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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, August 2017

Welcome to August!

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush – bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes,
quietly passing Her fading green glory
on to riotous Autumn.”

— Michelle L. Thieme, August’s Crown


8/10 (TH): Special Speaker – Representative from MN Disability Law Center

12:30-1:30. In MPLS.

A representative from the MN Disability Law Center will be at VLR to talk about disability laws. He will focus part of the presentation on housing laws and he will cover general aspects of ADA and take questions in other areas as well. Everyone is welcome! RSVP are helpful to or call 612-843-3439.

Meet a Local Author at VLR!

In our Community Center in August, we’re reading the intriguing mystery The Empty Canoe by Peter Georgas, a local author who is retired and lives in Minneapolis. Following a decade in advertising, Georgas became a publicist for the Walker Art Center. If you’re looking for some summer reading, please read his books! We look forward to having him come speak to us at VLR in the near future—volunteers are invited. More info in the coming months!

Caregiver Support Groups at VLR

Connect with other caregivers and get resources to support yourself and those you care for! August’s meeting will be in Saint Paul on Tuesday, August 1 from 5:00-6:30pm. No reservation required, though it’s helpful to know how many we may be expecting for snacks! No charge. Contact Megan at 612-843-3416 with questions.

Important: Report Your Monthly Hours!

Go to and follow the link to print your form.  You may also email or call Jen at 612-843-2583 and leave a message with your hours.  Some of our United Way grants and other funding depend on volunteer hours we receive, so the more the merrier!


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?

  • **SHOPPER Volunteers Especially Needed!**
Participant Location: Volunteer Role Needed:
Apple Valley Shopper & Reader
Bloomington Shopper & Reader
Bloomington Reader
Bloomington Shopper & Reader
Bloomington Reader
Burnsville Shopper
Burnsville Shopper
Burnsville Shopper & Reader
Maplewood Shopper & Reader
Minneapolis/Standish Area Shopper
Minneapolis/Tangletown Area Shopper
New Hope Shopper
North St. Paul Reader
Richfield Shopper
Richfield Shopper & Reader
Richfield Shopper
Shoreview Reader & Walker
St. Paul/Hamline University Area Reader
St. Paul/Railroad Island Area Shopper
St. Paul/Riverview Area Shopper
St. Paul/Summit-University Area Reader
St. Paul/West Seventh Area Shopper
Stillwater Shopper


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


8/2      Supper Club          5:30-7:30                 Green Mill, Saint Paul          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!

8/7      Game Day              10:00-12:00             VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

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

8/9      BINGO!                   5:00-7:00                 VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

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

8/17    Craft: Colorful Paper Bowls       1:00-3:00      VLR in Saint Paul              2 volunteers

Help with this fun, hands-on activity of tearing pieces of colorful paper and gluing to a mold. Once it is dry, we peel it off the mold to create a decorative bowl. No crafting experience is necessary.

8/25    Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

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

8/28    MN State Fair         9:30-3:00                           Loop Gate 9                      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 mileage and $15 towards your food when you turn in your hours and receipts!   Address: 1700 Como Ave, Loop Gate 9, Falcon Heights 55414


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 offer a 4-week Independent Living Skills Course every month. 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. Lunch is provided.

Dates: First four Thursdays of every month

To register: Call us at 612-871-2222. Also ask about transportation options!

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, 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.


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!