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



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



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.



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 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.



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 ( to create Arts & Access (, 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 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

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



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.

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