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Community Center

Welcome!

Vision Loss Resources offers monthly recreational, educational, and social activities to our clients with vision impairment or blindness. From a private tour of a museum, to dinner club at a favorite restaurant; from card games and book clubs to dance lessons, knitting, quilting, and pottery, we are interested in just about everything!

Would you like to join the fun? Read on! If you’re new to our services, please schedule an appointment with one of our specialists by calling (612) 871-2222.

Community Center Calendar, February and March 2018

February: Calendar Grid of Activities or Listing of Activities

March: Calendar Grid of Activities or Listing of Activities

Register, Questions, and Cancellations: Call or Email 612-843-3439   rsvp@vlrw.org

RSVPing for events in March will begin 7:00 AM on Monday, February 26th.

To listen to an audio version of the calendar, call the Activity Line at 612-253-5155.

Please RSVP for all activities every month. We ask that you RSVP at least 3 working days prior to event to ensure that we have enough registered participants, supplies, and volunteers.

Severe Weather Days: Please call the VLR Weather Hotline at 612-284-8107 to see if VLR offices and activities are open for that day. The hotline will be updated by 6:00 AM if VLR is closing for severe weather. Participants who have RSVPd for a class will also be notified.

Welcome Sharon!

Please join us in welcoming Sharon Karas to the role of part-time Community Center Specialist! She will be taking on the planning and facilitation of many Community Center activities, such as Supper Club/Lunch Bunch and outings, so please give her a warm welcome! Sharon worked as a professional Social Worker for 37 years, and she has worked in the private and public sectors in a variety of fields. Sharon’s mother was a VLR client a few years ago and directly benefited from our services. Jen Roehl will be completing her transition to focus on Volunteer Management (though you’ll still see her around plenty!), and Christina Tucker will continue to be the behind-the-scenes Coordinator with calendar prep/RSVPs. Welcome to VLR, Sharon!

FEBRUARY EVENTS:

*Abbreviations: MPLS=Minneapolis, SP=St Paul

 2/20 (T): Tech: Using Be My Eyes

10:00-12:00. In MPLS. Cost: $10.00

Be My Eyes is an app that connects blind and visually impaired with sighted volunteers from around the world via live video call. Come learn how to use this useful tool to use, on both Android and iPhone. Please have your email/phone password on hand.

2/21 (W): Continuing Education

11:15-12:30. In MPLS. No charge.

Join us as we listen to a TED talk and then have a discussion afterwards about the topic. We will be listening to “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brené Brown. She studies human connection–our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. Everyone is welcome!

2/22 (TH): Fitness is Fun!

5:30-6:30. In MPLS. No charge.

Get your body moving in our fitness center and stay on track with your fitness goals. Work on the various equipment and get guided instruction and ideas on how to improve your health through exercise. All levels of experience are welcome!

2/23 (F): Pottery

10:00-12:00. In MPLS. Cost: $5.00

Join us as we work on hand-built clay projects. Come make plates, cups, or create whatever comes to the imagination. No experience necessary.

2/26 (M): Cribbage

12:00-2:00. In MPLS. Cost: $1.00

(Moved to 4th Monday due to President’s Day.) Come in and enjoy some coffee and cards.

2/26 (M): Cooking Class and Supper

5:00-7:00. In SP. Cost: $5.00

Geetha Rajesh, who currently works for State Services for the Blind, is volunteering to teach a cooking class. For our first gathering, we will be making traditional South Indian dishes, specifically rice, chicken curry and mango lassi, a beverage and dessert. Geetha will help us prepare and cook the food as well as share stories of her life and the history of South Indian food. We hope to make this a regular event. We will eat what we make for supper. We would like to have two people who would be willing to come a half an hour earlier (4:30) to assist with the preparation. Max: 12

2/27 (T): Tech: New Accessibility Apps & Tech

10:00-12:00. In MPLS. Cost: $10.00

Come learn about new accessibility apps and technologies now available for low vision and blind users. There may be some useful new options for you! Please have your email/phone password on hand.

2/27 (T): Outing: Minneapolis Institute of Art Tour

12:45-2:00. No charge.

This popular tour is back and we’re going to the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) to touch works of art while wearing stylish gloves. Receive more in-depth knowledge and fun facts about the works of art that grace this museum via three-dimensional objects, verbal description, and tactile diagrams. Enter through the 3rd Ave entrance and meet in the lobby. Space is limited. Please plan your pick-up ride for 2pm-2:15pm. Max: 10. Address: Mia, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis 55404

2/28 (W): The Learning Lab Focus Group

10:00-12:00. In MPLS.

