News

Agency Activates Monroe Vehicle with Support from ESSA, NEPA Lions Foundation

Monroe Client Transport Vehicle

The Center for Vision Loss has purchased and activated a new transport vehicle for its Monroe County clients with support from ESSA Bank & Trust, the Northeast PA Lions Service Foundation, and several Monroe County Lions Clubs.

Purchase of the 2018 Kia Sorrento was funded by an $11,000 grant from ESSA; an $11,000 grant from the Northeast PA Lions; and contributions from the Tannersville Lions Club, Pocono Lions Club, Bushkill Smithfields Lions Club, Western Pocono Lioness Club. The new vehicle replaces a transport vehicle that was taken out of service in the fall of 2017.

The Center for Vision Loss has provided its escorted transportation service to people with severe visual impairments in Monroe County since the agency began its service to the area in 2002. Approximately 100 clients in Monroe County use this service annually. More than 68 percent of these clients are ages 65 and up, and more than 91 percent of clients meet common benchmarks for low-income status. For a person to qualify as an agency vision loss client, they must have a visual acuity of 20/70 or worse in their better eye with best correction or a visual field of 20 degrees or worse.

The total number of rides provided for Monroe clients increased 12.9 percent during 2017-2018. The escorted transportation service is used primarily for travel to medical appointments, support services, and agency programs and activities that counteract isolation and improve quality of life. More than 74 percent of Monroe rides during 2017-2018 were for those purposes. A majority of the additional rides were used for grocery shopping trips.

The agency’s escorted transportation service is “door-through-door,” which means that sighted guides escort the clients from their homes and into their destinations. Guides are trained in techniques for guiding a visually impaired person properly in indoor and outdoor environments. When it is necessary, guides provide additional assistance – such as helping to read paperwork or carrying bags into clients’ homes. While there is a small user fee, no qualified client is denied due to financial hardship.

The escorted transportation service meets an important and growing need. In a May 2017 needs assessment by United Way of Monroe County, transportation and medicine or medical treatment were two of the five largest daily challenges faced by people ages 65 or older. Across the United States, missed medical appointments have been estimated to cost the healthcare industry $150 billion a year. Patients that are highly likely to miss appointments include older adults who no longer drive and lack other reliable transportation.

The Center for Vision Loss is the only organization dedicated to the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties and is the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind’s (PAB) only accredited service provider in these communities. Its nonprofit mission is to enable personal triumphs over visual impairments, and its guiding principle is that vision loss should never be a barrier to achievement, independence, dignity, and hope. The agency delivers support, skills education, and rehabilitation services at little or no cost for people with vision loss, provides free vision screenings for children, and promotes eye health and safety. Impact on vision loss clients reflects in their abilities to live independently and improve their capabilities. Impact upon communities at large reflects in the numbers of children who receive free vision screenings and the number of people reached by agency’s education programs and outreach presentations.

 

Jeffrey Deloglos Elected to Agency Board of Directors

Jeffrey Deloglos

Jeffrey Deloglos of ESSA Bank & Trust was elected to the Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors during the board’s January meeting.

Deloglos is a Trust Officer for ESSA and is based in its Bethlehem, PA, offices. He has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 20 years of work as a personal banker and home lender. Prior to joining ESSA, Deloglos worked with several companies, including Univest Bank and Trust and Wells Fargo.

A position on the Center for Vision Loss’ board is especially meaningful to Deloglos as one of his three daughters is an optometrist in Oregon, another is a nurse in the Lehigh Valley, and the third is considering a career in physical therapy

Deloglos has a degree in Administration of Justice from Penn State University. He is a board member for the Estate Planning Council of the Lehigh Valley. He also has served as an auditor for Christ Lutheran Church in Allentown and is a former member of the Moore Township Planning Commission.

The Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors oversees the organization’s activities, holds fiduciary responsibility for the organization, and provides strategic direction to ensure that the organization is able to fulfill its mission.

 

Agency Teams with Lehigh Valley Music Awards Producer for Songs4Sight Concert

Lehigh Valley Songs4Sight

The Center for Vision Loss and the producer of the annual Lehigh Valley Music Awards are pleased to announce a new event that is sure to be this spring’s hottest ticket on the area’s music scene.

Presented by Provident Bank, Lehigh Valley Songs4Sight will be held Sunday, March 31, from 4-8 p.m. at the American Club Pavilion in Coplay, PA. The three-act concert will feature the superstar Supra & Ayers Quartet, veteran cover band Common Bond, and the new Yingling-Porter On Tap blues/rock duo. The concert is organized by the Center for Vision Loss and Thirteen Butterflies Productions – which is owned by Gloria Domina, Director and Producer of the Lehigh Valley Music Awards. Event lighting and sound will be provided by Sonlight Productions from Perkasie, PA.

A $20 event ticket gets a fan all three shows and a seated dinner. Separate beverage mugs will be sold at the door for $10 each and beer will be on tap for fans ages 21 and up. The evening also will include a 50-50 raffle and an item raffle. Event ticket sales opened today, and tickets can be purchased on the web at Songs4Sight.com. Tickets and sponsorships also can purchased by calling 610.433.6018, Ext. 242.

All Lehigh Valley Songs4Sight proceeds benefit the Center for Vision Loss – the only organization dedicated to the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties. Its work is guided by the principle that vision loss should never be a barrier to achievement, independence, dignity, and hope.

“I am delighted to team up with the Center for Vision Loss to create this concert, and the bands are honored to take part in this most worthwhile event,” Domina said. “While everyone wishes for a world without vision loss, we know that music offers an uplifting, entertaining, and enlightening experience for people who have perfect eyesight or none at all. Lehigh Valley Songs4Sight will be an enjoyable and fitting event to raise money for this important and impactful organization.”

With campuses in Allentown, PA, and Stroudsburg, PA, the Center for Vision Loss delivers support, skills education, and rehabilitation services at little or no cost for people with vision loss, provides free vision screenings for children, and promotes eye health and safety. It is the only service provider in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties that is accredited by the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind (PAB). The agency’s impact on its vision loss clients reflects in their abilities to live independently and improve their capabilities. Impact upon communities at large reflects in the numbers of children who receive free vision screenings and the number of people reached by agency’s education programs and outreach presentations.

The Supra & Ayers Quartet is a Lehigh Valley super group led by popular singer/songwriter Sarah Ayers and standout singer and harmonica player James Supra. They are joined by Lou Franco on acoustic guitar and vocals, and Mitch Shelly on acoustic upright bass. The group’s sound is a fusion of blues, funk, and rock. Ayers and Supra have won nearly 50 Lehigh Valley Music Awards between them, and have thrilled audiences for two decades.

Common Bond has played Musikfest and other notable area events. While its sound is rooted firmly in classic rock, this band offers an eclectic mix of the best music from the 1970s through today. Its performances spans genres with skilled musicianship and enthusiasm – covering acts such as the Eagles, Pink Floyd, Rush, Bruno Mars, Pitbull, and Ed Sheeran.

Formed in the summer of 2018, Yingling-Porter On Tap features award-winning indie songwriter and lead guitarist Frank Porter and Doug Yingling – who sings, plays harmonica and guitar, and doubles as the Executive Director for the Center for Vision Loss. Their collaboration has crafted a sound that calls for a generous portion of classic rock mixed with blues and southern rock.

 

Center for Vision Loss Announces More than $75,000 in Grants Received

The Center for Vision Loss – the only organization dedicated to the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties – earned or received more than $75,000 in grant funds during the second half of the 2018 calendar year from 12 organizations.

The grants have been awarded for a variety of purposes – including agency operations, specific programs or sets of programs for people with vision loss, and free vision screenings for children. These grants are listed below with their respective designations.

A $6,500 grant from The Will R. Beitel Children’s Community Foundation to support children’s vision screenings in Northampton County.

A $2,000 grant from the Century Fund to support children’s vision screenings in the city of Allentown.

A $2,500 grant from the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association (GLVADA) to support children’s vision screenings in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

A $5,000 grant from the Charles Hoch Foundation to support several programs and services that improve quality of life for vision loss clients.

A $2,500 grant from the Julius & Katheryn Hommer Foundation to support children’s vision screenings in Monroe County.

An $8,560 grant from the Luther J. Hottle Fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation to support the agency’s operations.

A $2,000 grant from the Charles and Figa Kline Foundation to support the agency’s operations.

A $1,000 grant from the Lehigh Valley Aging in Place Coalition to support the agency’s escorted transport service for adults ages 65 and up in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

A $16,000 grant from the Moses Taylor Foundation toward the renovation and updates of the agency’s Monroe County low vision center.

A $10,000 grant from The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation to support the escorted transport service for all agency vision loss clients.

A $12,000 grant from the Harry C. Trexler Trust to support programs and services that improve the quality of life for older vision loss clients in Lehigh County.

A $7,000 grant from the Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation to support the escorted transport service for vision loss clients in Northampton County.

The agency’s escorted transport service provides vision loss clients with rides to medical appointments, other critical services, and agency programs. Services for vision loss clients that improve quality of life include lifeskills classes, socialization events, recreational activities, and support groups. Low vision centers at the agency’s Lehigh Valley and Monroe campuses provide specialized eye exams and offer an array of assistive technologies and devices. Free vision screenings for children ages 6 months and up are performed with state-of-the-art handheld devices that use non-invasive lasers to read a child’s visual acuity and can detect several serious conditions.

The Center for Vision Loss is the only organization dedicated to the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties and is the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind’s (PAB) only accredited service provider in these communities. Its nonprofit mission is to enable personal triumphs over visual impairments, and its guiding principle is that vision loss should never be a barrier to achievement, independence, dignity, and hope. The agency delivers support, skills education, and rehabilitation services at little or no cost for people with vision loss, provides free vision screenings for children, and promotes visual health and safety. Impact on vision loss clients reflects in their abilities to live independently and improve their capabilities. Impact upon communities at large reflects in the numbers of children who receive free vision screenings and the number of people reached by agency’s education programs and outreach presentations.

