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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, February 2017

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

Welcome to February!

“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be… well, January.”

–Jim Gaffigan

 

Recurring Hours Sheet – Do you have consistent volunteer hours every month? Do you keep forgetting to turn them in?  Let us know, and we’ll add you to our Recurring Hours Sheet! We’ll automatically add your hours every month so you don’t have to send them in.  If anything changes for any reason, just send us an email or give us a call, and we’ll adjust your hours for that month.  Many of you are already on this list; thank you!  To be added to the Recurring Hours Sheet, please send an email to Jen at volunteer@vlrw.org or call 612-843-2583

 

VLR Volunteer Hours 2016

We are proud to report that VLR Volunteers reported over 8,700+ hours of volunteer work in 2016!  We are so grateful to each and every one of you for all you do for our organization and participants. THANK YOU!

 

Need a timesheet to report your volunteer hours?

For your convenience, a timesheet has been included in this month’s newsletter. For more in the future, go to http://visionlossresources.org/programs/volunteer/volunteer-hours-reporting and follow the link to print your own!  You may also email volunteer@vlrw.org or call Jen at 612-843-2583 and leave a message with your hours!

 

Announcement – VLR offices will be closed on Monday, February 20th for Presidents’ Day.

 

CURRENT ONGOING VOLUNTEER NEEDS

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 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:
Apple Valley Reader & Shopper
Minneapolis/Bancroft Area Shopper
Minneapolis/Stevens Square Area Reader
Burnsville Reader & Shopper
St. Paul Reader
NE Minneapolis Reader & Shopper
Minneapolis/Standish Area Reader & Shopper
Bloomington Reader
Wayzata Reader
Minneapolis/Armatage Area Shopper
New Hope Shopper
Shoreview Reader & Walking
Plymouth Reader
Maplewood Reader & Shopper
Minneapolis/Bryant Area Reader
Minneapolis/Kingfield Area Shopper

 

VOLUNTEER IN VLR’S COMMUNITY CENTER IN FEBRUARY!

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

2/1      Supper Club          5:00-7:00      Wok in the Park, Saint Louis Park   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!

2/6      Game Day              10:00-12:00             VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

Lively fun with board and trivia games.  Laughter, conversation, and snacks included!

2/8      BINGO!                   5:00-7:00                 VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

Everybody loves BINGO!  Help by guiding participants, handing out cards, and distributing prizes!

2/13    Walking Group: volunteers especially needed!       9:00-11:30  Door 13, Southdale Mall, Edina               6 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.

2/27    Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

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

 

SERVICES AT VISION LOSS RESOURCES

February Independent Living Skills Course at VLR

Do you know someone with vision loss that needs some training and practical tips about living with vision loss? We’re offer a 4-week Independent Living Skills Course in February. We go over a wide variety of low vision skills and adaptive techniques taught by experienced and encouraging instructors. We exchange ideas, tips and new product discoveries with fellow classmates on how to most easily accomplish daily tasks. This course 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. The classes will meet every Thursday in January from 10am to 3pm at our St. Paul location.  Lunch is provided.  Please call Kristin at 612-843-3415 to register for the Independent Living Skills course.  Class size is limited so call soon. Please also talk with us about transportation.

 

Vision Loss Resources is here to help!

Call us at 1-877-567-4944 to learn more about affordable services, including: an 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 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.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

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

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

Who is eligible?

A: 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?

A: 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.

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?

A: 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 or until the following month. This policy reduces administrative costs.

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

A: 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).

 Q: I know someone who may need services provided by Vision Loss Resources. How do I help get them started?

A: Wonderful! Please have them call our main line (612-871-2222), where they will be directed to schedule an In-Home Assessment. One of our Community Service Specialist will get in touch with them to schedule this appointment, which takes about an hour and can be scheduled at the participant’s home or in one of our offices.  From there, they can have any questions answered, learn about available resources, receive useful items and get connected with VLR services that may be helpful to them – Volunteers, Community Center activities, Support Groups, Living with Vision Loss Training, and more!

Q: How do I turn in my Volunteer Hours every month?

A: You may turn in your hours by sending a quick email to volunteer@vlrw.org, calling, or by going online to print off and mail a timesheet (available online at www.visionlossresources.org/programs/volunteer/volunteer-hours-reporting). We appreciate receiving hours for reporting to our grants and annual reporting! Please turn them in by the 5th of the month!