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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, May 2016

Peer Counselor Training

The next Peer Counselor training will take place this fall.  Please stay tuned for more details.


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


New Policy for Meal Reimbursement

In an effort to create a more sustainable Community Center and Volunteer Program, we are instigating a new policy for Meal Reimbursements.  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!


Did you know?

Our goal is 1,000 volunteer hours per month. We know this is possible!  We are eager to catch any unreported hours “lurking” anywhere, as they do make a difference when we ask for grants and funding.  Remember to include your transportation time to and from volunteering!

This goes for…

  • Shoppers
  • Readers
  • Community Center Activity Helpers
  • Support Group Callers
  • Phone Pals
  • Peer Counselors
  • Administrative/Phone Call Helpers
  • Anyone who has given their time to VLR!

Send a quick email to, call, or print off and mail a timesheet (available online at )




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

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

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

5/9      Walking Group      9:00-11:30    Door 13, Southdale Mall, Edina            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.

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

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

5/17    Lunch Bunch         11:30-1:30              CRAVE, 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!

5/20    MN History Museum        12:30-3:00    Saint Paul                                    15 volunteers

Help guide participants and experience a fun and educational afternoon. Enjoy hands-on displays and interactive experiences, including a tornado multimedia show that showcases the extremes of Minnesota weather! We need lots of volunteers to pair one-on-one with participants!

5/27    Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

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



We have opportunities to work with clients in many parts of the Twin Cities.  Volunteers assist clients with reading 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?

SHOP with someone to help them live more independently.  Flexible scheduling, flexible time commitment, BIG impact.

READ to help someone stay on top of bills and household paperwork.  Every week, every other week, once a month, or on-call.

TEACH a class: your favorite craft, your favorite recipe, new technology, or ???

MAKE SOME CALLS: check in on someone who is isolated or call to talk sports or the weather.


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

American Council of the Blind (ACB) 55th Annual Conference & Convention –

July 1– July 9, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Minneapolis. Highlights include:

  • Exhibits and Adaptive Technology
  • Workshops and Seminars
  • Career Development, Networking and Advocacy
  • Professional Development Opportunities
  • Special Programs for People with Low Vision
  • Programs for Students, Families and Seniors
  • Tours and Social Events,
  • Activities for Kids,

Pre-Registration saves time and money.  Pre-register conveniently online, by telephone at 800-866-3242, or call to request a paper version.  For more information, call the ACB National Office at 800-424-8666 or go to

Bingo at the Coon Rapids 4th of July CelebrationCheck out a fun Independence Day celebration that includes a chance to play bingo!

When: Saturday, July 2, 2016, 6:30-8:30

Where: Boulevard Park, 11000 Crooked Lake Boulevard, Coon Rapids

(located near the Coon Rapids Ice Center)

Cost: 25 cents per card or bring your own

Go to for more information on other activities during this celebration, such as the “Firecracker 5K” and craft show, parade, carnival games, rides, live music, bingo, pull tabs, car show, food and drinks and some of the best fireworks in the Twin Cities!



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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