Skip to content

Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, January 2017

Welcome to January!

“January is here, with eyes that keenly glow,

A frost-mailed warrior striding a shadowy steed of snow.”

— Edgar Fawcett (1847-1904)


Holiday Hours – VLR offices will be closed on Monday, January 2nd. Happy New Year’s!



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

Need a timesheet to report your volunteer hours?

Follow this link to print your own! You may also email or call Jen at 612-843-3421 and leave a message with your hours!


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

1/3      Game Day              10:00-12:00             VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

(Moved to Tuesday due to holiday.) Lively fun with board and trivia games.  Laughter, conversation, and snacks included!

1/11    BINGO!                   5:00-7:00                 VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

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

1/17  Lunch Bunch  11:30-1:30   The Original Pancake House, Edina          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!

1/20    Mill City Museum             1:00-3:00                 Minneapolis                        15 volunteers (volunteers especially needed!)

Help guide participants while learning about the intertwined histories of the flour industry, the river, and the city of Minneapolis. Built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, Mill City Museum is located on the historic Mississippi Riverfront.

1/24    The Raptor Center           12:45-2:00               Saint Paul                          5 volunteers (volunteers especially needed!)

Provide assistance and Sighted Guide at this event. We will explore the different raptors found in Minnesota and their role in the environment in a 45 minute presentation and 15 minute tour. At least three raptors, such as a vulture, hawk, owl, or falcon will be brought in and hands-on teaching tools such as feathers, wings, skulls, and feet will be presented.

1/27    Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

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



Independent Living Skills Course Resumes in January

Do you know someone with vision loss that needs some training and practical tips about living with vision loss? We offer a 4-week Independent Living Skills Course, which will be resuming in January 2017. 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 please call soon. Please also talk with us about transportation.

Concerned about Vision Loss? We Can Help!

Many people experiencing vision loss show some of the following signs: discontinuing activities once enjoyed (like reading the paper, knitting, or going out with friends), trouble reading small print, such as on a medication bottle, difficulty distinguishing colors (mismatched clothes or socks), increased sensitivity to light or glare, and tentative walking (bumping into objects and people, missing steps or falling).

Vision Loss Resources is here to help!

Call us at (612) 871-2222 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.


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 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, calling, or by going online to print off and mail a timesheet (available online at We appreciate receiving hours for reporting to our grants and annual reporting! Please turn them in by the 5th of the month!