Shortly after Center for Vision Loss Executive Director Douglas Yingling joined a blues and rock guitar duo called Yingling Porter On Tap, the band agreed to open the agency’s first Songs4Sight concert event.
The fact that Center for Vision Loss employees came together to sponsor the duo’s set reflects the affection that they hold for Yingling, who retires today after nine years as their leader.
During Yingling’s tenure, the agency empowered more than 1,000 people with vision loss to seize their personal independence; held nearly 500 life skills classes for its registered clients; provided free vision screenings to more than 55,000 children; and gave more than 18,000 rides to clients so that they can access medical care, food supplies, and other important services that influenced their quality of life.
Yingling came to the Center for Vision Loss in 2010 to be its Director of Agency Services after he had served as Executive Director of the Montgomery County Association for the Blind for 21 years. He was promoted the following year to succeed Executive Director Stephanie Olexa. Yingling helped guide the organization after the 2010 consolidation of the former Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI), which served Lehigh County, and Visual Impairment and Blindness Services (VIABL), which served Northampton and Monroe counties.
Since 2011, the agency boosted the number of people it serves; expanded its investment in vision rehabilitation services, developed its award-winning Camp I CAN! summer program for kids, grew its free vision screening service, increased its financial strength, and earned national accreditation from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER).
Yingling announced his retirement in January and the following months have offered him a chance to reflect and appreciate those he has worked with and the people who have been helped.
“I leave with confidence in the agency’s future because our dedicated and supportive team will help it grow even stronger,” Yingling said. “While I will miss the clients and our team members, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet them and be part of the positive impacts that the Center for Vision Loss has made. I also have a feeling of excitement in imagining the possibilities that will arise in the next phase of my life.”
There is no doubt that he will enjoy much of it with his acoustic guitar in hand.
The Center for Vision Loss empowers people with visual impairments to seize their independence and advances healthy eyesight. With operations in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and Monroe County, it combines a service tradition motivated by Helen Keller’s advocacy in 1928 with contemporary practices and state-of-the-art technologies. The organization’s support and rehabilitative services promote the accomplishment of daily tasks, increased access to medical services and food supplies, enhanced personal wellness, and extended self-sufficiency. Its free vision screenings for children stimulate success in school and its community education programs advocate for eye health and safety. All agency services are provided at little or no cost, and more than 80% of its clients with vision loss are from low-income households.
The Center for Vision Loss is an independent member of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind (PAB) and it is affiliated with the VisionServe Alliance, a network of nearly 120 North American agencies that serve people with impaired sight.