 

Ross Ramaley, Esq., Elected to Agency Board of Directors

Ross Ramaley, Esq.

Ross Ramaley, Esq., was elected to the Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors during the board’s November meeting.

Ramaley is an Associate Attorney with Gross McGinley Attorneys at Law in Allentown, PA. As a member of the firm’s Business Services Group, he assists banking, non-profit, technology, advertising, and commercial real estate clients with general corporate matters, business formations, entrepreneurial ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and contract reviews.

Prior to joining Gross McGinley in Aug. 2017, Ramaley was an attorney with The Altman Law Firm in West Chester, PA. Ramaley earned his law degree from Villanova University in 2016 and holds a bachelor’s degree from Wilkes University.

Thomas Reilly, Esq., of Gross McGinley Attorneys at Law, stepped down from his spot on the Center for Vision Loss board upon Ramaley’s election. Reilly’s second tenure on the agency’s board began in Jan. 2010. Reilly continues to serve as Secretary for the related Center for Vision Loss Endowment Foundation’s Board of Directors.

The Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors oversees the organization’s activities, holds fiduciary responsibility for the organization, and provides strategic direction to ensure that the organization is able to fulfill its mission.

 

First Lehigh Valley Night4Sight Honors Area Lions, Highlights Personal Triumphs

The Center for Vision Loss honored the Lions Clubs of Lehigh and Northampton counties and a Paralympic champion inspired agency supporters tonight during the first Lehigh Valley Night4Sight event, presented by ESSA Bank & Trust.

The Center for Vision Loss presented its 2018 Accessibility Champion Award to Pennsylvania Lions District 14-K and its member clubs for starting the movement to serve the blind and visually impaired in Lehigh and Northampton counties and for more than 90 years of leadership and support. Called to action by a speech by iconic activist Helen Keller, area Lions formed branches of the Pennsylvania Association of the Blind in both Lehigh and Northampton counties in 1928. Those organizations evolved throughout the 20th century and consolidated in 2010 to form the present-day organization.

Four-time U.S. Paralympian and 1992 Gold Medalist Pam McGonigle shared her unique story of overcoming adversity. McGonigle, who lives in Ardmore, PA, was born with albinism – a condition that prevents a person’s retina from developing fully – and cataracts. After her 1992 win in the 3,000-meter run, McGonigle competed in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Paralympics. She is the adopted mother of a boy who was born with albinism in China and she is the Director of Development for the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.

Held at Lehigh University’s Iacocca Conference Center, Lehigh Valley Night4Sight also included dinner, silent auction, and the musical stylings of award-winning guitarist Frank Porter. The evening’s theme of personal triumph was inspired by the agency’s mission statement – to enable personal triumphs over visual impairments – which was adopted in July. The agency honored the Lions Clubs because they helped spark that mission decades before and chose Pam McGonigle to speak because her story of personal triumph embodies its spirit.

Lehigh Valley Night4Sight benefited the Center for Vision Loss and its programs. The event’s proceeds exceeded those of the agency’s fall 2017 dinner event by more than 60 percent. Additional 2018 Lehigh Valley Night4Sight sponsors included the following:

Champion Sponsor: Lehigh Eye Specialists.

Gold Sponsors: ASR Media Productions, Gerhart & Associates, Gross McGinley Attorneys at Law, Inova Technologies.

Silver Sponsors: Buckno Lisicky & Company; Easton Coach Company; Fox Optical & Gallery; Lang Faylor Chomo & Company; UGI; Mike and Mila Wambaugh, in memory of Joyce Wambaugh.

Bronze Sponsors: A Definite Edge Management Consulting, Advanced Family Eye Care, J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home, Elite Sealcoating, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, HMK Insurance, Legend of Allentown, RLB Accountants, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Ed and Rosalie Vogrins, Doug and Andrea Yingling.

Associate Sponsors: Pauline Giba, Britt Harris, Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind, John Sagi, Wegmans Bethlehem, Dennis Zehner and Family.

Print Sponsor: EBC Printing.

The Center for Vision Loss is the only organization dedicated to the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties and is the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind’s (PAB) only accredited service provider in these communities. Its nonprofit mission is to enable personal triumphs over visual impairments, and its guiding principle is that vision loss should never be a barrier to achievement, independence, dignity, and hope. The agency delivers support, skills education, and rehabilitation services at little or no cost for people with vision loss, provides free vision screenings for children, and promotes visual health and safety. Impact on vision loss clients reflects in their abilities to live independently and improve their capabilities. Impact upon communities at large reflects in the numbers of children who receive free vision screenings and the number of people reached by agency’s education programs and outreach appearances.

 

Center for Vision Loss Posts Service Increases, Maintains Excellent Quality Ratings

The Center for Vision Loss – the only agency dedicated to the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties – posted increases in several service categories during its 2017-2018 year and maintained excellent quality ratings from those it serves.

The agency engaged a total of 15,564 unique individuals during the year ending June 30, 2018 – a 24 percent increase from the previous year. Those individuals included 524 vision loss clients and 15,040 community members. The agency delivers numerous support and rehabilitation services for people with vision loss along with free vision screenings, community education for children and adults, and promotional appearances that promote eye health and safety.

The agency screened a total of 8,174 people in 2017-2018, an increase of 15 percent. A total of 707 screened children and adults were referred for additional care, an increase of 21 percent. The number of people served through agency community education programs increased 38 percent.

The organization’s escorted transportation service for vision loss clients provided 3,136 rides during 2017-2018, a 25 percent increase over a two-year span. The number of clients who participated in quality of life services – including lifeskills education programs – increased more than 13 percent over two years. More than 76 percent of the agency’s clients meet common low-income standards.

For the second straight year, more than 90 percent of vision loss clients maintained their independence and 100 percent of lifeskills education participants improved at least one functional capability. The organization’s goals in those categories and are 75 percent and 85 percent respectively. Vision loss clients also gave the agency’s transportation service a satisfaction rating of more than 96 percent.

“Our increases in services provided reflect growing needs throughout the region, and our impressive quality ratings reflect how well we’re able to respond to the challenge,” said Douglas A. Yingling, Executive Director of the Center for Vision Loss. “We appreciate the trust that the people of our area have placed in us, and we pledge every day to reward that trust with service that empowers them to enjoy what life has to offer.”

Two new agency initiatives begun in 2017-2018 were its Kaleidoscope program and its Hispanic outreach project. The Kaleidoscope program – funded by the Northeast PA Lions Service Foundation – provides the specialized services of a vision rehabilitation therapist to clients who are at ask of losing their independence or need to adjust to a recent loss of vision. The Hispanic outreach initiative – funded by the Bill Sugra Memorial Fund – delivered bilingual information sessions in popular locations to increase awareness of eye diseases, treatment options, and available resources.

The Center for Vision Loss is the only organization dedicated to the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties and is the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind’s (PAB) only accredited service provider in these communities. Its nonprofit mission is to enable personal triumphs over visual impairments, and its guiding principle is that vision loss should never be a barrier to achievement, independence, dignity, and hope. The agency delivers support, skills education, and rehabilitation services at little or no cost for people with vision loss, provides free vision screenings for children, and promotes visual health and safety. Impact on vision loss clients reflects in their abilities to live independently and improve their capabilities. Impact upon communities at large reflects in the numbers of children who receive free vision screenings and the number of people reached by agency’s education programs and outreach appearances.

 

Enabling Personal Triumphs: Agency Adopts New Strategic Plan, Mission Statement

The Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors has adopted a new strategic plan and a new mission statement that reflects the agency’s value for people of all ages and visual capabilities.

Ratified Wednesday during the board’s July meeting, the 2018-2021 strategic plan seeks to leverage the agency’s continued evolution to achieve greater recognition and support for it throughout Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties.

The two agencies that eventually consolidated to form the Center for Vision Loss were founded in 1928 and shifted their focuses from vocational training to improvement of quality of life and added prevention programs during the 20th century. Since its 2010 consolidation, the agency has continued to grow its rehabilitation and prevention services, which include free screenings and outreach education programs. The agency’s new mission statement – to enable personal triumphs over visual impairments – was developed to reflect its broader scope of service.

The strategic plan also provides the agency with a new vision statement – to influence a world in which vision loss is no longer a barrier to independence and achievement.

“Our new strategic plan, mission statement, and vision statement reflect the legacy of our past, the impact of our present, and the promise of our future,” said Douglas A. Yingling, Executive Director of the Center for Vision Loss. “In our agency’s 90-year history, we have redefined our services for the blind and visually impaired and our rehabilitation and prevention solutions and have evolved to complement the support services for which we have always been known. What remains the same is our fundamental belief that visual impairments should never be insurmountable obstacles, but rather challenges over which humanity can triumph. With our 100th anniversary on the horizon, ours is a rich and powerful story and one that we strive to share in new ways and one with which we seek to forge relationships with new stakeholders and champions.”

The strategic plan identifies the agency’s purposes and impacts with respect to support for people with vision loss, rehabilitation of visual capabilities, and encouragement of people to engage in behaviors that prevent vision loss. It identifies seven primary objectives within the strategic dimensions of advancement, programmatic excellence, and oversight and governance. These objectives are designed to help the agency communicate its value; increase its donor recruitment, recognition, and stewardship efforts; and invest judiciously in its programs to increase their impact.

The plan was developed by the agency’s 2017-2018 strategic planning committee, which was comprised of board members, staff leaders, and vision loss clients.

The Center for Vision Loss is the only nonprofit agency that serves the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties. Its mission is to enable personal triumphs over visual impairments and its core belief is that vision loss should never be a barrier to a person’s independence, quality of life, and ability to achieve. The agency’s three primary purposes are to deliver support and improve quality of life for people who experience vision loss, to provide for rehabilitation of visual capabilities in children and adults, and to encourage people of all ages to engage in practices and behaviors that prevent vision loss. More than 90 percent of its vision loss clients report annually that the agency’s services help them maintain their independence. The agency’s impact on the community at large reflects in the numbers of children and adults engaged, screened, referred for additional care, and educated annually.

