Vision Resources ended 2016 with a flurry of activity which included starting a new business as a sub-contractor manufacturing tile. The organization also had a very successful Evening in the Shadows fundraiser; completed and printed, in-house for the first time, the Vision Resources annual report; mailed the annual end-of-the-year fundraising solicitation; and submitted several strategic grant requests. This all required a little more “juggling skills” than usual.
Fortunately, the New Year has allowed us to do some catching-up and the first month of the year has offered a wonderful response from donors, of all kinds. If you would like to join these generous contributors your gift will be appreciated. Together, each and every contribution, no matter what the size, will help to make a difference for the mission of Vision Resources. THANKS!
White Cane Safety Day in the United States
In 1963, the National Federation of the Blind called upon the governors from every state to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day. At the time, only a few people achieved enough independence to travel alone on busy highways. The United States Congress, by joint resolution approved on October 6, 1964, designated October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day. This special day celebrates blind and visually impaired people’s achievements in the United States on October 15 every year. It also reminds people about the how the white cane is an important tool in helping the blind and the visually impaired live with greater independence.
“Blind people are just like seeing people in the dark. The loss of sight does not impair the qualities of the mind and heart.”
The above quote is from Helen Keller, American author, political activist, lecturer and the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Ms. Keller is being remembered by Vision Resources for her spirit and independence, and for the contributions she made to society. She broke new ground and forged new paths for blind individuals everywhere. Her life and legacy should be remembered and revisited, always.
This year during the month of June, we invite you to honor Helen Keller and your non-profit community benefit agency, Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania, with a financial gift. Ms. Keller was born June 27, 1880. A tribute to her life will be presented by Harrisburg Mayor Papenfuse with a special proclamation recognizing she remains an inspiration to the world for her tireless work, despite her own vision and hearing challenges. Vision Resources is committed to carrying on her “vision” and raise the quality of life of those who are blind, visually impaired or face other disability challenges. This year marks 95 years of service to the communities of our region for this agency.
“Every one of us is blind and deaf until our eyes are opened to our fellowmen, until our ears hear the voice of humanity.”
If you can give a gift to support the mission of Vision Resources and the memory of this extraordinary woman it will be appreciated and used wisely. Our organization will celebrate the occasion of
Ms. Keller’s birthday, June 27, to publicly announce the total contributions received during the month. Gifts can be made securely online at www.vrocp.org, or you may mail a check to Vision Resources, 1130 South 19th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104-2912. Together we will continue to make a difference, thanks.
In January 1921 the first religious service radio broadcast in the United States on, KDKA-Pittsburgh. The same station broadcast the first radio baseball game in August of the same year. The game featured the Pirates-Phillies from Forbes Field. 1921 also saw the historic inauguration of Warren G. Harding as the 29th President of the United States and our country formally ending World War I, declaring a peace with Germany. It was also the first year of service to the blind and visually impaired for Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania.
For 95 years the non-profit organization has survived a series of name changes, locations, and an expanding area of responsibility that now includes Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin and Perry counties. Vision Resources has also remained determined to be as self sufficient as possible offering business opportunities and employment to persons with a variety disability challenges. The businesses began with such hand-production objects as brooms and aprons, but today include many sophisticated ventures as printing, bulk mail services, warehousing and fulfillment, commercial janitorial services, and commercial carpet and flooring installations.
The programs and services side of Vision Resources continues to grow as well, keeping pace with the increase of eye diseases and client needs of a growing older population. Today the Prevention Department conducts thousands of free eye screenings for pre-school children and adults, and eye safety seminars. Case-management specialists provide one-on-one assistance to a portfolio of clients that would be house-bound without their help. Vision Resources has professional doctors to operate the in-house Eye Clinic and Vision Rehab Center. Clients are taught how to use new computer and touch-technologies. And Reading Services provides 24 hour radio programming expressly chosen for the blind and print impaired community. This service is available in single frequency radio units, part-time on the Comcast Community Channel, and via streaming on the computer or over wifi devices.
Another landmark during 1921 was the birth of the first U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth, John Glenn, who later became a U.S. Senator from Ohio. Senator Glenn was unafraid to reach for the stars in both of his careers and achieved great success. Vision Resources has also remained steadfast and determined to be successful as we work to raise the quality of life for many of our most at-risk individuals. As a respected and viable community benefits organization for 95 years, Vision Resources too, continues to reach for the stars.
by Paul Zavinsky, Director of Development and Public Relations
From everyone at Vision Resources: “Happy New Year” to all of our friends and supporters. If you are one of the many individuals that made a contribution at the end of the year, “thank you so much”. Every contribution is important especially with the fate of a state budget still lingering more than 6 months after it was due.
You may remember from the agency’s annual appeal letter it was mentioned that although Vision Resources receives only about 4% of its revenue from the state, it is a critical sum that the organization relies upon. Just as important, an even larger struggle has ensued for the agency because the budget stalemate has interrupted state contract negotiations for some of the agency businesses. These contracts allow Vision Resources to be self-sufficient to a great extent, raising approximately 80% of its own revenues through a variety of business services, and employing persons with disabilities.
Entering into 2016, we feel very fortunate that the programs and services we maintain for the blind and visually impaired have not been interrupted. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for some of our business services and the prospect of moving forward on “thin ice” leaves us all feeling a little uncomfortable. However, knowing so many generous and passionate individuals continue to support Vision Resources helps to keep us steadfast in our mission.
If you have a business, please contact us to see what we might do for you.
If you are looking for rewarding volunteer opportunities please contact us.
Or if you would like to begin the new year with a tax deductible gift you may mail a check to Vision Resources, 1130 S. 19th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104-2912, or make a secure online contribution by visiting www.vrocp.org, and thanks!
Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania always appreciates the kind words we receive from patients, or family members. This is an example of one message we received:
To everyone who goes above and beyond to make the lives of the blind and visually impaired dignified, functional and enjoyable-
Dear Ms. Blank,
About a month ago I brought my father into the building to get to know how things “worked”. After interrupting countless employees’ day, we left with a radio and subscription for a free library service. Everyone was wonderful to dad and he was so relieved and impressed. I was and am so grateful! You do a fantastic job and I hope this helps a bit (donation). The radio is a life-saver. Thank you!
Reading services and our radio broadcast for the blind and visually impaired is just one of the services Vision Resources provides the communities of Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin and Perry counties. For more information please visit our web site at www.vrocp.org or call 717-238-2351 to schedule a tour.
Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania (VROCP) will celebrate White Cane & Guide Dog Safety Day on Thursday, October 15, 2015 to raise public awareness of these important mobility tools for people who are blind or visually impaired. In Pennsylvania, and across the nation, the day celebrates the independence of people who are blind or visually impaired. VROCP will be participating in the Penbrook Halloween Parade October 15th, at 7:00 p.m. and distributing special information about White Cane Laws to the public.
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson first proclaimed October 15th as “White Cane Safety Day.” The original purpose was a safety reminder to promote courtesy and special consideration to blind people who are navigating America’s streets and roadways. Since this first observance, White Cane Safety Day has taken on greater meaning as a time to celebrate the self-sufficiency of people who are blind or visually impaired and their right to participate fully in society. Vision Resources’ observance of White Cane Safety Day continues that tradition, focusing on the independence of people who are blind or visually impaired with the white cane as a symbol of that independence.
“Vision Resources events seek to heighten awareness about the lives of individuals who are blind and visually impaired in our communities, and the degree of autonomy they achieve through rehabilitation and training”, said Danette Blank, agency Executive Director. “We hope that sighted individuals will learn something new about the white cane, guide dogs, and the people who use them.”
Pennsylvania’s White Cane Law states:“The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any totally or partially blind pedestrian carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog and shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring or endangering the pedestrian and, if necessary, shall stop thevehicle in order to prevent injury or danger to the pedestrian.”
It is September and the Pennsylvania state budget has yet to be finalized. The delay is having a financial effect on non-profits across the region, including Vision Resources. Our agency is fortunate to have our own businesses and other means of generating revenue to sustain our services for our blind and visually impaired clients. To raise some additional capital Vision Resources mailed a special appeal to donors this month. So far the letter has had a nice response of contributions and we want to say “thank you” to everyone that has made a gift. The agency also had its first “house-cleaning” yard sale on Friday the 18th; over $1,400 was raised!
September is also when we like to honor all of the selfless volunteers that help to make all we do possible. In the last fiscal year for Vision Resources our volunteers provided over 5,100 hours of service. Each year we like to give special recognition to some of the volunteers for their service. This year we have chosen to honor:
Vision Resources is extremely proud to share in some amazing experiences over the years that have helped Lucas on his journey. He is an incredible young man and we wish him all the best in college!
Cedar Cliff graduate prepares for college in a special way
By: Kyle Rogers
HARRISBURG, Pa. — As college freshman descend upon their new campuses come the fall, Lucas Leiby has been preparing for most of the summer for the equipment he needs to succeed.
Unlike the majority of his college classmates, Leiby’s computer will require special software and he’s nervous for the time when he’ll need to ask for help.
Leiby, 18, is visually-impaired, but it’s not how he defines himself.
“I have black hair. I’m half-Korean,” Leiby said. “It’s just part of who I am.”
Since February, Leiby has been meeting with Londa Peterson with the non-profit Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania.
“He expects to go out there and figure it out and do it,” Peterson said.
Peterson, who’s also blind, helps teach those with visual impairments on how to use a computer. She’s been working with Leiby to make sure he can use the technology required, from computers with specialized software and an embosser machine which prints Braille.
“We just want to be like everyone else without forgetting we are unique individuals,” Leiby said.
“I think the more and more we move towards computers and technology in general, the more opportunity for success for people with disabilities such as blindness will have,” Leiby said.
Leiby said he will be an undeclared major when he begins taking classes, but hopes to end up in music education. He said being blind has helped him.
“I like being in this situation because I’m able to think in a different way that I think sighted people just can’t,” said Leiby.
He’ll be heading to Rider University later this month.
One way we make a difference… Nancy Altemose, Director of Services, came to me following our last support group meeting to mention that one of our members, Ruth Barnes, who is almost 88 years old, wanted to say how pleased she was with the Visiting Artist that entertained that day. His name is Ben Nebroski and Ruth said “she so enjoyed his story-telling; he has such a way of telling a story” that it touched her. She also liked how he “got everyone’s attention between stories by playing his flute”.
This opened a conversation about other Visiting Artists and the support group in general. Ruth said she has thoroughly enjoyed all of the other artists, especially the harpist, a member of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra because she said, “the music brought back memories childhood”…pleasant memories. She also mentioned that the other person that made an influence on her was our visiting Tai Chi instructor. He taught, in order to learn or practice the discipline of Tai Chi one must learn how to breathe correctly. So he demonstrated to the members how to breathe and relax. Ruth was very excited to say, “she has been applying the techniques since the class and has seen improvements, and feels it has helped her and her heart condition”. She said she would like to see this instructor return to teach some simple movement exercises.
When I mentioned I would see her in August for the next support group session she remarked, “that is so far away”. She said that because she said the sessions are so important to her to be able to come to Vision Resources, learn and try new things that are not available to her where she resides. She also likes the time to socialize with her peers and she “so very much appreciates the VROCP staff and all that the organization does to make her life better”.