Considering that the Total Solar Eclipse of April 8, 2024 will be, for most people, a once-in-a-lifetime event, the Board of Directors of The Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL) Family of Agencies has voted to give the staff of most of their offices in Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Niagara Falls, Lockport, Batavia and Albion a paid day off for the occasion. The total eclipse will happen in our area between 3:18 and 3:22 PM. But don’t forget, looking directly at the sun, even in an eclipse, can cause permanent damage to your eyes! Make sure to get a pair of the special eclipse sunglasses that community organizations and others will be passing out.

An exception to this is The Renewal Center, which provides peer support to people experiencing a mental health crisis. It is open to individuals 18 and older every day from 12 pm to 12 am. The Renewal Center is located at the Kristin A. Vincent Respite and Recovery Center, 111 Maple St., Buffalo, NY 14204.


But what if your vision is impaired?

For people who are blind or have a visual impairment, the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service (NFRRS), an affiliate of WNY Independent Living which serves individuals who cannot read printed material, is working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide an alternative avenue to appreciate the eclipse. Radio Reading has secured ten oversize braille books from NASA. “The books allow people to feel what an eclipse will look like with their fingers and use them to trace the path of totality across a map of the United States.” noted Michael Benzin, Executive Director of the service.

Radio Reading is encouraging its Listeners and others who have smartphones and tablets to get in on the event and download the free Eclipse Soundscape app. The app provides a multi-sensory experience where users will find a countdown, real time narration of the event with illustrative audio descriptions and even a “rumble strip” that allows users to hear and feel the eclipse on their device as the eclipse progresses through each stage. Plus, NFRRS will have a special program, featuring local and national experts, for two hours that afternoon.

For more information, please visit the agency’s website at

The Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.