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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, May 2017


Welcome to May!

“Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.”

— Margaret Elizabeth Sangster (1838 – 1912)

Yarn Donations Wanted!

If you have extra yarn (whole or partial skeins ok), or would like to purchase yarn to donate to our 3F’s knitting group, we would be very grateful! We in turn donate these handmade items to local charities, such as crisis nurseries, women’s’ shelters, schools, and more! Contact Christina at 612-843-3419 or email for more info.

NEW Caregiver Support Groups Starting at VLR

Do you care for someone with vision loss? Do you help around the home, provide transportation, or run errands? You may be a caregiver. VLR is starting a new support group—in both our locations—to connect caregivers, share resources, and provide education. The Mpls group will meet Wednesdays May 10, July 12, September 13, & November 8 at VLRW. The St Paul group will meet Tuesdays June 6, August 1, October 3, & December 5 at VLRE. All from 5:00-6:30pm. No reservation required. No charge. Please contact Community Services Specialist Megan Starr at 612-843-3416 for questions.

NOAH Game Day at Vision Loss Resources

NOAH members, come socialize with other members at a fun event. We will be playing board games, snacking, and just enjoying being with one another. All ages welcome! Bring your favorite game and a dish to pass for munching and early lunch. We will have other games available. VLR has donated a meeting space for no charge for our group!

When: Saturday, May 6th, 10:00-12:00

Where: Vision Loss Resources (Minneapolis Office) – 1936 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419. Parking is north of the building off of Lyndale.

RSVP by May 5th to Nancy Knoth at or 763-566-2085.

About NOAH: The National Organization for Albinism and Hyperpigmentation is a volunteer organization which provides people with albinism, their families, and those that work with them the opportunity to get information, ask questions, share their experiences, and connect with the albinism community.

Important: Report Your Monthly Hours!

Go to and follow the link to print your own.  You may also email or call Jen at 612-843-2583 and leave a message with your hours.  Every single hour is important for us to track for our United Way funding and other grants! 


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 Reader
Burnsville Shopper
Burnsville Shopper & Reader
Hopkins Shopper & Reader
Maplewood Shopper & Reader
Minneapolis/Armatage Area Shopper
Minneapolis/Bancroft Area Shopper
Minneapolis/Bryant Area Reader
Minneapolis/Tangletown Area Shopper
New Hope Shopper
Plymouth Reader
Richfield Shopper & Reader
Shoreview Reader & Walker
St. Paul Shopper




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

5/1      Game Day              10:00-12:00             VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

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

5/8      Walking Group      9:00-11:30    Door 13, Southdale Mall, Edina            6 volunteers     Volunteers especially needed!

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.

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

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

5/16    Lunch Bunch         11:30-1:30               Harriet’s Inn, Minneapolis             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!

5/18    Craft: Painted Flower Pots         1:00-3:00      VLR in Saint Paul              2 volunteers     Volunteers especially needed!

Help with this fun, hands-on, Springtime activity!

5/26    Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

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


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’re offer a 4-week Independent Living Skills Course every month. We go over a wide variety of low vision skills and adaptive techniques taught by experienced and encouraging instructors. We exchange ideas, tips and new product discoveries with fellow classmates on how to most easily accomplish daily tasks. 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: May 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th from 10am to 3pm at our St. Paul location. To register: Call Kristin at 612-843-3415. 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: an 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 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!