The Learning Lab wants to hear from you! Join us for a focus group discussion. You will be asked to share what technologies you use to make life easier, safer, healthier, and fun! Each person will receive a $25 gift card for their participation. Max: 10

MARCH EVENTS:

*Abbreviations: MPLS=Minneapolis, SP=St Paul

3/1 (TH): 500 Cards

10:00-12:00. In MPLS. Cost: $1.00

Enjoy some coffee and cards. Also meets on the 22nd.

3/1 (TH): Yoga

10:00-11:00. In MPLS. No charge.

Stretch out your limbs in an introduction to yoga class! This class will focus on proper body alignment, finding your balance in postures, and breathing techniques that will encourage you to be empowered in accessing the inner wisdom of your own body. This class is an hour long and all levels are welcomed. Please arrive 10 minutes early to discuss any needs or questions you may have. Also meets on the 15th. Max: 5.

3/1 (TH): Fitness is Fun!

5:30-6:30. In MPLS. No charge.

Fitness is moving to the first Thursdays of the month! Get your body moving in our fitness center and stay on track with your fitness goals. Work on the various equipment and get guided instruction and ideas on how to improve your health through exercise. All levels of experience are welcome!

3/5 (M): Games Extravaganza

10:00-12:00. In MPLS. Cost: $1.00

Come for lively fun with board and trivia games. There’s plenty of time for games, laughter, conversation, and a light snack.

3/6 (T): Tech 101: Using Facebook

10:00-12:00. In SP. Cost: $10.00

Want to learn how to use the popular Facebook app on your phone? Come to the Saint Paul office for this class and learn how! Please have your email/phone password on hand.

3/7 (W): 3Fs: Fabric, Fiber, and Friends

1:00-3:30. In MPLS. No charge.

Do you enjoy knitting, crocheting, quilting, or creative hobbies? Then come in and bring your own project to work on as you enjoy the company of others. We donate many of our handmade items to local charities! This group also meets on the 14th21st, and 28th.

3/8 (TH): Massage & Spa Day

11:00-12:30. In MPLS. No charge.

Join us for a relaxing spa event at VLR. We will have massage therapists from HealthSource Chiropractic & Progressive Wellness providing 10 minute chair massages. While you wait, we will also have other relaxing activities, music and healthy snacks for you to enjoy. Come join us for a relaxing time at VLR. Max: 12

3/12 (M): Walking Group

9:00-11:30. No charge.

Come join your friends as we walk for an hour, break for coffee and conversation, then walk for another hour at your own pace, paired with your own volunteer. It’s a fun, easy way to get up and moving! Space limited. Address: Door 13, Southdale Mall, Edina

3/12 (M): Hearts

12:00-2:00. In MPLS. Cost: $1.00

Come in and enjoy some coffee and cards.

3/13 (T): Advanced Tech: Navigation Apps

10:00-12:00. In MPLS. Cost: $10.00

Need help getting around town? Come to learn about some neat navigation apps to help you traverse the streets safely and get you where you need to go! This more advanced class is at the Minneapolis office. Please have your email/phone password on hand.

3/13 (T): Movie Matinee

12:30-2:45. In MPLS. Cost: $1.00

Join us for a fun movie matinee, with popcorn. We will be playing the musical movie La La Land (PG-13). Aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) scrapes by playing cocktail-party gigs in dingy bars. But as success mounts, they are faced with decisions that fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart. The film’s original musical score and musical numbers helped win 6 Academy Awards for this film in February 2017.

3/14 (W): Reader’s Choice Book Club

1:00-2:30. In MPLS. No charge.

On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed a remarkable emergency landing when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger skillfully glided US Airways Flight 1549 onto the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew. His cool actions not only averted tragedy, but made him a hero. Our book for March is “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters” by Chesley Sullenberger (DB069797).

3/14 (W): BINGO

5:00-7:00. In MPLS. Cost: $1.00

Everyone loves BINGO! Bring your friends and family for a night that is sure to be fun.

3/15 (TH): Calendar Assembly

9:00-11:00. In MPLS. No charge. Treats served.

Join the many helping hands that work together to assemble the Community Center Calendar mailing.

3/15 (TH): Craft: Boxes into Baskets

1:00-3:00. In SP. Cost: $5.00

We found this practical craft idea on Pinterest. We will turn ordinary boxes into lovely open storage baskets for your bathroom, kitchen, etc. The size of basket will be yours to determine. Think about what you’d like to contain in your home… magazines, toiletries, makeup, toilet paper, mail… anything. We will have as many possible sizes as possible. Snacks will be served and no crafting experience is necessary. Space limited.

3/16 (F): Balance Class

1:00-2:00. In SP. Cost: $5.00

Strength, balance, and physical endurance are sure to improve with this class. Each class will consist of strength training, cardiovascular and balance exercises all designed for the unique needs of seniors. Interested in preventing falls, building strength and improving flexibility, then come and see if it is a good fit for you. Our Trainer, Angela, is able to change-up the exercises to individual needs, and also important, she keeps it fun!

