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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, February 2018


Welcome February!

“February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March.”

–J.R. Stockton

Holiday Hours

VLR offices will be closed on Monday, February 19th for President’s Day.

Severe Weather Days

Please call the VLR Weather Hotline at 612-284-8107 to see if VLR offices and activities are open for that day. The hotline will be updated by 6:00 AM if VLR is closing for severe weather. Participants and volunteers who have signed up for an activity will also be notified.

Welcome Sharon!

Please join us in welcoming Sharon Karas to the role of part-time Community Center Specialist! She will be taking on the planning and facilitation of many Community Center activities, such as Supper Club/Lunch Bunch and outings, so please give her a warm welcome! Sharon worked as a professional Social Worker for 37 years, and she has worked in the private and public sectors in a variety of fields. Sharon’s mother was a VLR client a few years ago and directly benefited from our services. Jen Roehl will be completing her transition to focus on Volunteer Management. Welcome to VLR, Sharon!

Snow Shoveling for Seniors

The Senior Linkage Line (1-800-333-2433) can connect Seniors to snow shoveling assistance. For more resources for Seniors who also have disabilities, you can call the Disability Linkage line at 1-866-333-2466.

Important: Report Your Monthly Hours!

Every month please go to and follow the link to print your own timesheet.  You may also email or call Jen at 612-843-2583 and leave a message with your hours.  Our United Way grant and other funding depend on volunteer hours we receive. Thank you for your consistent reporting!  It is greatly appreciated.

Share VLR with a Friend!

We are always looking for new Volunteers!  If a friend, neighbor, family member, coworker, or corporate group is looking for a place to volunteer, send them our way! We’d love to get them connected to our Volunteer Program. Email or call Jen at 612-843-2583 to get started.


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

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

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

2/7      Supper Club          5:00-7:00                McCoy’s Pub, Saint Louis Park     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!

2/14    BINGO!                   5:00-7:00                 VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

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

2/15    Craft: St. Patty’s Garden Stake            1:00-3:00      VLR in Saint Paul     2 volunteers

Help with this fun, hands-on activity. Treats served! No crafting experience is necessary.

2/23    Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

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


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:
Apple Valley Shopper & Reader
Apple Valley Shopper & Reader
Bloomington Reader
Bloomington Shopper & Reader
Bloomington Reader
Burnsville Shopper
Burnsville Reader
Burnsville Shopper & Reader
Chanhassen Reader
Eagan Shopper & Reader
Eden Prairie Shopper & Reader
Inver Grove Heights Shopper
Maplewood Shopper & Reader
Minneapolis/Northeast Minneapolis Arts District Shopper
Minneapolis/Tangletown Area Shopper
New Hope Shopper
North St. Paul Reader
Richfield Shopper & Reader
Richfield Shopper
Richfield Shopper
Richfield Shopper & Reader
Shoreview Reader & Walking
St. Louis Park Shopper
St. Paul/Summit-University Area Shopper
St. Paul/West Seventh Area Shopper
St. Paul/Macalaster-Groveland Area Reader
St. Paul/Hamline University Area Reader
St. Paul/Riverview Area Shopper
St. Paul/Summit-University Area Reader
Stillwater Shopper


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!


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 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.

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, 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!