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Vision Loss Resources Volunteer News, November 2017

 Welcome to November!

“Even when November’s sun is low

And Winter flaps his fleecy wings,

Thy gold among his silvery snow

A solace in the sadness brings.

–James Rigg, “To the Corn Marigold,” 1897


Holiday Hours – Happy Thanksgiving!

VLR offices will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th.

Grants for MN Emerging Artists with Disabilities

VSA Minnesota is awarding six grants of $2,000 each to Minnesota Emerging Artists (unknown, new, or lesser known artists) doing NEW work (not to frame/publish previously completed work.) Any form of art is accepted: visual art, writing, film, video, music, dance, multi-media, etc. Application submissions and art samples are due by December 1, 2017 at midnight.

For more information or to receive the one-page application paperwork and list of other required documents, email Jon Skaalen at or call 612-332-3888. More info available online at

Caregiver Support Groups at VLR

Connect with other caregivers and get resources to support yourself and those you care for! This month’s meeting will be in Minneapolis on Wednesday, November 8th from 5:00-6:30pm. Please note: NO December meeting. Contact Megan at 612-843-3416 with questions.

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.  Our United Way grant and other funding depend on volunteer hours we receive. Thank you!

Share VLR with a Friend!

We are always looking for new Volunteers! If a friend, neighbor, or family member 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!

11/6    Game Day              *1:00-3:00               VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

*Please note: moved to 1:00 for November only.  Lively fun with board and trivia games.  Laughter, conversation, and snacks included!

11/8    BINGO!                   5:00-7:00                 VLR in Minneapolis                       2 volunteers

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

11/16 Craft: Pinecone Door Hanging  1:00-3:00      VLR in Saint Paul              2 volunteers

Help with this fun, hands-on activity. We will be painting pinecones and securing them with ribbons to create festive door hangings.  No crafting experience is necessary.

*11/27 Pottery                   10:00-12:00             VLR in Saint Paul                         2 volunteers

*Please note: moved to 3rd Friday due to Thanksgiving Holiday. Help participants create hand-built pottery items.  No experience is necessary.

11/17 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 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!

11/21  Lunch Bunch         11:30-1:30               Joseph’s Grill, Saint Paul              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!



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!



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:
Bloomington Reader
Burnsville Shopper
Burnsville Shopper
Burnsville Reader
Burnsville Reader & Shopper
Chanhassen Reader
Eden Prairie Reader & Shopper
Inver Grove Heights Shopper
Maplewood Reader & Shopper
Minneapolis/Uptown Shopper
Minneapolis/Near North Reader
Minneapolis/Tangletown Area Shopper
New Hope Shopper
North St. Paul Reader
Richfield Shopper
Richfield Shopper
Richfield Reader
Richfield Reader & Shopper
Shoreview Reader & Walker
St. Louis Park Shopper
St. Paul/Macalaster-Groveland Area Reader
St. Paul/Summit-University Area Shopper
St. Paul/West Seventh Area Shopper
St. Paul/Hamline University Area Reader
St. Paul/Riverview Area Shopper
St. Paul/Summit-University Area Reader
Stillwater Shopper


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.  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: 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 at We appreciate receiving hours for reporting to our grants and annual reporting! Please turn them in by the 5th of the month!