3/19 (M): Cribbage

12:00-2:00. In MPLS. Cost: $1.00

Come in and enjoy some coffee and cards.

3/20 (T): Tech 101: Using Bluetooth Keyboards & Speakers

10:00-12:00. In MPLS. Cost: $10.00

Want to add some wireless add-ons to your device, such as speakers or a keyboard? Learn how at this class in Minneapolis! Please have your email/phone password on hand.

3/20 (T): Lunch Bunch

11:30-1:30.

Join us for lunch at Market Grille in Oakdale, just west of I-694, on 10th St. North. Market Grille is part of the HyVee store but a separate restaurant. The menu offers many options of burgers and sandwiches, salads, pasta and other entrees. They also have Asian-inspired items, including sushi. And they offer full bar service. It is a comfortable and pleasant space with a generous area for our large group. Salads start at $7, burgers and sandwiches start at $10, pastas at $10. Due to the size of our group, gratuity will automatically be added to each bill. Please plan your pick-up rides for 1:30 pm-1:45 pm. Address: 7180 10th St. North, Oakdale, MN 55128  (Attached to Oakdale HyVee)

3/21 (W): Continuing Education

11:15-12:30. In MPLS. No charge.

Join us for a presentation by Liz Anderson from the Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science (CATSS).  The vision of CATSS is to harness the University of Minnesota’s world-leading scientific expertise in sensory science to tackle the problems faced by millions of people with sensory deficits, such as low vision or hearing loss. Come learn about state-of-the art technology, rehabilitation, accessibility, and accommodations that are being developed in our own backyard in Minnesota.

3/23 (F): Pottery

10:00-12:00. In SP. Cost: $5.00.

Join us as we work on hand-built clay projects. Come make plates, cups, or create whatever comes to the imagination. No experience necessary.

3/23 (F): Outing: Como Park Conservatory

1:00-2:30. Cost: $5.00

Join us at the Como Park Conservatory in St. Paul for a self-guided tour of the gardens (with assistance from staff and volunteers). A Minnesota treasure of wonderful plant smells and sounds in the middle of winter. These include the Sunken Garden, North Garden, Palm Dome, the Fern Room and the Bonsai Collection. We can end the tour at the Tropical Encounters exhibit where we walk through a neo-tropical rainforest environment, exploring the relationships between plants and animals. Guests will encounter free-roaming birds, and freshwater stingrays, giant river turtles, frogs, toads and fish (all in tanks), as well as Chloe the sloth. Please plan your pick-up rides for 2:30 pm-2:45 pm. Address: 1325 Aida Place, Saint Paul 55103

3/27 (T): Advanced Tech: Social Media – Twitter, Periscope, and Instagram

10:00-12:00. In MPLS. Cost: $10.00

Want to be more connected to friends and family? Learn about social media platforms such as Twitter, Periscope, and Instagram where you can share written posts, photos, videos and more! This more advanced tech class is at the Minneapolis office. Please have your email/phone password on hand.

COMING ATTRACTIONS AT VLR:

Caregiver Support Groups at VLR

Contact Megan at 612-843-3416 with questions.

Thursday Meditation at VLR Minneapolis

Join us for a brief, free meditation session every Thursday at VLR in Minneapolis from 12:10-about 12:30. Our practice features a brief guided meditation, followed by a short discussion. No experience required, no commitment expected! Just stop in if you are available. Please arrive early to avoid disrupting. Questions? Contact James (jamesa@vlrw.org) or Mary Ellen (marye@vlrw.org).

VLR Low Vision Support Groups

VLR offers numerous low vision support groups in the Twin Cities for individuals to meet for support, comradery, and information. Want to get connected? Contact us at 651-224-7662. You may be asked to complete a free in-home assessment before attending so we can get to know you and match you to the right group!

Independent Living Skills Course at VLR

Need some help learning how to manage your vision loss? Take our 4-week Independent Living Skills course, which covers the Emotional Impact of Vision Loss, Orientation and Mobility, Technology and Communication, Organization & Labeling, Writing, Ways to Enhance Remaining Vision, Food Prep Techniques, and Money Management. Lunch is provided.

February Dates: Thursdays February 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd from 10am to 3pm at our St. Paul location.

March Dates: Thursdays March 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd from 10am to 3pm at our St. Paul location.

To register: Call 651-224-7662. Ask about transportation options!

EVENTS IN THE COMMUNITY:

 Snow Shoveling for Seniors

The Senior Linkage Line (1-800-333-2433) can connect seniors to snow shoveling assistance. For more resources for seniors who also have disabilities, you can call the Disability Linkage line at 1-866-333-2466.

