Volunteer Story

Meet Melissa Steele, a volunteer at Vision Loss Resources. Melissa started with us in 2016 and has helped one of our clients with his shopping needs. She has also helped out at some of our recreational activities.

Thank you, Melissa, for all that you do to support Vision Loss Resources and our mission to help individuals dealing with vision loss!

My volunteer role: My husband and I assist a client with his bi-weekly shopping (primarily grocery, but also ad hoc shopping trips).

A little bit about me: I live in the North Loop (downtown Minneapolis) with my wonderful husband, Matt! I’ve always been a city dweller – while I’m a born-and-raised Minnesotan, I lived in NYC for 8 years and when I moved back, knew I wanted to be downtown since I love the hustle and bustle and constant activity. I also love being able to walk to great restaurants and music/sporting venues! In addition to my passions for food/music/any type of event, I LOVE to travel. We most recently went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon, which might be my new favorite spot. Other favorites include South Africa and Nicaragua! I love emerging myself in other people’s cultures – there is so much to learn and appreciate.

My favorite thing about volunteering at Vision Loss Resources: Knowing we are helping someone in a real way, and also getting to know them on a personal level and building a friendship.

What volunteering has done for me: It’s provided me with a new perspective and has made me more aware of individuals with disabilities and the challenges they face on a daily basis. With that perspective, I’m able to react and interact in a more positive and meaningful way to those individuals and have a better understanding of what they face.

Biggest surprise: I wouldn’t say there have been surprises, since I volunteered with visually impaired individuals in NYC. I am constantly in awe, however, of the technology available for these individuals and how easily they adapt to their environment. Everyone I’ve interacted with is also extremely positive and has a wonderful outlook on life – it’s very refreshing (and contagious)!

My advice for other volunteers: Keep an open mind and HAVE FUN! I’ve had a wonderful experience with Vision Loss Resources and have gotten my colleagues at work involved as well, which is a great company activity and a way for us to contribute more to the community. Vision Loss Resources is a great organization that my husband and I plan on volunteering for as long as it’s in existence! The activities they plan are simply wonderful – they are so much fun and it’s great spending time with and getting to know all of the clients.

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