November is a HUGE month for us at VRC! Countdown to the Out of Sight Dining event is on, and we can’t wait to share a beautiful evening with all of you! We will experience fine dining blindfolded, have a silent auction, and welcome special guests, Christopher Duffey, a 15-year-old blind singer (whose video went viral and landed him an appearance on Good Morning America; the band Soul Decree, painting by Washington, DC artist, Jamie Peterson, hosting by Goldy from WFNC, and last but not least, enjoying an evening all together with our wonderful supporters. We will also be celebrating 80 years of service here in Cumberland County on that evening while hosting our emergency responders from Hurricane Matthew. We are so honored to be a part of such a wonderful community. There is so much good to come!
A Note from Executive Director, Terri Thomas:
“Thanks to our Sponsors for the 5th Annual “Out of Sight” Blindfolded Dining Event:
Gold: Cape Fear Eye Associates, Systel Business Equipment, The Fayetteville Observer, Ramon and Virginia Yarborough, Healy Wholesale Co.
Silver: MiCasitas, Charles and Judy Luther, NFB Cumberland County Chapter, Array Magazine and Dr. Patrick and Carrie Callahan, Walker-Florez Consulting Group
Bronze: Brady and Julie Rufanact, Better Vision, Up and Coming Magazine, SSC
Super Supporters: W. Lyndo Tippett, Risk Optometric, Carolyn Armstrong, Dr. Mark and Sharon Kendrick, Western Harnett Lions Club, William and Ruth Altman, A+ Consulting, Carolina Vision, Rick and Carol Foster
This also includes the great people of our community who purchased tickets for the event. We could not support the blind and visually impaired WITHOUT you; you are helping us to bring them the independent living skills they need… Just imagine how you would dress, eat, clean, get around town and your homes… That’s what we give them-the skills to do regular, everyday activities.
Our members thanked our faithful van driver James Johnson for his patience and awesome driving ability with a plaque and gift cards for he and his wife Leola to dine out and enjoy themselves. Leola is also visually impaired and would not join the Center because she thought only “old” people attended, but here she is five years later enjoying the benefits!!!
A huge thanks as well to all who reached out during Hurricane Matthew to help our blind and visually impaired. We are currently still collecting items at the Center to give to people in need including: cleaning supplies, clothing, canned goods, hygiene products, and domestics (towels, sheets, quilts etc.) Our group wanted to give back to those in need during this time of so much devastation. United Way of Cumberland County has provided us with a Community Resource Directory and all items collected will go to whoever has the biggest need. We had two families affected by the storm, and we have been assisting them along the way. But there is still more we can do.
We also want to thank the National Federation for the Blind of Cumberland County for being the sponsor of (2) tables and an anonymous donor that sponsored (2) tables for our blind and visually impaired participants that come to the Center to attend the Out of Sight Dining. We were also blessed by the Walker-Florez Consulting Group and Chive Charities for their assistance in purchasing Amazon Dots for our Independent Living Skills Workshops. This will enable our blind and visually impaired to have all the benefits of the Amazon Echo at a fraction of the cost!
We are continually humbled and honored to serve in this capacity. Eighty years is a great number for our anniversary, but it’s only the beginning!
Until next time,
Coming up in November:
Nov. 1: J.D. Fuller: 9:30-11:30 am. Walking. We will take anyone who would like to go for a group walk to 6627 Old Bunce Road, Fayetteville.
Nov. 3: Patriot Theatre 14: 11 am. Using assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired, we will experience a movie-going experience where we can have the movie described through headphones, so the participants get the full movie experience. 4760 Lake Valley Road, Fayetteville.
Nov. 9: Bowling: 9:30-11:30 am. Located at Lafayette Lanes, this is always a fun outing. 3313 Raeford, Road, Fayetteville.
Nov. 10: Tokay Fitness Center: From 9:30 to 11:30 am we will have time at Tokay at their fitness center to use their equipment. 328 West Hamilton Street, Fayetteville.