 

Pravak, Gerhart Elected to Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors

Roman Pravak, M.D., and Richard Gerhart, CFP, were elected to the Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors during the board’s March meeting.

Pravak is an ophthalmologist with St. Luke’s University in Bethlehem, PA, and Medical Director of the St. Luke’s Retina Center. Pravak earned his medical degree from SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, N.Y., and completed fellowships with the New York University Medical Center and the Vitreoretinal Foundation in Memphis, Tenn.

Gerhart has led Ameriprise Financial’s Gerhart and Associates office in Center Valley, PA, since
Dec. 2008. Prior to his work with Ameriprise, he was Vice President of Investments for Wachovia Securities Financial Network in Allentown, PA, and a Financial Advisor for American Express. Gerhart has a bachelor’s of business administration degree in Finance from DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.

The Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors oversees the organization’s activities, holds fiduciary responsibility for the organization, and provides strategic direction to ensure that the organization is able to fulfill its mission.

The Center for Vision Loss is the only nonprofit agency that serves the visual well-being of everyone in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties. Its mission is to enable personal triumphs over visual impairments and its core belief is that vision loss should never be a barrier to a person’s independence, quality of life, and ability to achieve. The agency’s three primary purposes are to deliver support and improve quality of life for people who experience vision loss, to provide for rehabilitation of visual capabilities in children and adults, and to encourage people of all ages to engage in practices and behaviors that prevent vision loss. More than 90 percent of its vision loss clients report annually that the agency’s services help them maintain their independence. The agency’s impact on the community at large reflects in the numbers of children and adults engaged, screened, referred for additional care, and educated annually.

 

Agency Releases 2016-2017 Annual Report

Our 2016-2017 Annual Report is now available. Check it out to see what the Center for Vision Loss accomplished. Of course, we couldn’t do the work that we do in the community without the help of our great staff, loyal volunteers and supportive donors and friends in the community. Many thanks go to all of you. Of course you can read the report right here on our website by going to News & Events, Newsletters.

 

TASTE of the SHADOWS RECAP!

Ninety people joined together on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at the Green Pond Country Club, Bethlehem, to experience vision loss for a short time. Our Taste of the Shadows guests wore blindfolds while they practiced eating their salad and entrée, pouring water and passing rolls and butter then exchanged the blindfolds for simulator glasses during dessert. The simulators provided impressions of macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts–the four age-related eye diseases that affect a large part of the senior population. A sighted guide at each table explained how to navigate through the dinner and provided important information about vision loss and how our agency provides helpful services and programs to improve the quality of life for our clients with vision loss.

Before the dinner, our guests had an opportunity to taste craft beers provided by Penn Beverage & Sales and a variety of wines provided by Franklin Hill Vineyards. Tasty hors d’oeuvres also provided a festive atmosphere as guests checked out the many prizes in our New Focus Raffle.

Following dinner, Executive Director Doug Yingling opened the program by introducing our newest video, “Dorothy’s Story,” created for us by ASR Media Productions. Dorothy is an agency client with a very interesting story to share. You can view this video on the home page of our website here. Then it was time to introduce “The Animal Kindness Project,” the community service project powered by our summer Camp I CAN! participants, 7-13 years of age and underwritten by TeenWorks, an affinity group of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. Rita Lang described this project which benefitted Animals in Distress. She was joined by Lois Gadek, Board President of Animals in Distress. Then it was time to premier our second video of the evening, “Seeing With Your Heart,” created by Daymarks Productions & Al Kalbach, which captured the essence of this project. You can also view this video on the home page of our website here.

Then it was on to announcing our 2017 Accessibility Champion awards. Accessibility Champions are individuals, businesses or other groups in the community that provide excellent service on behalf of a customer with vision loss. This year’s champions included Cheryl Wallitsch, Young at Heart Entertainment, for providing two fun karaoke nights for our clients, Pocono Whitewater for providing many years of whitewater rafting experiences for our adults and youth, and Easton Walmart Supercenter for providing excellent sighted guide help to our clients when they shop. All received Certificates of Thanks for their efforts.

The Center for Vision Loss thanks all of our sponsors including: Daymarks Productions, The Peak TV, Lehigh Eye SPecialists, BB&T, Morgan Stanley, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Easton Coach, COuntry MEadows, Gross McGinley, Vanda, Inova Technologies, RLB Accountants, City Center Allentown A Definite Edge–Jerry Messina, Elite Sealcoating, Lang, Faylor, Chomo & Co., Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind, Sandpiper Evaulation Associates, Valley National Latina Radio, Laurie Seibert, CPA, CFP, AEP, Ed & Rosalie Vogrins and Michael & Mila Wambaugh.

 

LIONS NEEDS BREAKFAST A ROARING SUCCESS!

The Center for Vision Loss held its annual Lions Needs Breakfast on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at the Northampton Community Memorial Hall. Fifty-two club members from our District 14-K Lions, Lionesses and Leos gathered together with Center for Vision Loss staff to celebrate our continued collaboration for supporting programs and services for people with vision loss in the Lehigh Valley.

Following a hearty buffet breakfast, Executive Director Doug Yingling thanked all of the clubs for their support in 2016-2017 amounting to $53,000. Participating clubs received a thank-you card containing a patch which can be displayed on club flags. A goal of $53,000 has also been set for 2017-2018 and by the end of the breakfast, $43,000 had been raised through club pledges and gifts.

A highlight of the event was the premier of a video produced pro bono by AST Media Productions which focused on how our agency has impacted the live of Dorothy, one of our clients. The video can be viewed here on our website by going to the home page. Doug and various staff then shared agency program successes including braille classes, the Community Service Project to benefit Animals in Distress as part of our Camp I CAN! curriculum and the development of a new community outreach program about eye health and vision loss which targets A Spanish-speaking members of our community.

Lowell Hawk, representing the new NE PA Lions Service Foundation, then presented Doug with a grant of $12,500 which will be used to employ a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist for 200 hours for one year. This grant is so exciting because it gives the agency the capacity to reach more at-risk clients, either individually or in small learning groups, to provide them with the tools they need to improve their lives with vision loss.

The Center for Vision Loss is also pleased to report that Lions are well-represented on the agency board of directors in 2017-2018. IPDG Marsha Johnston is serving in the one-year seat specifically designed for the immediate past district governor. Linwood Gehris is the new Board President. Mike Wambaugh is the new vice-president and Fred Folland is the new treasurer. Lions District 14-K and Center for Vision Loss working together-a combination which cannot be beat! Thank you, Lions!

Lowell Hawk presents foundation check to Doug Yingling


Group celebrates with the Lions Toast

Left to Right: Mike Wambaugh, Fred Folland, Marsha Johnston, Karlene Laub, Don Kaufman, Lowell Hawk and Doug Yingling

 

“SOMETHING WORTH CELEBRATING” CERTAINLY WAS!

The Center for Vision Loss honored its donors at the agency’s “Something Worth Celebrating!” appreciation event on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Lehigh University Art Galleries Teaching Museum. The event’s location also celebrated the agency’s 2-yer collaboration with the Teaching Museum to make art accessible to people with vision loss. Museum staff Patricia McAndrew and Denise Stengl and volunteers worked together with Center for Vision Loss staff Rita Lang and clients to develop an audio-description project of selected art in the museum’s collections. Last Fall the Center for Vision Loss presented the Teaching Museum with its 2017 Accessibility Champion Award to acknowledge this effort.
Gary Pave, a member of the Center for Vision Loss Endowment Foundation board welcomed the group. Doug Yingling, agency Executive Director, provided remarks. Ricardo Viera, Lehigh University Art Galleries Director, and Patricia McAndrew also spoke.
Pave then introduced the newest members of the agency’s The Helen Keller Society for Legacy Giving: Andrea and Doug Yingling, in memory of Alfred Yingling and Tim Fox, OD.
As part of the evening’s festivities, guests dined on a selection of tasty hors d’oeuvres and beverages provided by Lehigh Catering Services. They also examined 3-D tactile representations of select museum art works created by Lehigh graphic design students and listened to the audio description using their phones. Thank you, Lehigh University Art Galleries Teaching Museum, for recognizing the importance of leveling the playing field in making their art works available to people living with vision loss.

 

2015-2016 ANNUAL REPORT NOW AVAILABLE

Our agency’s 2015-2016 Annual Report,Turning Challenges into Opportunities, is now available. You can click here to access this document. The report outlines our impact in the community, our client outcomes and describes how we as an agency also challenged ourselves to improve our overall organizational health and service delivery.

What we didn’t share in this report, however, also provides interesting reading and food for thought so we thought we’d share some more amazing statistics with you here. When compared with 2014-2015 we found that:
-The number of escorted transportation rides increased by 6%
-The number of children receiving free vision screenings increased by 27%
-The number of children benefitting from agency educational programs increased by 8%
-The number of adults receiving free vision screenings increased by 28%
-The number of adults benefitting from agency educational programs increased by 17%
-The number of casework hours of service increased by 8%
-The number of patients visiting our Low Vision Clinics increased by 113%
And the number of people attending community presentations about eye health and safety increased by 253%
Wow! Doug Yingling, Executive Director, thanks all of the agency’s paid and volunteer staff for their strong efforts to move our mission forward.

But without the support of Our Friends, none of our work would have been possible. So we heartily thank all of you who contributed monetary gifts or gifts of goods and services to help us continue our mission of improving the lives of people with vision loss and promoting healthy vision in the community!

If you wish to receive a copy of the 2015-2016 Annual Report in accessible format please contact us.

 

Leader Dog Summer Experience Camp

Here is a summer activity FYI for youth ages 16 and 17 with vision loss. Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester Hills, Michigan is offering a Summer Experience for Teens. This is a free residential program which allows participants to spend time with a friendly dog, do lots of fun indoor and outdoor activities and learn how to use the new HumanWare Trekker Breeze+GPS device. The camp dates are June 23-30, 2017. For more information and an application go to http://www.LeaderDog.org  or call 888-777-5332.

