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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, May 2019

 A Quote for the Month

If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. 

If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. 

If you want to touch the future, touch a life.

– unknown

Important: Report Your Monthly Hours!

Every month, please report your hours and 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.

VOLUNTEER WITH VISION LOSS RESOURCES IN MAY!

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

5/6     Game Day              10am-12pm            VLR in Minneapolis                      2 volunteers

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

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

Everybody loves BINGO.

5/13    Walking Group      9am-11:30am   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.

5/15    Twins Game         11:30am-4:30pm               Target Field                      10 volunteers

Join us for an afternoon of fun, fresh air and baseball! You will help a client and enjoy the game with them. We will reimburse you for travel and some food/drink expenses.

5/16    Craft                      1pm-3pm                VLR in Saint Paul                        2 volunteers

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

5/21    Lunch Bunch         11am-1:30pm         Christos, Nicollet Ave. Mpls 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! 

5/24    Pottery                   10am-12pm            VLR in Saint Paul                        2 volunteers

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

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

Meet Melissa Steele, one of our active volunteers at Vision Loss Resources.  Melissa started with us in 2016 and has helped one of our clients with his shopping needs.  She has also volunteered to help at some of our Community Center activities.

Thank you, Melissa, for all that you do to support VLR and our mission to help individuals dealing with vision loss!

Your volunteer role at VLR:  My husband and I assist a client with his bi-weekly shopping (primarily grocery, but also ad hoc shopping trips).

A little bit about you (family, pets, hobbies, etc.): I live in the North Loop (downtown Minneapolis) with my wonderful husband, Matt!  I’ve always been a city dweller – while I’m a born-and-raised Minnesotan, I lived in NYC for 8 years and when I moved back, knew I wanted to be downtown since I love the hustle and bustle and constant activity. I also love being able to walk to great restaurants and music/sporting venues!  In addition to my passions for food/music/any type of event, I LOVE to travel.  We most recently went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon, which might be my new favorite spot.  Other favorites include South Africa and Nicaragua!  I love emerging myself in other people’s cultures – there is so much to learn and appreciate.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering at VLR? Knowing we are helping someone in a real way, and also getting to know them on a personal level and building a friendship.

How has volunteering with VLR impacted you? It’s provided me with a new perspective and has made me more aware of individuals with disabilities and the challenges they face on a daily basis.  With that perspective, I’m able to react and interact in a more positive and meaningful way to those individuals and have a better understanding of what they face.

What has been the biggest surprise volunteering at VLR? I wouldn’t say there have been surprises, since I volunteered with visually impaired individuals in NYC.  I am constantly in awe, however, of the technology available for these individuals and how easily they adapt to their environment.  Everyone I’ve interacted with is also extremely positive and has a wonderful outlook on life – it’s very refreshing (and contagious)!

Do you have any advice for other VLR volunteers? Keep an open mind and HAVE FUN!

Anything else you want to share about volunteering at VLR? I’ve had a wonderful experience with VLR and have gotten my colleagues at work involved as well, which is a great company activity and a way for us to contribute more to the community. VLR is a great organization that my husband and I plan on volunteering for as long as it’s in existence!  The activities they plan are simply wonderful – they are so much fun and it’s great spending time with and getting to know all of the clients.

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 ongoing basis with the same person. This is an important way to make a connection with your community. Can you help?

Location: Volunteer Role Needed:
Apple Valley Shopper
Bloomington Shopper
Bloomington Reader
Brooklyn Center Shopper
Chanhassen Reader
Maplewood Reader/Shopper
Minneapolis – NE Shopper
Minneapolis – Nokomis Shopper
Minneapolis – Page Shopper
Minnetonka Reader
Plymouth Shopper
Richfield Shopper/Reader
Roseville Shopper
Roseville Reader/Shopper
Shoreview Reader/Walking
St. Paul – Summit/University area Shopper
St. Paul – Riverview Shopper
St. Paul – Swede Hollow Shopper
Stillwater Shopper/Reader
White Bear Lake Shopper

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 here). We appreciate receiving hours for reporting to our grants and annual reporting! Please turn them in by the 5th of the month!