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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, August 2016


Highlight Volunteer Opportunity: State Fair Trip!

Monday, 8/29, 10:00-3:00

We need lots of volunteers to be involved in this favorite, annual event! Be one of the thousands that gather to try the new food-on-a-stick at the Minnesota State Fair while being partnered with a visually-impaired participant. Walk around and enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds as you provide Sighted Guide. VLR will reimburse you up to $15 towards your food for this event when you turn in your hours and receipts!

Address: 1700 Como Ave, Loop Gate 9, Falcon Heights 55414


Earn Money While Helping Others

Are you 55 years or older and want to help an elder in the community by lending a hand or a listening ear?  Would you like to supplement your retirement income?  The Senior Companion Program works with Vision Loss Resources to assist elders with shopping, appointments, errands, playing games/cards or with reading & mail help.  Senior Companions do not provide any nursing, housekeeping, or handyman type services.  If you are an adult 55 years or older and can serve 15 hours a week or more, you can receive tax-free reimbursement, travel costs, and insurance coverage.  Volunteers keep a flexible schedule with plenty of time off.  For more information, contact Kate Neuhaus at 651-310-9447 or at



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!




Can you help? We have a list of people waiting for volunteers for the following roles.  If you are available, please call 612-871-2222 and ask for our Volunteer Coordinator or email!


Participant Location: Volunteer Role Needed:
Burnsville Reader
Richfield Reader & Shopper
Downtown Minneapolis Reader
New Hope Shopper
Bloomington Reader
Maplewood Reader & Shopper
St. Paul/Lake Phalen area Shopper
Minneapolis/Powderhorn area Reader
Richfield Reader




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

8/1      Game Day              10:00-12:00             VLR in Minneapolis                      2 volunteers

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

8/3      Supper Club             11:00-1:30    Bennett’s Chop and Railhouse, Saint Paul         2 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!

8/8      Walking Group      9:00-11:30              Door 13, Southdale Mall              6 volunteers

Partners walk the mall for an hour, stop for coffee and conversation, and then walk for another hour.  Please note: the second monthly Walking Group has been put on hold at this time.

8/10    BINGO!                   5:00-7:00                 VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

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

8/26    Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

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

8/29    State Fair               10:00-3:00               State Fairgrounds              15 volunteers

An annual favorite event! Be one of the thousands that gather to try the new food-on-a-stick at the Minnesota State Fair while being partnered with a visually-impaired participant. Walk around and enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds as you provide Sighted Guide. VLR will reimburse you $15 towards your food when you turn in your hours and receipts! We need lots of volunteers for this event!

Address: 1700 Como Ave, Loop Gate 9, Falcon Heights 55414




We have opportunities to work with clients in many parts of 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.  Opportunities are available across the Twin Cities.

Can you help?


The following events are not affiliated with VLR, but may be of interest to our volunteers and community!

Saturday 8/13 Foundation Fighting Blindness Meeting

Check in begins at 9:00. Meeting runs from 9:30-11:30.

FFB meeting will be held at VLR in Minneapolis. The presentation is “Strategies for Success, Living with Vision Loss.” This is an FFB event. Please RSVP to FFB at (866) 782-7330 or  All welcome. No cost.


Blind Hockey Ice Program in Minnesota –

Be a part of a new program being developed for hockey for the visually-impaired. Informational meeting is being scheduled for August 2016—contact Antonia ASAP to help set up a time. From there make plans to develop our Try Hockey for Free event. The goal is to establish a 6-week intro program which will lead to developing Minnesota’s first Blind Hockey Association. Minnesota has an amazing disabled hockey community that includes special hockey, sled hockey, and Warriors hockey all across the state. Blind hockey would be a long-needed and welcome addition to this very successful program. Contact: Antonia Gillen, USA Disabled Hockey Director- Minnesota District. Email or call 651-307-0660

The U of M’s new Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science (CATSS) welcomes your ideas for areas of research in the low vision field or resources you think would be worthwhile. Contact them if you are interested in becoming a research participant, via email: or by phone: 612-624-7846.

VSA Minnesota has a list of audio-described, ASL-interpreted, and sensory-friendly plays, concerts, exhibits, tours, and special events in the Twin Cities. Contact them at 612-332-3888 or email for more information. The calendar is online at



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.

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).

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!


1936 Lyndale Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN  55403

(612) 871-2222

216 South Wabasha Street

St. Paul, MN  55107

(651) 224-7662


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