 

LIONS’ NEEDS BREAKFAST ROARS WITH SUCCESS!

Each year the agency-sponsored District 14-K Lions needs event provides much needed funds to support the work of the Center for Vision Loss.  This year, in a break from the traditional Needs Nights of 45+ years, the event became a Needs Breakfast held on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the Northampton Community Memorial Center, Northampton.

Members from 26 Lions, Lioness and Leo clubs in Lehigh and Northampton Counties attended along with Marsha Johnston, District Governor, and Karen Brady, Immediate Past District Governor. The  Center for Vision Loss sponsors this event to thank the Lions for their support in the previous fiscal year and to accept support for the current fiscal year. In 2015-2016, Lions’ giving totaled $50, 344.89. Support for 2016-2017 was off to a great start with $35,250 pledged or given at the breakfast.

Lions Clubs have been integral supporters of vision loss programs since 1925 when Helen Keller addressed a national Lions convention and asked them to become “Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness.” In 1928, the Bethlehem Lions Club founded the blind association in Northampton County and the Allentown Lions Club founded the blind association in Lehigh County.  Over time these blind associations changed names and eventually consolidated operations into the Center for Vision Loss in January, 2010.  For the past 88 years, the Lions have maintained their strong support for local, national and international vision loss issues and we thank them for continuing as important partners in helping us provide valuable services and programs to improve the lives of people with vision loss and promote healthy vision in the our community.

 

Three members of the Northwestern Lehigh High School Leo Club participated in our annual Needs Event for the first time!

Three members of the Northwestern Lehigh High School Leo Club participated in our annual Needs Event for the first time!

 

Karen Brady, Immediate Past District Governor, Doug Yingling, Center for Vision Loss Executive Director, and Marsha Brady, District Governor

Karen Brady, Immediate Past District Governor, Doug Yingling, Center for Vision Loss Executive Director, and Marsha Brady, District Governor

 

Lions enjoy each other's company at the Needs Breakfast

Lions enjoy each other’s company at the Needs Breakfast

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM “A TASTE OF THE SHADOWS”

The Center for Vision Loss’s third annual “A Taste of the Shadows” vision loss awareness fundraising dinner was held on Thursday, October 13, 2016 at the Green Pond Country Club, Bethlehem. Our agency developed this dinner as a unique way to understand the impact of vision loss and how the programs and services we offer can help people live independently and improve the quality of their lives.

85 guests first enjoyed a Gathering Hour replete with hors d’oeuvres, a wine tasting by Franklin Hill Vineyards and a craft beer tasting by the Allentown Beverage Co. They also tried their luck at the mystery box raffle, a new addition this year which complemented the evening’s theme of vision loss. All the raffle items were presented in beautifully wrapped boxes and guests had to guess the contents of each box by reading a clever description. Raffle prizes were contributed by businesses such as Stroudsmoor Country Inn, The Dining Dog, Yacco’s, Liztech Jewelery, West End Yoga, Cleo’s and many more.

The true essence of the evening began when the sighted guides assigned to each table gathered their guests together and asked them to wear blindfolds for the conga line walk to their seats in the dining room. The blindfolded guests first enjoyed chopped salad, chicken breast with tarragon-mustard sauce, risotto and broccoli.  Following the entrée, the guests removed their blindfolds and tried eating their pumpkin mousse while wearing glasses simulating vision with macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy–the eye diseases that affect many older adults.

Following dinner, Executive Director Doug Yingling took to the podium. He stated that he hoped everyone would come away from the evening with a new understanding and a positive perspective about living with vision loss. Doug then announced the premiere of the Center for Vision Loss’s new community video. It was developed and produced by Al Kalbach, Daymarks Productions and features stories from 6 clients whose lives have been positively touched by the agency’s programs and services. Doug presented Al with a Certificate of Recognition for his work.

Doug then introduced the agency’s 2016 Accessibility Champions. Accessibility Champions are chosen because they have provided outstanding accessible opportunities for visually impaired individuals to get involved in various aspects of community life. This year’s recipients all developed audio-described and/or tactile opportunities to bring together those with vision loss and the local arts scene.  They included the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, Lehigh University Art Galleries Teaching Museum, Lehigh Valley Arts Council and Stephen W. Cunic, Photographer.

We  say a hearty “thank you” to our staff and volunteer sighted guides for the evening: Sarah Swartz, Jennifer Pandolfo, Amy Crowe, Dawn Sellers, Valerie Sellers, Jeanette Bateman, Cheryl Petrakovich, Byron Jackson, Sarah Morse, Brian Shell and Ruthie Asmus.  They all provided the much needed support at each table for our blindfolded diners. Our sponsors also deserve our appreciation: Lehigh Eye Specialists, Minuteman Press of the Lehigh Valley, Inova Technologies, Buckno, Lisicky & Company, Fox Optical & Gallery,  Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Morgan Stanley, Michael Wambaugh in memory of Joyce Wambaugh, ESSA Bank & Trust, HMK Insurance, Alan Kunsman Roofing & Siding, Inc., and Lang Faylor Chomo & Company.

Sighted guide Sarah Swartz leads her blindfolded table guests into the dining room

Sighted guide Sarah Swartz leads her blindfolded table guests into the dining room.

Guests dine while wearing blindfolds to simulate vision loss.

taste-2016-sighted-guides

Sighted Guides: Front row: Rita Lang, Manager of Innovative Programming, Sarah Morse, Sarah Swartz, Amy Crowe, Ruthie Asmus and Cheryl Petrakovich Back row: Valerie Sellers, Jenifer Pandolfo, Dawn Sellers, Brian Shell and Byron Jackson

Award Winners:  Randall Forte, Lehigh Valley Arts Council; Gillian Pidcock, Allentown Art Museum; Denise Stangel, Lehigh University Art Galleries Teaching Museum; Al Kalbach, Daymarks Productions; Stephen W. Cunic, Photographer

Award Winners: Randall Forte, Lehigh Valley Arts Council; Gillian Pidcock, Allentown Art Museum; Denise Stangel, Lehigh University Art Galleries Teaching Museum; Al Kalbach, Daymarks Productions; Stephen W. Cunic, Photographer

 

 

 

 

LUNCH IN THE SHADOWS A GREAT SUCCESS!

On Monday, June 13, 2016, our agency’s Monroe County Office hosted “Lunch in the Shadows,” a low vision awareness event at Mullally’s Clubhouse Café, Stroudsburg. This unique event combined delicious food followed by a training program to introduce our guests to ways they could created more positive interactions with individuals who are visually impaired. Participants represented various fields of employment including higher education and senior care along with folks from the community-at-large.

The “catch” to this experience was that the diners were asked to don blindfolds to simulate total vision loss for a short time. A sighted guide at each table provided support, information and encouragement. During the training session which followed everyone participated in hands-on activities which included wearing glasses to simulate the most common vision loss diseases including macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. They were given tasks such as reading a newspaper or a page from the phone book and writing out a check. The training ended with the group trying their hand at the important technique of sighted guide.

We had many great comments from our participants about their event experience. They indicated that they felt better prepared and more comfortable to assist people with vision loss when asked, and that overall they gained a new appreciation for the way people with vision loss function on a daily basis. For more coverage click here to view a video of the event by Channel 69.

The Center for Vision wants to thank everyone who helped make this event possible. Venue proprietor Patrick Mullally and his staff were very accommodating and prepared a delicious menu. As always our team of staff and volunteer sighted guides–Dawn, Sarah, Cheryl M., Amy, Byron, Beverly and Cheryl P.–provided the right amount of support and information to make our diners comfortable. Our sponsors included Pocono Medical Center, Bushkill Smithfields Lions Club, Jerry & Annie Messina, Aging & Disabilities Resource Center, Dr. Anthony Silvett, Rep. Rosemary Brown, Rep. David Parker and Rep. Jack Rader.

Lunch in the shadows 6 13 2016 sighted guide 1
lunch in the shadows 6 13 2016 simulators 1
lunch in the shadows 6 13 2016 sighted guide 3
lunch in the shadows 6 13 2016 simulators 4

 

HELEN KELLER SOCIETY HAPPY HOUR FUN AND SUCCESSFUL!

On Monday, April 18, 2016, our Board of Directors and Endowment Foundation Board hosted a Helen Keller Society Happy Hour at Randall’s on the Orchard. Board members Tom Reilly and Todd Donnelly were our event sponsors. Randall’s, with its lovely view, delicious food and comfortable atmosphere proved the perfect location to introduce new friends to the Helen Keller Society and to thank current donors for their continued support.

The Helen Keller Society was developed by our agency as a legacy giving society to help sustain our mission in the future. As such it is part of our Endowment Foundation. Tom spoke eloquently of the agency’s need for this kind of legacy giving. He noted that it is often difficult for an organization such as ours to raise money because, while our work is worthwhile and important to our clients, it is sometimes difficult for donors to understand that the achievements our clients accomplish are most often taken in small steps. Nevertheless even one small step can yield a big impact in coping with vision loss and getting back independence and quality of life.

Interested donors can join the Society by giving gifts of cash of $1,000 or more or gifts by bequest, life insurance, stocks/securities or by retirement accounts. For more information contact Karen Z. Huetter, Development Director at 610-433-6018 x 241 or

L-R:  Brad Ott, Leon Peters, Barbara Bigelow, Mike Wambaugh, Tom Reilly, Doug Yingling and Todd Donnelly

L-R: Brad Ott, Leon Peters, Barbara Bigelow, Mike Wambaugh, Tom Reilly, Doug Yingling and Todd Donnelly

 

USED BRAILLE WRITERS AVAILABLE

Attention Braille readers! The Center for Vision Loss has several used Perkins Braille writers available to our clients. The Braille writer would be of no cost to you, however, they all need some repairs and you would be responsible to pay for those repairs. We would be happy to direct you to a repair person and the price of the repairs will vary depending on the service provider. Contact Rita at 610-433-6018 x 225 or is you are interested. Rita will then share the contact info for the repair persons at that time. Please also be advised that you must pick up the Braille writer from our office in Allentown–we cannot ship this item.

