Skip to content

Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, November 2018


 A Quote for the Month

“Do your little bit of good where you are;

it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

~ Desmond Tutu

Important: Report Your Monthly Hours!

Every month please go to this reporting page 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. Please turn in mileage in a timely manner. Mileage submitted after 3 months will no longer be eligible for reimbursement. Thank you for understanding.

Holiday Hours – Happy Thanksgiving!

VLR offices will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd.


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

11/5    Game Day                10:00-12:00               VLR in Minneapolis                         2 volunteers

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

11/12  Walking Group       9:00-11:30        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.

11/14  BINGO!                      5:00-7:00                   VLR in Minneapolis                         2 volunteers

Everybody loves BINGO!

11/20  Lunch Bunch          11:30-1:30                 New Louisiana Cafe            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!

11/30 Pottery                      10:00-12:00               VLR in Saint Paul                            2 volunteers

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

11/30 Featured Event: Shopping Day  10:00-2:00     Door 13, Southdale             15 volunteers  Volunteers especially needed!

Join us at Southdale Center in Edina for a fun morning and afternoon assisting a visually-impaired shopper choose the perfect items.  Sighted Guide training is provided on site. Lunch is on your own.  VLR will reimburse you $10 towards your meal when you turn in your hours and receipt!


Meet Laura Abend, one of our active volunteers at Vision Loss Resources.  Laura started with us in early 2017 and has helped us at many of our activities and events and she also serves as a Reading Volunteer for two of our clients.

Thank you Laura for all that you do to support VLR and our clients!

Your volunteer role at VLR:

  • I read for a married couple every two weeks and have helped as a sighted guide for different monthly events over the last year and a half.

A little bit about you (family, pets, hobbies, etc.):

  • I’ve lived in Minnesota for 16 years. My spouse and I just bought our first house and adopted our first dog so yard work and obedience training have come as natural hobbies. Reading, writing, and watching movies are also some of my favorite pastimes.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering at VLR?

  • We have great conversations when I visit my clients. I’ve gotten to participate in a lot of cool events too! 

How has volunteering with VLR impacted you?

  • Getting outside myself and my day-to-day routine to give back to the community is a great stress reliever and self-esteem booster.

What has been the biggest surprise volunteering at VLR?

  • VLR truly appreciates their volunteers and uses our time wisely.

Do you have any advice for other VLR volunteers?

  • If you have the time to spare, commit to a regular volunteer opportunity with VLR (such as reading or shopping). You can make a big impact in someone’s life with just a few hours each week.

Anything else you want to share about volunteering at VLR?

  • Shout out to Jen Roehl Wittek and the other VLR staff who not only work hard for their clients, but the volunteers as well – thanks for all you do!


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?

Volunteer needs 11-2018


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!