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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, May 2018

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 A Quote for the Month

“Spring breezes drift and tiny May birds chirp in morning’s dawn-lit heart.” –Terri Guillemets

  • Important: Report Your Monthly Hours!

Every month please go to http://visionlossresources.org/programs/volunteer/volunteer-hours-reporting and follow the link to print your own timesheet.  You may also email volunteer@vlrw.org 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.

Remodeling: As a reminder, VLR’s Minneapolis office is undergoing renovations in April and May.  The Fitness room is closed (no Yoga, Fitness class, or drop-ins) until construction is complete. The Auditorium and Library remain available during this time.

VOLUNTEER IN VLR’S COMMUNITY CENTER!

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

5/7      Game Day              10:00-12:00             VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

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

5/9      BINGO                   5:00-7:00                 VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

Everybody loves BINGO!

5/15    Lunch Bunch         11:30-1:30    J.J’s Clubhouse, Golden Valley           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!

5/15    Craft: Herb Gardens         1:00-3:00      VLR in Saint Paul    2 volunteers – volunteers especially needed!

Help with this fun, hands-on activity. We will be decorating containers and planting a variety of herbs. Treats served! No crafting experience necessary.

5/17    Shopping Day        9:30-2:00      Rosedale Mall          15 volunteers

Help provide Sighted Guide–training provided on site—to participants as they shop around the Mall!  We will meet inside the Southeast mall entrance next to Big Bowl.

5/25    Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

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

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

Meet Angi, one of our long-term volunteers at Vision Loss Resources.  Angi has been a VLR volunteer for 10 years and we are featuring her in our first “Volunteer Spotlight” section in this monthly newsletter.  This “Volunteer Spotlight” will be a fun way to learn about other volunteers, as well as to learn new ideas and thoughts in regards to volunteering.

Thank you Angi for your dedication and service and we appreciate all you do to help our clients!

Your volunteer role at VLR:angi

My VLR client, Nancy, and I have been shopping together since 2008. I also volunteer at the craft events at the St Paul location.

A little bit about you (family, pets, hobbies, etc.):

My husband Jason and I live in St Paul and we have three children, ages 10, 8, & 6, and one cat. I really enjoy crafting, especially sewing, knitting, and crocheting. I also enjoy hiking and just being outdoors.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering at VLR?

My favorite thing about volunteering with VLR is being helpful and making connections with people. I enjoy finding ways to make people’s lives better.

How has volunteering with VLR impacted you?

Volunteering with VLR brings a lot of joy into my life. I truly enjoy spending time crafting with clients and shopping with Nancy.

What has been the biggest surprise volunteering at VLR?

I think a surprise for me is how deep a friendship Nancy and I have. So many things have happened in both our lives in the past 10 years and I feel like she is truly a friend. I love her and enjoy spending time with her. We have so many inside jokes and spend a lot of time laughing. We also help each other through difficult times. She has helped me learn how to live with arthritis, and has given me lots of great parenting and marriage advice. I think often times young people forget that older people were young, they have had all the experiences we are having (and more) and they have a desire to been known, to be helpful, to be talked to like a friend.

Do you have any advice for other VLR volunteers?

Do more of it! I started volunteering in the monthly craft events this year and it is so much fun. It’s so much more than crafting…it’s community building, friendship creating, checking-in and caring for each other.

Anything else you want to share about volunteering at VLR?

It is an easy way to create more joy in your life. Many people have forgotten the importance of making in-person connections with people. Our lives are so much richer if we reach out, spend time in the company of others, and be helpful.

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 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 & Reader
Bloomington Reader
Burnsville Shopper & Reader
Chanhassen Reader
Eagan Shopper & Reader
Hopkins Reader
Inver Grove Heights Shopper
Lake Elmo Reader
Richfield Shopper & Reader
Shoreview Reader & Walking
St. Paul/Riverview Area Shopper
St. Paul/Summit-University Area Reader
St. Paul/Merriam Park East Area Reader


SERVICES AT VISION LOSS RESOURCES

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!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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 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!

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 volunteer@vlrw.org, calling, or by printing and mailing a timesheet (available 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!