 

Attention All Shoppers!

Attention all shoppers! You now can become part of AmazonSmile and indicate that the Center for Vision Loss is the charity you wish to have supported when you shop at Amazon. The Amazon Foundation will donate a percentage of the amount you spend as a gift to our agency. Please know that this gift is not taken from your purchase price but is a separate amount given strictly by the Foundation. It is easy to do. Go to our Home Page and click on the AmazonSmile box. Then follow the prompts and you are all set to go. The Center for Vision Loss appreciates the designation as your charity. Thank you and happy shopping!

 

Annual Report 2014-2015

Click here to download the Annual Report.

 

LIONS DISTRICT 14-K NEEDS NIGHT, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

The Center for Vision Loss reminds all Lions, Lioness and Leo Clubs in District 14-K that Needs Night 2015 will be held on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. The location is the Northampton Community Memorial Hall, 1601 Laubach Avenue, Northampton, PA, 18067. The event begins with a social hour from 5-6 pm, followed by dinner at 6 pm and the program. Come meet the staff of the Center for Vision Loss and hear about the work of the agency over the past year. Our new 2015 Transit, made possible by contributions from District 14-K clubs, will also be on display. A packet of information has been sent to all club presidents and secretaries. You can also download copies of this paperwork from the 14-K website at www.lions14k.org. RSVP your attendance plans to 610-433-6018, x. 241 by September 22, 2015. Remember that 2 members from each club can attend as our guests.

The Center for Vision Loss is grateful to the continued support of the Lions District 14-K and looks forward to seeing club members at this annual event.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ADA!

On July 26, 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law. This landmark civil rights law prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation and all public and private places open to the general public.

Over the past 25 years, Lehigh Valley agencies and organizations have worked diligently to advocate and remove barriers to people with disabilities Beginning July 26, 2015, many of these groups have joined together with the Lehigh Valley Arts Council (http://www.lvartscouncil.org) to create Arts & Access (http://www.ARTSandACCESS.org), a series of events highlighting the accessibility and inclusiveness of the region’s art and culture. On July 24, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network is hosting a free launch party with music, cake and ice cream on its south Allentown campus to encourage the public’s participation in Arts & Access events as well as support other upcoming initiatives. Some other collaborators include the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living, Center for Vision Loss and the Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community.

Then on July 26, an audio-described performance of Hello, Dolly! for those who are visually impaired will be held at Muhlenberg College. Audio-description incudes a “describer” who uses natural pauses in the action of a play or musical to provide detailed visual images via an electronic transmitter to audience members who are blind or visually impaired. These audience members wear a headset. For more information go to http://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/theatre-dance/smt. Audio-description has been a great help to those with significant vision loss. People can understand better what is boing on and no longer find themselves being bored because they can’t see the nuances of what is happening on stage. The Center for Vision Loss is proud to say that we have worked diligently for the past few years to promote the use of this feature in the Lehigh Valley.

Obviously we all want the good works of the ADA to continue because it benefits all of us. Good Shepherd invites everyone to sign the ADA Pledge, a petition that’s a part of a nationwide effort to promote renewed support of the ADA and its goals. To sign the pledge go to http://www.ADAanniversary.org/pledge.arts-access-logo2-300x209

lehigh valley arts council logo

 

We’ve Been Busy!

The Center for Vision Loss has been busy over the past few weeks and we wanted to take this opportunity to bring you up-to-date on our latest happenings:

VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION was held on Thursday, May 7. We feted our volunteers with an Oriental party theme resplendent with various kinds of Oriental decorations and wonderful Oriental cuisine. The following volunteers were presented with Appreciation Awards: Cheryl Petrakovich-“Annie’s Angel Award” given to the volunteer who has made the greatest impact on improving a customer’s quality of life; Joseph Chunko-“Looking Beyond Vision Award” given to a volunteer or board member who has been the most active in promoting the agency in a positive light within the community; Sarah Zieff Morse-“Knight in Shining Armor Award” given to a volunteer who has shown the most versatility in service and comes to our rescue when the need arises; James Van Horn-Helen Keller Award for Independence given to a blind/visually impaired customer who has been most supportive of the projects of the agency exemplifying independence and new vision; Peter Carr-“Anne Sullivan Sprit Award” given to a volunteer or staff member whose deep commitment to helping others exemplifies the spirit of Anne Sullivan’s teaching and friendship and Amy Crowe, “Helping Hands Community Outreach Award” given to the volunteer who has worked tirelessly to benefit those with vision loss. Thank you to all the winners-we couldn’t do our work without your time, abilities and friendship. And thank you to all of our staff and friends who helped make our Gathering Room the perfect representation of Oriental life!

Left to right: James, Cheryl, Rita (Volunteer Coordinator), Peter and Amy


LIONS’ FISHING DAY was held on Saturday, May 9 at Mike Schmalzer’s Pond north of Bath. This annual day of fun, food and fishing is sponsored by the Moore Township Lions Club. Great fun was had by all from the sumptuous breakfast to the delicious lunch–with some fish caught in between! Thank you to all the Lions and other volunteers who make this event something our customers look forward to every year.

A SOCK HOP was held on Saturday, May 16, sponsored by the Emmaus Lioness-Lions Club. This is a new event which was enjoyed by customers and Lions and Lionesses alike. Our Gathering Room resounded with 50’s-style music and good food. Where else could you go on a Saturday night to relive those oldies but goodies of the record world! Thank you, to all who helped make this event successful and, a little birdie told us, that the Sock Hop will probably be reprised in 2016!

MONROE BINGO fundraiser was held on Sunday, May 17 at the West End Fire Company, Brodheadsville, to benefit our Vision Rehabilitation Services in Monroe County. This is the second year for this event which is superbly organized by Carla Nemeroff, a Monroe County Office caseworker. A great time was had by all the players and we give a big shout-out to the donors who provided such wonderful basket raffle items, the Monroe Office staff and other volunteers who assisted Carla, and the folks at the West End Fire Company. It was a great day to play bingo, have fun and support the Center for Vision Loss!

MEDICAL STUDENTS from the Lehigh Valley Health Network visited the Lehigh Valley Office on Thursday, May 28. These 10 students are just beginning their medical studies as part of LVHN’s partnership with the University of Florida. The students have been learning about local community resources which could eventually help the patients they will be treating. The students were a receptive and delightful group and appreciated knowing about blindness/visually impairment and the kinds of programs and services we provide and stated that this is the kind of useful information that will benefit them when they take their work into a clinic setting.

HIGHMARK WALK FOR A HEALTHY COMMUNITY stepped out in a lively manner on Saturday, May 30. Held at DeSales University for the first time, 17 walkers from the Center for Vision Loss along with many other agency donors raised $5,340 to support our children’s summer Camp I CAN!. Team Schiaffo raised the most money as a team and Melanie Huth, Lehigh Valley caseworker, won the casework challenge. The Center for Vision Loss has participated in the Highmark Walk since its beginning 11 years ago. We thank Highmark very much for supporting this fundraising event which hosted 29 non-profits this year. Because of Highmark’s sponsorship, all of the participating agencies can keep 100% of the money they raise to support their efforts in the community.

BETTER LIGHT FOR BETTER SIGHT was held on Wednesday, June 17. This program, facilitated by Vision Rehabilitation teacher Dianne Michels, provided a forum in which our customers could discover how a variety of light sources can help them use their remaining vision to complete everyday tasks. This worthwhile program was extra special because it was streamed live to other Pennsylvania Association for the Blind agencies across the Commonwealth.

 

Annual Report 2013-2014

Click here to download the Annual Report 2013-2014

 

A TASTE OF THE SHADOWS CREATES A NEW PERSPECTIVE!

The Green Pond Country Club, Bethlehem, was the scene of the Center for Vision Loss’s first blindness awareness dinner, A Taste of the Shadows, on October 14, 2014. Seventy-four friends, sponsors, customers, staff and volunteers premiered this dining in the dark event where guests were asked to eat a four-course meal while wearing blindfolds. The evening opened with a reception featuring tasty hors d’oeuvres, a wine-tasting by Franklin Hill Vineyards and the sweet sounds of the Celtic harp played by Maddie Link, a high school junior who is visually impaired.
The agency’s sighted guides then gathered the guests into their table seating groups to share information about the dinner portion of the event. All were asked to wear blindfolds to simulate loss of vision. Each guide led their table into the dining room in conga line fashion and individually seated their guests. They explained how the table was set and provided tips on how a person with a visual impairment finds their plates, utensils, water glass, coffee cup and more. Dinner was a four-course taste treat featuring cold pumpkin soup, kale salad, a chicken or salmon entrée and chocolate cups filled with mousse for dessert. The dining room resounded with chatter and laughter as guests were challenged to perform their everyday task without the benefit of their vision.

Executive Director Doug Yingling took to the podium following the meal. He noted that loss of vision is challenging at any age because it impacts an individual’s quality of life and independence. He thanked the guests for giving up their sight for a short time to experience how challenging vision loss can be and indicated that he hoped they would leave the event with a new perspective.

Brian Drake, Green Pond’s Banquet and Catering Manager, talked about the menu. He noted that the food was prepared to offer the best taste experience using many ingredients vital for good eye health such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C and E, and lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin.

Rita Lang, the Center for Vision Loss’s Manager of Innovative Programming and Volunteer Coordinator, who is herself visually impaired, then invited guests to comment on their experiences. Comments ranged from “I felt very uncomfortable at first but now I realize what a person with vision loss goes through every day” to “I now better appreciate the work of the Center for Vision Loss in helping people with vision loss improve their independence in performing daily tasks.”

