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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, January 2019

 A Quote for the Month

“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.”- Erma Bombeck

We hope you have an amazing 2019 and thank you for all that you do to support VLR!


Important: Report Your Monthly Hours!

Every month please report your hours and print your own timesheet.  You may also email 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.


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

1/7      Game Day               
VLR in Minneapolis                        
2 volunteers
Lively fun with board and trivia games.  Laughter, conversation, and snacks included!

1/9       BINGO!                     
VLR in Minneapolis                        
2 volunteers
Everybody loves BINGO
1/11    Featured Event: Tour of MPR    
MPR in St. Paul                  
4 volunteers
Join us for a guided tour of the state-of-the-art Minnesota Public Radio building in downtown St. Paul. Assist a visually-impaired client on this tour.
1/14    Walking Group      
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.

1/15    Lunch Bunch         
Crave, St. 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! 

1/17    Craft: Dream Catchers     
VLR in Saint Paul               
2 volunteers
Help with this fun, hands-on activity. We will make dream catchers with yarn, beads, hoops and feathers. Treats served! No crafting experience necessary.
1/18    Pottery                     
VLR in Saint Paul                           
2 volunteers
Help participants create hand-built pottery items.  No experience is necessary.


Meet Rohan Abeyesekera, one of our active volunteers at Vision Loss Resources.  Rohan started with us in 2016 and has helped one of our clients with his reading needs.

Thank you Rohan for all that you do to support VLR and our mission to help individuals dealing with vision loss!
Your volunteer role at VLR:
Reading Volunteer

A little bit about you:
Married with two girls, 26 and 24.  We recently lost our beloved dog.  Cancer took her from us too early, but she’s waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge.  When I’m not working, I like to fish and golf, and just hang out with my family. 

What is your favorite thing about volunteering at VLR?
Helping someone in need. 

How has volunteering with VLR impacted you?
It’s all part of God’s plan that some of us have sight and some do not.  Being able to share my gift and be the ‘eyes’ for someone is a tremendous responsibility and honor.   

What has been the biggest surprise volunteering at VLR?
In the 2+ years I have been reading for Brent, we have gotten to know each other and have actually become friends.  I look forward to our weekly connects. 

Do you have any advice for other VLR volunteers?
Approach it as something you ‘get to do’ instead of something you have to do.  And be flexible.  I originally offered to help as a shopper.  I also deliver Meals on Wheels, so it just seemed like a logical fit.  I was paired up with someone in my area and when he changed his mind, I was admittedly disappointed.  But then Jen asked me if I’d be willing to be a reader, so I thought I’d give it a try.  It’s been a great experience ever since!


We have a list of people waiting for volunteers for the following Reader and Shopper roles.  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?

If you are available, please call 612-871-2222 and ask for our Volunteer Manager or email!

Participant Location: Volunteer Role Needed:
Bloomington Shopper
Bloomington Reader
Bloomington Shopper
Chanhassen Reader
Edina Shopper
Lake Elmo Reader
Maplewood Shopper & Reader
Maplewood Reader
Maplewood Walker
Minneapolis/Northeast Reader
Minneapolis/Powderhorn Area Reader
Richfield Shopper
Richfield Shopper & Reader
Roseville Shopper
Roseville Shopper & Reader
Shoreview Reader & Walking
South St. Paul Shopper
St. Paul/Riverview Area Shopper
Stillwater Shopper & Reader


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. 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, calling, or by printing and mailing a timesheet (available at We appreciate receiving hours for reporting to our grants and annual reporting! Please turn them in by the 5th of the month!