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 James Supra Blues Band with Sarah Ayers, 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 James Supra Blues Band with Sarah Ayers teams two of the area’s most celebrated musicians – singer/songwriter Sarah Ayers and standout singer and harmonica player James Supra. 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.

 
  • Keep Current!

    If you wish to keep up-to-date with Center for Vision Loss news, please share your e-mail address with us.