We heartily thank our wonderful event sponsors: viamedia, Air Products, Minuteman Press of the Lehigh Valley, Fox Optical & Gallery, LLC, TD Bank, Advanced Family Eye Care, Buckno, Lisicky & Company, Lehigh Eye Specialists, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Ed & Rosalie Vogrins.

Maddie Link plays the Celtic harp during the reception.

Minuteman Press table receives information about the table setting.

Green Pond wait staff and agency sighted guides worked together to provide a positive experience for our guests.

Guests at the viamedia table begin to pass around the bread basket.

Viamedia table guests enter the dining room in their conga line behind their sighted guide.

 

CENTER FOR VISION LOSS AND JEFFERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CELEBRATE WHITE CANE DAY 2014

Jefferson Elementary School in the Allentown School District stands one block away from the Center for Vision loss. Thousands of students have walked through the hallways, played in the gymnasium and been exposed to life-long learning here over the past 100 plus years of the school’s existence. Each fall, school administrators invite local businesses to attend an Annual Breakfast where they share information about the school’s needs and challenges and encourage the participants to become one of the school’s Community Partner of the Month.

This September, Dawn Sellers, Center for Vision Loss’s Manager of Community Outreach and Special Projects, attended that Annual Breakfast. As part of her duties, Dawn provides free vision screenings for the children at Jefferson’s kindergarten registrations. This year, she also signed Center for Vision Loss up as the September Community Partner of the Month. When the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind encouraged all of its member agencies to consider doing a special project for White Cane Day on October 15, Dawn immediately contacted Renee Mosser, assistant principal, to find out if she would be interested in having Center for Vision Loss talk to the students about blindness and white cane awareness as part of their studies about the importance of respecting people who are different from them. Mrs. Mosser loved the idea and told Dawn that her audience would be the winning classrooms of a “best behaved classroom” challenge among the 4th and 5th grade classes.

Dawn consulted with Rita Lang, the Center for Vision Loss’s Manager of Innovative Programing, who herself is visually impaired. Together they decided to invite two agency customers, Jeff Gerhard and Dianne Michels, to join them in the school presentations on September 22 and September 29, 2014. The children discovered that this year marked the 55th anniversary of the White Cane Law which celebrates the White Cane as a symbol of a blind or visually impaired person’s ability to achieve a full and independent life. Both Jeff and Dianne also brought their guide dogs. Jeff stressed the importance of not distracting a guide dog because they are working. He also noted that the white cane is an obstacle finder while a dog is an obstacle avoider. Dianne commented that she chooses to use a guide dog rather than a white cane because she likes to walk faster and feel more independent. Rita, who strictly uses a white cane, talked about orientation and mobility and learning to read Braille. The students particularly loved the fact that Rita attended Jefferson as a student!

The group then asked the children to close their eyes and imagine standing on the sidewalk in front of their home when it was time to go to school. Which way should they turn? How many streets must they cross? Are there traffic lights or stop signs at the intersections? Would they hear a car coming? Are the streets busy? Could they find their classroom in the school? Would they feel frightened or disoriented in a crowded hallway? The final question was how many doorways do you pass when you go to the lavatory? Not many children got it right!

the culmination of the White Cane Day project was a poster contest. The children were invited to answer the question “When I see a person with a white cane it means…? and then draw a picture to depict what they had learned.

Forty students took up the challenge. Center for Vision Loss staff reviewed all the colorful and creative entries. On October 21, 2014, Dawn, Rita and Executive Director Doug Yingling visited the winners’ classrooms with Mrs. Mosser. They presented the top 6 artists with a prize package that included a Center for Vision Loss Dr. Optical Coloring Book, activity calendar, construction paper, a paint box, crayons and trivia game cards. The rest of the children who participated in the contest received a box of crayons.

In the eyes of our agency, however, all of the children who took part in this project were winners. They learned about vision loss and the importance of understanding and sensitivity in dealing with people who are not like themselves for whatever reason. We hope that our White Cane Day Project can continue next year at Jefferson School and perhaps spread to other schools, as well.

Ramon, 9, shows his entry in the White Cane Day Poster Project.

Mrs. Mosser (l) and Dawn Sellers (r) get ready to present the White Cane Day poster artists with their prizes.

Nashalie, 9, shows off her poster for White Cane Day.

Atiyanah, 9, proudly holds her White Cane poster.

Left to right: Alexis, 11; Leah, 10; and Yaxlei, 10 hold their posters for White Cane Day.

 

Camp I CAN! Ends on a High Note!

Camp I CAN!, our first summer day camp for children 7-13 who are blind or visually impaired, literally did end on a high note. Our campers worked together with camp staff to compose and sing a camp song for the last-day-of-camp on Friday, July 31. And sing they did! It was great fun to hear their enthusiasm as they entertained their parents, family and friends.

Camp I CAN!, jointly sponsored by the Center for Vision Loss and the Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS), was held from July 21-24 and July 28-31, 2014. The goal of the camp was to introduce the participants to essential orientation and mobility training, lifeskills education and socialization through various interactive activities, crafts and field trips. Each activity was designed around educational interventions geared to each camper’s visual strengths and weaknesses to ensure that they would experience successful outcomes and find activities in which they excelled.

But forget about all of the dry explanation–this camp was FUN! In the morning sessions, the kids would work on their orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation and lifeskills. Then in the afternoon, they would apply them through interactive activities including field trips. Trout Park, Jordan Lanes, TD Bank, Allentown Fire Department, the Brass Rail and the Lehigh Valley Zoo all captured the attention of our campers.

Our camp was developed by Rita Lang, our Manager of Innovative Programs and Camp Director, along with our caseworkers Gretchen Evans, Lisa Vasquez and Melanie Huth. Alyssa Johnson was the assistant camp director. Guest instructors included John Ford (Orientation and Mobility), Dianne Michaels (Vision Rehabilitation) and Amy Killeen and Jana Lindsay (BBVA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors). Jeremiah Dubas, Erin Rapp and Amy Crowe provided volunteer support. Staff support included Stephanie Houck, Shirley Moyer, Carla Nemeroff, and Peter Carr. If we left anyone out of this list, we apologize because everyone really pitched in to make the days go by very quickly.

We hope you enjoy the pictures attached to this article. You can find more on our Facebook page at facebook.com/lowvision845 so check it out and don’t forget to like us! And next year be on the lookout for Camp I CAN! 2015–we’ll have some more neat things planned.




 

AGENCY RECEIVES HIGHMARK BLUE SHIELD AWARD

On April 23, 2014, Highmark Blue Shield hosted a wonderful event at the Blue Event Center in Bethlehem to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of its signature fundraiser, Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community in the Bethlehem Region. The Center for Vision Loss was one of four non-profit agencies which have participated in this event since its inception in 2005. “Participating in this event has always been a pleasure,” said Karen Huetter, Development Director. “Because Highmark picks up all the Walk’s logistics, marketing and expenses, each non-profit can keep 100% of the money they raise to support their own programs and services. We could not do that otherwise without massive amounts of help. This year our goal is to raise $5,000 to support our new summer camp for kids 7-13 who are blind or visually impaired. The Walk proceeds will make help us make quite an impact.”

This year’s Walk is Saturday, May 31 at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. The 5K Walk begins at 9 am and the 1-Mile Fun Walk at 9:15 am. If you have not already signed up for the Walk, now’s the time to do so by going to www.walkforahealthycommunity.org. It is easy to register and the event itself does not take a great deal of time. You can walk individually, form a team or be a Virtual Walker and support Center for Vision Loss with a donation. If you have any questions, call us at 610-433-6018, x. 241 or karen.huetter@centerforvisionloss.org.

Shown here at the awards presentation are left to right: Jodie Ruedinger, Sr. Community Affairs Analyst, Highmark Blue Shield; Karen Huetter, Center for Vision Loss Development Director; Doug Yingling, Center for Vision Loss Executive Director; Mindy Back, Director of Client Management, Highmark Blue Shield and Jane Brooks, Local Highmark Blue Shield Community Affairs. Photo courtesy of Marco Calderone Photography.

 

VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION 2014

The sounds, tastes and smells of the Hawaiian Islands captured guests at the Center for Vision Loss’s 2014 Volunteer Recognition on Thursday, May 8, 2014. Thanks to the decorating efforts of staff member Stephanie Houck, the Gathering Room in the agency offices became a tropical paradise complete with leis for each volunteer, tiki torches, delicious mocktails, and a few parrots thrown in for good measure.

Rita Lang, Manager of Innovative Programming and Volunteer Coordinator, and Dawn Sellers, Community Outreach Specialist, planned the event to honor the 80+ volunteers which support the agency as Annie’s Angels, vision screeners, office assistants, drivers, activity assistants, special events volunteers, and provide direction for programs and services through board membership and committee work. On behalf of the agency, Rita presented awards to the following volunteers:
Bernie Wolensky, Helping Hands Community Outreach Award; Annette Gozzard, Louis Braille Communications Award; Carla Nemeroff, Anne Sullivan Spirit Award;
Tim Fox, OD, Looking Beyond Vision Award; Barbara Dilliard, Helen Keller Award for Independence; and Rhonda Anderson, Knight in Shining Armor Award. “All of these hard working individuals enhanced the programs and services we provide to the residents of our communities in Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe Counties, ” said Rita. “We could not forward our mission without their help.”

The Center for Vision Loss congratulates the 2014 award winners and all of our volunteers who add a note of brightness to our lives everyday! If you are interested in exploring volunteer opportunities, please contact Rita Lang at 610-433-6018, x. 231 or rita.lang@centerforvisionloss.org.

Mall Walk Ladies Offer a Toast

Event Organizers Dawn Sellers, left, and Rita Lang, right, flank award winners Annette Gozzard, Carla Nemeroff and Bernie Wolensky.,

A Good Time Was Had By All!

A Tasty Buffet Was Enjoyed By All!

