Volunteers receiving light-up star awards included:
1. Amy Cincera–Annie’s Angel Award given to the volunteer who has made the greatest impace on improving a customer’s quality of life.
2. Ross Wasielke–Looking 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 Schiavone–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.
4. Dorothy Montero-Helen 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 Saylor–Helping Hands Community Outreach Award given to the volunteer who has worked the most hours in one year.
6. Cheryl Miller–Louis 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 Sheeler–Anne Sullivan Award given to the volunteer whose deep commitment to helping others exemplifies the spirit of Anne Sullivan’s teaching and friendship.
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!
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.
At the Center for Vision Loss Board of Directors meeting on November 14, 2012, Board President Bob Phillips announced some changes in board membership. Tom Reilly, Esq., Gross McGinley, announced that he was stepping down. The board thanked Tom for his long-time service-first to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Lehigh County and then to the Center for Vision Loss. He was instrumental in guiding the consolidation process in 2009 with Visual Impairment & Blindness Services in Northampton and Monroe Counties, provided legal guidance when needed and served as board co-President from 2011-2012. Tom will continue his agency involvement as a member of the Endowment Board.
Taking Tom’s place is Tyler Smith, an associate attorney in Gross McGinley’s Business Services practice group. Tyler graduated from Dickinson College with a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy and then earned his J.D. from The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2011.
The board also welcomed Lion Joseph Chunko. Joe is the Immediate Past District Governor of Lions District 14-K, and as a long-time member of the Hellertown Lions Club has always been a strong supporter of the services and programs of the Center for Vision Loss.
We congratulate all of these board members and look forward to working with them.
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.
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.
On Sunday, May 6, 2012, Center for Vision Loss held its Volunteer Appreciation Event in the agency offices in Allentown. Volunteers who gave their time as Annie’s Angels, office assistants, drivers, mall walk assistants and vision screeners were honored for the help they have provided to support the agency’s programs and services. Rita Lang, Manager of Innovative Programs, welcomed the group. She was assisted by Dawn Sellers, Prevention of Blindness Coordinator. Doug Yingling, Executive Director, also offered his thanks for the hundreds of hours provided by these agency friends.
Each volunteer received a Certificate of Appreciation. Four volunteers also received special awards: Longest Service–Lois Frederick, 42 years of service as a vision screener; Greatest Impact on a Customer’s Quality of Life–Lynn Shiavone, Annie’s Angels; Newest Vision Screener–Bernice Flynn; and Newest Volunteer–Steve Klegarth, four weeks of service.
The volunteers also had the opportunity to test their knowledge of the agency by answering questions in a fun quiz. Did you know that the agency mails 1,400 customer newsletters bimonthly (they are processed by our volunteer office assistants) or that the agency vision screens more than 5,000 children each year (staff and volunteer screeners work together in this effort)? Of course, such heavy thinking was accompanied by good food and drink set up by staff member Stephanie Houck.
If you are interested in becoming a Center for Vision Loss volunteer, please contact Rita Lang at 610-433-6018, x. 231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much needed rain was in the forecast for April 22, 2012, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the 140 participants and volunteer helpers in the Center for Vision Loss’s 6th Annual Basket Bingo & Brunch fundraiser at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem. All enjoyed the special Hotel Sunday buffet followed by 20 games of bingo featuring Longaberger products as prizes. In addition there were 47 raffle items that commanded the group’s attention.
We thank all of our Center for Vision Loss volunteers and staff for lending their hearts and hands before and during the event. And we could not have been so successful without the support of our community raffle item donors; Carol Dotta, our Longaberger consultant; and our sponsors: Inova Technologies; Lessig Oil & Propane; HMK Insurance; “Lifestyles Over 50″-Jeff Tintle; Allentown Optical Corp.; Minuteman Press of the Lehigh Valley; Yeager’s Fuel; Yocco’s, Inc. and Historic Hotel Bethlehem. You filled our basket in so many ways!
Beautiful Skytop Lodge in the Poconos was the setting for the Eighth Annual Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser Dinner on Thursday, July 28, 2011. This event that “epitomizes community collaboration and demosntrates the wondrous results of unified compassion” is supported and spearheaded by sanofi pasteur. This year the event raised more than $180,00 which was awarded to four non-profit agencies. And best of all, Center for Vision Loss’s project to implement a state-of-the-art vision screening device that will serve more than 3,300 Monroe County children took second place! For its efforts, Center for Vision Loss received $43,800 from the fundraiser and an additional $6,500 from sanofi pasteur.
Bob Philips, Center for Vision Loss board member and CEO of the Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce, was the master of ceremonies. More than 400 guests enjoyed the event’s signature dinner–a traditional New England-Style Lobster Bake– and the vibrant music of Exact Change. Doug Yingling, Executive Director; Karen Huetter, Development Director; Rita Lang, Manager of Innovative Programs; Cindi Starner, Monroe County Branch Coordinator; Nell Mayotte, Caseworker/Prevention of Blindness Vision Screener; Mary Lou Phillips, Receptionist; Michael Mandile, Monroe driver; and Ross Wasielke, member of agency board of directors and client represented the agency.
Center for Vision Loss wishes to thank the volunteers of the Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser Committe, sanofi pasteur, and event sponsors for choosing our project and continuing to recognize our vital work in the community. The agency, as Visual Impairment & Blindness Services, also won awards in 2005 and 2008. We also congratulate the evening’s other award recipients for their efforts to improve the lives of Monroe’s residents: Monroe County Youth Employment Services, Pocono Area Transitional Housing and Women’s Resources.