. Davidow maintained that blindness need not be a handicap for people with the courage and desire to succeed.
A teacher at Overbrook for 36 years, Dr. Davidow led classes in civics, math, and occupational training. She was a pioneer in the use of the electronic abacus, and she collaborated on the development of the "talking calculator." While pursuing research work, Dr. Davidow became the first blind person to earn master's and doctoral degrees at Temple University. She wrote several books including: “A Guide for Social Competency” and “Abacus Made Easy”.
Dr. Davidow also spent a lot of time organizing groups to work on behalf of the blind. She said she aspired to get ''the sighted to accept the blind socially, professionally and economically." With that in mind, Dr. Davidow started the Pennsylvania Association of Blind Athletes. She also founded the Pennsylvania Council for the Blind, and served as its president. She was first woman to serve as president of the Pennsylvania Federation for the Blind. And she sat on Gov. Dick Thornburgh's Committee for the Handicapped.
She herself was a lifelong blind athlete. At age 75, she won gold medals for swimming and diving in a national competition sponsored by the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes in Long Beach, CA.
Over the years, Dr. Davidow often said her philosophy for success in life consisted of four words. And she wrote:
The first is Give - Give of yourself
The second is Help - Help others
The third is Love - Love those about you
The fourth is Work - Work with love, and love your work
On her death bed, she asked Sandy White, the BSO Sports Administrator, to ensure that PABA would continue. Sadly, she passed away in June 1989 at age 77.