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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, December 2018


 A Quote for the Month

“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.”- Erma Bombeck

VLR News

After lengthy discussion with our board and staff, and listening to your comments about our space, we have determined that our current building limits our ability to serve you in the best way possible. As a result, we are working on a plan to sell our Lyndale Avenue building and move into a more program-friendly location. We have hired a real estate agent who will help us determine the best path forward in sales process.

At this time, we don’t know how long it will take to sell our Lyndale & Franklin building. We don’t have a specific date when we will need to move. Our building in St. Paul is not for sale.

We are committed to making the move to a new space as smooth as possible to ensure minimal disruption to our services. We are excited to continue to learn from you, our staff and our volunteers about your future space needs so that we can continue to serve you in the best way possible. Watch for more information as this process moves forward.

Kate Grathwol, President/CEO

Holiday Hours

VLR offices will be closed on Monday, December 24th, Tuesday, December 25th and Tuesday, January 1st.

Important: Report Your Monthly Hours!

Every month please go to this reporting page and follow the link to print your own timesheet.  You may also email or call Jen at 612-843-2583 and leave a message with your hours. Please turn in mileage in a timely manner. Mileage submitted after 3 months will no longer be eligible for reimbursement. Thank you for understanding.


We have a full calendar of outings and activities.  Can you help?  Please call or email  Many activities fill up rapidly!

12/10  Walking Group       9:00-11:30        Door 13, Southdale Mall, Edina            3 volunteers

Partner up with a visually-impaired individual and get some light exercise. We walk the mall for an hour, stop for coffee and conversation, and then walk for another hour.

12/10  Bell Museum Show   1:45-4:45               Bell Museum, St. Paul                    5 volunteers 

Volunteers especially needed! Help our clients get to and from classrooms and the planetarium where they will be observing a new audio-described show and they will then provide feedback to the staff to help create a new program at the museum.

12/12  Bingo                        5:00-700            VLR in Minneapolis                                1 volunteer

A fun evening of bingo.  Help call bingo numbers, assist clients and have lots of fun!

12/13 Cookie Exchange & Bake-Off     1:00-2:30       VLR in Minneapolis             3 volunteers

Help out with the tasty festivities, such as setting up plates of cookies and distributing to guests!  Enjoy live music and caroling, as well!

12/19  Supper Club            5:00-7:00       Cherokee Tavern, Saint Paul                    3 volunteers

Read the menu aloud to participants, help with seating, and enjoy some tasty food. Please save your receipt and send it in when you report your hours.  VLR will reimburse you $10 towards your meal when you turn in your hours and receipt!

12/20 Craft                           1:00-3:00                   VLR in Saint Paul                            2 volunteers

Help participants create unique craft projects.  No experience is necessary.

12/28 Pottery                      10:00-12:00               VLR in Saint Paul                            2 volunteers

Help participants create hand-built pottery items.  No experience is necessary.


We have a list of people waiting for volunteers for the following Reader and Shopper roles in the Twin Cities.  Volunteers assist clients with household reading and paperwork and with grocery shopping or errands.  This is a personal way to make a big impact on someone’s independence.  Volunteers set their own schedule and work on an on-going basis with the same person.  This is an important way to make a connection with your community. Can you help?

Participant Location: Volunteer Role Needed:
Bloomington Shopper
Bloomington Reader
Chanhassen Reader
Lake Elmo Reader
Maplewood Shopper & Reader
Maplewood Reader
Maplewood Walker
Minneapolis/Northeast Reader
Richfield Shopper
Roseville Shopper
Roseville Shopper & Reader
Shoreview Reader & Walking
South St. Paul Shopper
St. Paul/Riverview Area Shopper
Stillwater Shopper & Reader


Vision Loss Resources is here to help!

Call us at 612-871-2222 to learn more about affordable services, including: a free Initial Visit with comprehensive, professional evaluation and resources, recommendations on lighting and adaptive equipment, continued instruction on adaptive techniques for living independently, and digital literacy classes for older adults. We also have a vibrant Community Center, Support Groups, Independent Living Skills Course, and Peer Mentoring services. We do not require a doctor’s referral, health insurance, or a specific diagnosis.  We serve anyone in the 9-county metro area whose vision loss impacts their ability to perform the activities they need or want to do. Call us for more info!


I have a friend, family member, or colleague who may be interested in volunteering. How do I get them started?

Ask them to contact us!  Email or call 612-871-2222. We’ll get them started with the application process and get them matched with a participant or activity!

What is Volunteer Reimbursement for Mileage & Transportation Expenses all about?

Who is eligible?

Vision Loss Resources Volunteers are eligible for mileage reimbursement.  Volunteers who use Metro Mobility or other mass transit to travel to and from their volunteer assignment are also eligible to request reimbursement.

What is eligible?

Your mileage reimbursement request must be part of an active volunteer assignment.  When you report your volunteer hours, indicate your round-trip miles or mass transit costs to and from your volunteer assignment.  Other expenses may be eligible for reimbursement.  For example, if you join your client for an occasional coffee or snack, you can request reimbursement. Please ask if you are unsure.  You will be requested to submit receipts. Please turn in mileage in a timely manner. Mileage submitted after 3 months will no longer be eligible for reimbursement. Thank you for understanding.

Policy for Meal Reimbursement

In an effort to create a more sustainable Community Center and Volunteer Program, volunteers will be responsible for paying for their own meal at an activity (i.e. at Lunch Bunch, Supper Club, etc.).  Please save your receipt and send it in when you report your hours.  VLR will reimburse you $10 towards your meal!

When will I receive reimbursement?

Reimbursement checks are requested each month, the second week of the month.  (Volunteer hours are requested by the 5th day of the month.)  Checks are usually prepared and mailed the 3rd week of each month.  Please note: VLR’s Business Office prepares checks in rotation with payroll and other expenses.  This schedule is subject to change.  Additionally, reimbursement requests for less than $10.00 will be held until either the total request is greater than $10.00.  This policy reduces administrative costs.

If I’m coming to VLR, where do I park?

Minneapolis office: we have two parking lots available. The larger “lower lot” nearest to Lyndale is the closest to our front door.  Due to the nature of the intersection on Franklin & Lyndale, if you are coming from south on Lyndale, take a left on Franklin (westbound) and take the first right on Aldrich Ave S.  Follow to the end of the street and continue to the right down the hill to our lower lot.

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

How do I turn in my Volunteer Hours every month?

You may turn in your hours by sending a quick email to, calling, or by printing and mailing a timesheet (available at We appreciate receiving hours for reporting to our grants and annual reporting! Please turn them in by the 5th of the month!