Ride-Sharing Transportation Survey

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) is conducting a web survey investigating how individuals that are blind or visually impaired perceive the safety of transportation network companies (TNCs), such as companies like Uber or Lyft (sometimes referred to as ride sharing companies) relative to other travel modes. The research will also seek to identify how this community utilizes TNCs for safe mobility. Link to survey: https://goo.gl/JSBbtE.

Breast Cancer and Low Vision Research Opportunity

St. Cloud State University and the MammaCare Foundation are conducting an ongoing research study on vision, Braille, and breast cancer detection skills.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Women, ages 18-65
  • Any level of vision
  • Any history of reading Braille
  • No personal history of breast cancer or breast examination training

Participation will include:

  • A brief (10-15 minute) phone interview
  • Two (2) office sessions lasting approximately 1 hour each
  • One (1) office session lasting approximately 2-3 hours

Eligible participants will receive training in the MammaCare method of breast examination, considered the industry standard for training nurses and doctors to manually detect breast cancer. Interested? Contact Dr. Michele Traub at mtraub@stcloudstate.edu or at (320) 308-2043 for more information.

VIP Water Aerobics Class at Courage Kenny

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley is offering a water aerobics class for the visually impaired and any sighted helpers. For more information, please call Courage Kenny at 612-775-2499.

Beep Baseball 2018

Come join the 15th year of recreational beep ball (a baseball-like game adapted for the visually-impaired)! No charge. For more information, call Coach Dennis Stern, 651-452-5324.

Blind and Low Vision Computer Users Group

This group meets every month at various locations to discuss many relevant technology topics! Contact: Bill Herzog at 612 408-9415 or Bill.herzog@hennepin.us.

The Blind Fellowship Outreach

Free monthly event for the visually-impaired of all denominations. Enjoy a free meal, Bible study, friendship, and music. 2nd Saturdays from 12:00-2:00 at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3430 E 51st Street, Minneapolis. Please RSVP about 2 weeks prior to an event by calling 612-729-5463. Contact: Carol Zemke at: 612-799-5782 or czemke@usa.net

VSA Minnesota

has a list of audio-described, ASL-interpreted, and sensory-friendly plays, concerts, exhibits, tours, and special events in the Twin Cities. Contact them at 612-332-3888 or email access@vsamn.org for more information. The calendar is online at http://vsamn.org/community/calendar

COMMUNITY CENTER POLICIES:

RSVP and Cancellation Policy: You must RSVP for all activities. We ask that you RSVP at least 3 working days prior to event to ensure that we have enough registered participants, supplies, and volunteers. Registrants will be notified when classes are canceled due to low enrollment or weather conditions.

RSVP line: 612-843-3439 or rsvp@vlrw.org

VLR Hours: Please schedule your Metro pickups as close to the activity end time as possible. VLR’s hours are 8:00am-4:30pm Monday-Friday (except when there are evening classes and activities). Please schedule your pick-ups before the building closes. Thank you!

Severe Weather Days: Please call the VLR Weather Hotline at 612-284-8107 to see if VLR offices and activities are open for that day. The hotline will be updated by 6:00 AM if VLR is closing for severe weather. Participants who have RSVPd for a class will also be notified.

Refund Policy: All events that need to be pre-paid are marked on the calendar. To hold your spot for these events, we must receive your money. If you need to cancel when a ticket is purchased in advance, you will be charged for the ticket unless someone on the waiting list can take your place. If you need to cancel please call the RSVP line at 612-843-3439 or email rsvp@vlrw.org.

Scholarships: No one is denied participation due to inability to pay. Full and partial scholarships are available. Please leave your scholarship request on the RSVP line.

Visitor Sign-in: Please sign-in and sign-out at the front desk in MPLS.

Photo Policy: When you attend an event at VLR, your image may be recorded for use by VLR. This use may include printed media, social media, or online uses. If you have any questions about this Policy, please contact Iris at VLR: 612-843-3425.

VLR CONTACT INFORMATION:

Sharon Karas—Community Center Specialist, 612-843-3429, sharonk@vlrw.org

Christina Tucker— Community Services Program Coordinator, 612-843-3419, christina@vlrw.org

Jen Roehl—Volunteer Manager, 612-843-3421, jen@vlrw.org

Minneapolis Office: 1936 Lyndale Ave S. 55403

Main Line: 612-871-2222

St. Paul Office: 216 S Wabasha St., 55107

Phone: 651-224-7662

Please note: For those being dropped off, parking, or needing an accessible ramp at the Saint Paul office, please use the back entrance (215 Starkey St).

Activity Line: 612-253-5155 to listen to an audio version of the calendar.

RSVP: 612-843-3439 or rsvp@vlrw.org

Website: www.visionlossresources.org