 

Annual Report 2012-2013

Click here to download the ANNUAL REPORT 2012-2013

 

INTRODUCING THE HELEN KELLER SOCIETY

Martin Lang, President of the Center for Vision Loss Endowment Foundation, is pleased to announce the establishment of The Helen Keller Society to commemorate the Center for Vision Loss’s 85 years of service to the community in 2013. This legacy giving designation is open to people of all backgrounds and incomes who want to make sure that the Center for Vision Loss can continue to provide programs and services which improve the lives of people with vision loss and promote healthy vision in the community.

The Center for Vision Loss feels a warm kinship with Helen Keller, the well-known deaf-blind teacher and humanitarian. Through Miss Keller’s urging, local Lions Clubs formed the two original Lehigh County and Northampton County blind associations in 1928. Throughout her life, Miss Keller encouraged blind and visually impaired individuals to look beyond vision to seek their own level of independence. A gift to The Helen Keller Society will provide this opportunity for many in the future.

The Center for Vision Loss Endowment Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, established in 1980 to provide funding opportunities based on best investment practices that would ensure the sustainability of the Center for Vision Loss and its mission for the future. Legacy gifts maybe designated for a specific purpose or to remember a person who has held a significant place in your life.

Contributions to The Helen Keller Society may take the form of:
-Gifts of Cash of $1,000 or more
-Gifts by Bequest
-Gifts of Life Insurance
-Gifts of Stocks/Securities
-Gifts by Retirement Accounts

If you are interested in contributing or wish more information please contact:
Martin Lang at 610-439-5040 or martylange@langfaylorchomo.com or
Karen Z. Huetter, Development Director, at 610-433-6018, x. 241 or Karen.huetter@centerforvisionloss.org

Interested donors should always consult with their attorney, tax advisor or financial advisor to discuss the gift which will best suit their personal circumstances.

Click here to download a printable brochure about The Helen Keller Society.

 

LIONS NEEDS NIGHT ROARS!

Lions and Lionesses from District 14-K joined with staff and friends of the Center for Vision Loss to for the traditional Needs Night fundraiser held at the Northampton Community Memorial Hall on October 1, 2013. This year’s event was also a birthday party to celebrate the Center for Vision Loss’s 85th year of service to the blind and visually impaired in the community and to thank the Lions for founding the original blind associations in the Lehigh Valley in 1928.

The celebratory theme was event throughout the evening.  Guests were first entertained by the antics of Dan D. Lion (aka Lion Glen Santee), the leader of the District 14-K Klowns. Outfitted in bright red and yellow, Dan D. performed fun magic tricks that got his audience involved.  Dan D. was joined by the Lion Mascot played by Don Kaufman who got the guests into a dancing mood. The Center for Vision Loss’s eyeball mascots Dr. Optical (aka Sabrina Vasquez) and Miss Illusion (Greyson Asmus) strolled the party in all their finery. Many guests tried their skill at audible darts, the newest sport for the blind and visually impaired.  Players were given a few practice throws then were asked to try again after donning simulator glasses representing one of the four age-related eye diseases–cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Finally, a power point presentation about the history of the Center for Vision Loss and Lions, researched and developed by summer intern Kenny Morse, rolled throughout the evening.

Then it was on to a delicious family-style dinner followed by the program. Doug Yingling, Executive Director, took to the podium as Emcee for the night. He introduced the head table consisting of Dennis Butz, District Governor; Fred Folland, 1st Vice District Governor; Karen Brady, 2nd Vice District Governor; Gene Polgar, Past International Director; Linwood Gehris, Past District Governor and Lowell Hawk, liaison to the Center for Vision Loss and member of the agency’s Endowment Foundation Board. First remarks were given by Lion Dennis and Lion Gene. Then Doug presented thank you cards to each of the clubs who had contributed gifts to the agency in 2012-2013 totally $50,118. He then talked about the agency and thanked the Lions for having the foresight to found the original blind associations in the Lehigh Valley. He introduced Dorothy Montero, a customer, who shared her experiences with the agency, and 6-year-old Christopher Fullenwider and his family. Christopher’s blindness had been discovered by the agency’s free vision screening program and now the little boy is doing very well with his new glasses.

Needs Night continued with the clubs announcing their pledges and gifts for 2013-2014 which added up to $43,000 as of this writing!  Finally Karen Huetter, Development Director, took to the podium for special remarks. She read excerpts from a speech given by Helen Keller to a Lions meeting in 1927 and then presented a special plaque to Dennis Butz honoring the partnership of the agency and the Lions for the past 85 years. The plaque will hang in the agency’s offices in Allentown.

The Center for Vision Loss wishes to thank all the Lions, Lionesses and Leos for their support over the past 85 years and looks forward to many more years of working together to assist the blind and visually impaired in the Lehigh Valley and to support healthy vision in the community. We also wish to thank Debbie Brobst, Manager of the Northampton Community Memorial Hall and her staff for providing a wonderful facility and dining experience for our event.

 

 

 

 

“DAY OF CARING” PROVIDES FUN FOR ALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Center for Vision Loss participated in the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s “Day of Caring” on Thursday, September 12, 2013.  Volunteers from Aetna, Air Products and the Lehigh County Government Center worked together to provide a sighted guide Shopping Day at the Lehigh Valley Mall for our customers.  Rita Lang, Manager of Innovative Programs and Volunteer Coordinator, welcomed the group and then led a training on the basic techniques of sighted guide.  Then it was off to the Mall where two volunteers were paired with one customer to enjoy shopping, browsing, good conversation and, of course, good food!

This Shopping Day has become a popular annual “Day of Caring” event for Center for Vision Loss customers.  “They look forward to the opportunity to have a fun, relaxing day out to see what’s new at the Mall,” said Rita.  “The corporate volunteers have a great time learning more about blindness/visual impairment in an informal atmosphere because this experience helps them “see” the Mall from a different point of view.”  Thank you, again, volunteers for a job well done!

 

 

 

 

WALKING TRAIL FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED PROVES POPULAR

The sun was warm, the foliage lush and  bird calls filled the air when a group of customers from the Center for Vision Loss visited the new Sensory Trail at the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary in Emmaus on September 3, 2013. Designed to stimulate the senses and meet the needs of the visually impaired, the trail was developed by Lehigh Valley Business Group CEO and founder, Kevin Cope and constructed by volunteers including Devin Garcia from Boy Scout Troop 43 who earned his Eagle Badge for his efforts.  Doug Yingling, Center for Vision Loss Executive Director, and Rita Lang, Manager of Innovative Programs, were asked to consult on the project which was dedicated on August 27.

The Sensory Trail is located along the top of the Wildlands Conservancy’s Pool Wildlife Sanctuary.  Walkers are guided by a rope fence as they take in sounds, smells and feelings along the pathway. Sensory stations with educational panels written in Braille are highlights. There is also a Seasonal Box where visitors can reach in and touch  different items such as acorns, a bird’s nest or deer antlers. It is anticipated that the walk will help everyone understand the role that all of our senses play in our lives and how loss of vision can impact our lives.

Agency customers really enjoyed their visit to the Sensory Trail.  In addition, they  had the opportunity to touch animals in a program in the Conservancy’s Education Center and then go back outside to enjoy a different walk.  “Our visit today was the first of many that we will make as a customer group in the future,” stated Rita Lang. “We plan to return for different experiences as the seasons change.”

For more information about the Sensory Trail contact the Wildlands Conservancy, 3701 Orchid Place, Emmaus, PA 18049  at 610-965-4397 or visit www.wildlandspa.org.

 

 

 

HIGHMARK WALK FOR A HEALTHY COMMUNITY IS A SUCCESS!

Saturday, June 15, 2013 dawned bright and beautiful with a sunny sky filled with fluffy white clouds enhanced by a slight breeze. It was a perfect day for a 5k Walk and a 1 Mile Fun Walk as part of the 8th annual Highmark Wallk for a Healthy Community. Walkers started to gather around 7:30 am, waiting patiently for the 9 am kickoff. Many had donned their official Walk t-shirts and made the rounds of the booths set up by the participating agencies.

In all 28 staff, friends and customers of the Center for Vision Loss, along with two pups, took to the streets. Together they raised $5,273 for the agency! The donations will be used to support Vision Rehabilitation services and programs for our blind and visually impaired customers in Lehigh, Northampton and Monroe Counties.

We are so glad to participate in this event which is organized and supported by Highmark Blue Shield.
As a small non-profit, we never would be able to pull off such a wonderful walk by ourselves and the other 24 participating non-profits heartily agree. And the fact that we all get to keep 100% of the contributions that are raised on our behalf is just amazing.

So thank you Highmark Blue Shield and all of our walkers and donors for making the event a day to remember. While we didn’t quite reach our goal of $6,000 this year, we came darn close. But if you are reading this article and would still like to contribute, please know that we will accept Walk donations until June 30!

 

VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION

On Sunday, May 5, 2013, the Gathering Room at the Center for Vision Loss office was filled with the sounds, colors and tastes of Mexico as staff and volunteers gathered to celebrate at the Annual Recognition event in Cinco de Mayo-style! Rita Lang, Manager of Innovative Programs and Volunteer Coordinator, along with Dawn Sellers, Cummunity Outreach Specialist, worked together to make the afternoon festivities interesting and fun.

Volunteers receiving light-up star awards included:
1. Amy CinceraAnnie’s Angel Award given to the volunteer who has made the greatest impace on improving a customer’s quality of life.
2. Ross WasielkeLooking Beyond Vision Award given to the volunteer or board member who has been the most active in promoting the agency in a positivie light within the community.
3.Lynn SchiavoneKnight in Shining Armor Award given to a volunteer who has shown the most versatility in service and comes to our rescue when the need arises.
4. Dorothy MonteroHelen Keller Award for Independence given to a blind or visually impaired customer or customer group who has been most supportive of the projects of the agency exemplifying independence and new vision.
5. Estella SaylorHelping Hands Community Outreach Award given to the volunteer who has worked the most hours in one year.
6. Cheryl MillerLouis Braille Communication Award given to the individual whose selfless efforts open the door to better communication and involvement for those who are blind or visually impaired.
7. Fay SheelerAnne Sullivan Award given to the volunteer whose deep commitment to helping others exemplifies the spirit of Anne Sullivan’s teaching and friendship.
(Standing in picture, above: Lynn, Dorothy, Amy and Fay)

In addition, two volunteers received fun gift baskets: Ken Haines as the newest volunteer and Matt Rubin as the volunteer who travels the longest distance.

