Sight Center works for blind, vision-impairedWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sight Center of Northwest Ohio continues to provide valuable services to more than 1,000 residents annually who are blind or visually impaired.
The Sight Center’s blend of vision rehabilitation services offers help and hope for continued independent living among people of all ages who are blind or vision-impaired, according to Dawn Christensen, executive director.
“We minimize the incidence of blindness through education and prevention. We feel that raising awareness of the blind and vision-impaired while raising funds serves both purposes,” Christensen said.
The Sight Center conducted its third annual White Cane Walk in October as its primary public education and fundraising event of the year. The event raised $12,000 to fund services at the Sight Center, more than the $9,000 raised in 2009, according to Sarah Krockmalny, development director.
The fun, family-friendly event had about 120 participants take advantage of a chance to walk in the shoes of a person who is blind while raising funds to help the Sight Center serve its clients.
This year, the Whitmer High School Drama Club participated in preparation for its December performance of the “Miracle Worker,” a play about Helen Keller.
“For our third year, the results are incredible,” Christensen said.
The organization’s fundraising efforts have allowed it to offer some new programs in 2010, she said.
The Sight Center added a new program for vocational services for 14-to 21-year-old youth. The Summer Youth Employment program provides training and a four-week work experience for 14 youth with three young adults being employed permanently.
The funds have allowed the organization to hire two new staff members within the past month. Dani Moran joined the Sight Center as children’s case manager, a new position to network with social workers, schools and other agencies, educating them about the center and connecting people in need with resources.
The Sight Center also hired Kevin Dobens, who is blind, to ramp up the Assisted Technology Program for people who need assistance with technology that will help them function better at home and work. Dobens will work with clients to evaluate their needs and provide training on technical equipment that could help them.
“A lot of people have heard of the Sight Center but don’t really know what we do here. A lot of people in need of our services don’t know about us and what we offer,” Christensen said.
The Sight Center serves residents in 16 counties of Northwest Ohio through its headquarters in Toledo and a satellite location in Findlay.
Almost 60 percent of the people served are 65 years and older while 15 percent are between 36 and 65 and another 12 percent are from birth to age 17. Almost 60 percent of the people served are residents of Lucas County, the largest in population within its territory.
The center obtains about 33 percent of its funds from contributions, bequests and donations, 21 percent from grants, 21 percent from fees for services and 11 percent each from investment income and funds from United Way, according to its 2009 annual report.
The Sight Center uses 75 percent of its budget for program services, 17 percent for fundraising and 8 percent for management and general costs. The center is guided by its strategic plan adopted by its board of directors. It makes changes and develops programs based on the community’s needs and the strategic plan, Christensen said.
“That’s our road map for the entire agency,” she said.
The center adopted a new mission statement in 2010, “We enrich the lives of individuals with vision loss by providing personalized services.”
The Sight Center is a nonprofit 501(c)3 United Way agency that was founded in 1923 as the Toledo Society for the Blind. It is accredited by the National Accreditation Council of Agencies serving the Blind and Visually Impaired and is an approved charity by the Better Business Bureau. For more information, visit www.sightcentertoldeo.org.
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