Following the awards presentation, volunteers and staff enjoyed playing a trivia game based on the number 5 and then tried their skill at a cactus ring toss game while wearing simulator glasses representing one of the four age-related eye diseases.

The Center for Vision Loss appreciates the talent and time that each volunteer brings to the mission of the agency. They spend countless hours driving customers, working with the customer activity groups, providing office assistance, doing data entry, helping with vision screenings for children and many other tasks. Volunteers–you are truly our shining stars!

 

RESCHEDULED CHRYSALIS AWARD DINNER PROVIDES INSPIRATION

Left to right: Doug Yingling presents Accessibility Champion Awards to John Kierle and C. F. Martin & Co. representatives Dave Evans and Aaron Van Why. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Bell Photography.

Dr. Salerno receives the 2012 Chrysalis Award from presenter Stephanie Olexa, Center for Vision Loss Board Member. Photo by Jeffrey Bell Photography.

More than 170 people attended the rescheduled Chrysalis Award Dinner on May 9, 2013. Held at DeSales University, the event honored Dr. Francis A. Salerno, Associate Chief of Geriatrics, Lehigh Valley Health Network. The award is presented to a blind or visually impaired person who has transformed the world around them. Center for Vision Loss board members, staff and friends joined with Dr. Salerno’s family, friends and Lehigh Valley Health Network colleagues to thank Dr. Salerno for his passionate life’s work to make geriatric medicine an iportant part of a healthy community since 1990 despite his blindness.

Guests first enjoyed a wine bar reception featuring jazz music played by the talented students from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts under the direction of Chet Brown. Silent auction items featuring art, antiques/vintage, accessories and amusements tempted attendees. Guests dined on chicken bruschetta, seared salmon Oscar and eggplant rolatini to a background of soothing piano music provided with compliments by Bob Muth.

Bob Phillips, president of the Center for Vision Loss board, served as master of ceremonies. He was joined by Doug Yingling, Executive Director, and board member Stephanie Olexa who presented Dr. Salerno with his award.

Following Dr. Salerno’s inspirational acceptance talk, various people from the medical and social services community presented the guest of honor with congratulatory remarks. They included Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez and Dr. Sweety Jain, Lehigh Valley Health Network; Cori Rolon, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Dr. Kelly O’Shea Carney from Phoebe Ministries.

Druing the evening, the agency also awarded its Accessiblity Champion Award, a commendation presented to a business or individual who has provided exceptional benefit to those with vision loss. This year’s honorees included C.F. Martin & Co., represented by Dave Evans and Aaron Van Why, and John Kierle. Martin Guitar agreed to make a special Braille guitar for Lt. Brad Snyder who lost his sight in an explosion in September, 2011 while serving in Afganistan while John Kierle, Snyder’s friend, spearheaded the fund raising effort to pay for the instrument.

State Rep. Steve Schlossberg presented all of the honorees with senatorial citations on behalf of Sen. Pat Browne.

Sponsors included the Lehigh Valley Health Network, Minuteman Press of the Lehigh Valley, the Morning Call, AmericaVen, The Lehigh Valley Group of MorganStanley Smith-Barney, Robert & Mary Lou Phillips, RetinaCare Associates, Capital Blue Cross, PPL, PNC Bank, Buckno, Lisicky & Company, Embassy Bank for the Lehigh Valley, Stephanie Olexa & Seth Weber, Ed & Rosalie Vogrins, Hawley Realty, Lang, Faylor, Chomo & Co., Dr. and Mrs. Ihor Fedoriw, Genentech, Lifestyles Over 50, and Lioins Club

We invite you to check back on this site shortly to view a video of Dr. Salerno’s remarks.

 

Annual Report 2011-2012

Click here to download the Annual Report 2011-2012.

 

Lions Needs Night Benefits the Center for Vision Loss

On Tuesday, October 2, 2012, representatives from Lions District 14-K Lehigh and Northampton Counties, attended the annual Lions Needs Night dinner to raise money to support the programs and services of the Center for Vision Loss. This event has been sponsored by the Center for Vision Loss for more than 30 years and brings together two community benefit organizations that serve the common cause of helping people who are blind or visually impaired and also promoting healthy vision in the residents of our community.

The location for this event was the Northampton Community Memorial Hall, Northampton. Lions, Lionesses, Leos and first enjoyed demonstrations of low vision aids provided by members of the agency’s social services staff. Then all of the club members, agency staff and customers enjoyed a bountiful meal after which they set about the important task of raising funds. The event’s goal was set at $55,000 and when the evening ended more than $39,000 had been raised from the clubs which attended.

Major participants in the evening, as shown here, included, from left to right: Douglas A. Yingling, Center for Vision Loss Executive Director; Robert Phillips, Center for Vison Loss Board President and Master of Ceremonies for the evening; Lions District Governor Linwood Gehris; Lions First Vice-Governor Dennis Butz; Lions Second Vice-Governor Fred Folland and Immediate Past District Governor Joseph Chunko. Missing from the picture is Lion Lowell Hawk, member of the agency’s Endowment Foundation and the Lions’ liaison to the Center for Vision Loss.

We thank the Lions Clubs of District 14-K for their support since 1928 because without them there actually would be no Center for Vision Loss. The original blind associations in Lehigh and Northampton Counties were founded by local Lions Clubs after Helen Keller spoke at Liberty High School in 1928 and encouraged the Lions Club members in the audience to become “Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness.” May we continue to work together to improve the lives of people with vision loss.

 

“Day of Caring” Project a Highlight for Volunteers and Customers

On Thursday, September 27, 2012, volunteers from one community organization and one business joined Center for Vision Loss customers to celebrate the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s annual “Day of Caring” organized by the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley. This year’s project was a Shopping Day at the Lehigh Valley Mall. Each volunteer was paired with a customer who is blind or visually impaired. The volunteers first learned the techniques of how to be an effective sighted guide then met their companions at the Mall where they shopped, strolled, chatted, laughed and lunched together.

The 9-member volunteer team consisted of 8 staff members from the United Way’s Community Impact Team and one staff member from Aetna. The United Way Community Impact Team is responsible for managing the investments in the community in the areas of Education, Older Adults and Basic Needs. The Aetna representative works in Aetna’s National Accounts, Dedicated Patient Management.

After the “Day” ended, we couldn’t tell who was happier with their experiences–the volunteers or our customers! On the volunteer side we received comments such as this one from Kayla Lovallo, the United Way’s COMPASS Community School Outreach Coordinator/AmericCorps VISTA: “I thought it was an amazing experience. It is great knowing that you are making a difference in someone’s life [if] only for a short period of time. My client simply just wanted to hang out and enjoy the day with good company. It was great just spending time with him, learning about each other, and having meaningful conversations.” Aetna’s Renee Golaszewski stated that “I want to thank your organization for the opportunity to participate in the Day of Caring as it was the most personally rewarding contribution I have done in a very long time although I believe that every day should be a day of caring for our fellow man/woman.”

The shopping project is developed and directed by Rita Lang, the Center for Vision Loss’s Manager of Innovative Programs and Volunteer Coordinator. Rita shared that the loss of indepedence is probably the most negative feeling about vision loss. “When you can no longer just jump into your car to go shopping whenever you please, you can understand that a day at the Mall spent leisurely walking, shopping, going to the spa, lunching and meeting a new friend is so important to our customers,” she said. “Our shopping project helps many of our customers avoid isolation by providing an upbeat, fun experience that restores their self-confidence and their quality of life.”

The Center for Vision Loss thanks everyone who participated in this year’s “Day of Caring” and created a meaningful experience for all.

 

Annual Report 2010-2011

Click here to download the Annual Report 2010-2011.

 

Vanda Pharmaceutical Presents Sleep Disorder Info

On June 28, 2011, William Hoos, a Vanda Pharmaceutical representative, visited the Center for Vision Loss to speak to our consumers about a common sleep disorder that affects people who are totally blind.  He also provided details on the clinic trials that Vanda Pharmaceuticals is conducting on a medication to help this condition. Click to hear the audio version of this presentation.

Those who are totally blind often find that their sleep patterns differ from the rest of the world. This could be due to a real sleep problem related to the lack of light needed by the body’s internal clock. The name for this condition is Non-24 Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder. Mr. Hoos educated the audience on the characteristics of the condition. He also invited interested audience members to contact Vanda for further information about the study. There is still time to enroll in the study or learn more about it.

There are several ways to get more information:  Call 1-888-389-7033; E-mail info@non24registry.com; take a sleep survey directly at www.non24registry.com or visit the Vanda Pharmaceutical website at www.vandapharma.com. There is also a new educational website devoted to information about the sleep disorder at www.24sleepwake.com.

 

Agency Receives NAC Accreditation

We are pleased to report that in June, 2011, the Center for Vision Loss received a five-year accreditation by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC). NAC is the only independent accrediting agency in its category. It develops standards to promote effective, sound and publicly accountable programs of service that help blind and visually impaired children and adults achieve their full potential. 

NAC officials wrote: “This important achievement is an indication of your agency’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of life for people with vision loss. We hope that the individuals you serve, the governing body and your staff take pride and comfort in displaying the certificate representing your compliance with the NAC standards of performance.” 

Preparing the agency for the NAC review team in March, 2011 required many hours of work on the part of the Center for Vision Loss staff team headed by then Director of Vision Services Doug Yingling.  Now Executive Director, Doug states that the Center for Vision Loss values the accreditation process because it leads to improved programs for clients and strengthens professional relationships within the field.

 

Annual Report 2009-2010

Click here to download the Annual Report 2009-2010.

 

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