Nov. 11: Out of Sight Dining Event. Fine blindfolded dining (not mandatory, but we hope you’ll give it a try!) 6:00- 10:00 pm. Wonderful food, a silent auction and a great semi-formal evening. Please join us! Hellenic Center, 614 Oakridge Road, Fayetteville.
Nov. 15: Aloha Zoo Trip. 10- 2 pm. Meet at the Center and enjoy a great afternoon learning about the animals at this unique zoo. 159 Mini Lane, Cameron, 28326
Nov. 17: Family Meeting 11- 1 pm. Join us to learn more about what we’re doing with the individuals we work with at our Family Meeting at the Gilmore Center. 1600 Purdue Drive, Fayetteville.
Nov. 18: Independent Living Skills Workshop with Amber. 9:30- 1:30 pm. We’ll be learning how to use the Amazon Dot technology. Please call the office to sign up–limited space available! (910) 476-6684
Nov. 22: Tokay Fitness Center: From 9:30 to 11 am we will have time at Tokay at their fitness center to use their equipment. 328 West Hamilton Street, Fayetteville
Nov. 24-25: Happy Thanksgiving! (Center is closed).
Nov. 30: Farmers’ Market and cooking expo 9 am- 4 pm. Join us for an outing to Raleigh to check out the State Farmers’ Market. *We still need volunteers for this outing. Call us at the office to help! Then we will be attending a Special Cooking Program. This free program will involve cooking demos, food samples, and door prizes. Please let us know if you would like to attend!
VRC Spotlight: James Johnson
James Johnson has been with our Center for 6 years. He always arrives before time and handles our participants with patience and concern. We love James and could not have asked for a better van driver, helper, listener or friend. Thanks James for all your service to the VRC. And we also thank his wife Leola for allowing us to have him.
Hurricane Matthew gave us a lot to think about. Here’s a recent opinion piece VRC Executive Director, Terri Thomas wrote in response to the hardship the storm brought our community.
Help for Independent Seniors with Visual Disabilities in time of Emergency
By: Terri Thomas
How would you have responded in the midst of Hurricane Matthew if you received a call from an elderly and sight disabled woman that heard a tree come down on her home? Can you for a moment imagine how vulnerable it felt to her to be sight disabled and alone in that storm. Beyond that, she heard the tree but could do nothing. 911 was busy because of the many emergencies that day; she had no family members near. Thankfully, she called me. As I drove in my car with a friend to address the situation, it led me to think… “What would I have done in that situation? What happens to me when I get old? Disabled…?” Upon arrival, the caller had no idea the tree had chopped off the back part of her home or that water was coming inside.
What should the seniors that are at home and disabled do? Who do they call? Is the answer volunteer companions, dedicated senior help phone lines, senior registries, data banks, or cloud bank solutions? What can we do to ensure the elderly and sight-impaired are not forgotten? Before you think this is an isolated situation, realize that two-thirds of the legally blind population are seniors who lost vision as a result of age-related eye diseases. And it’s very real to those visually impaired that feel helpless in these moments. But does that mean they are helpless all the time? No!
The term vision loss refers to individuals who reported that they have trouble seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses, as well as refers to individuals who reported that they are blind or unable to see at all. The 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) reports there are 6.3 million American adults 65 and older experiencing a visual disability. There are 13,663 adults over 65 with a disability living in Cumberland County and the last statistics given to the NC Division of Blind Services 630 visually disabled adults in total residing in our county.
There needs to be a way to check on our elderly. At Vision Resource Center, we provide recreational, leisure and independent living skills activities for people with visual impairment. 60% of our demographic is 65 and older. After hours who or what do they have?
I responded to the call, and we moved furniture and unplugged all sources that could be potentially be affected by water or in the way of a ceiling that was going to cave in. We removed her from her home and got her to a safe place until her children could drive through the storm to get to her and check out the home.
What would or could have happened if I was unable to get to her? It doesn’t have to be a hurricane, just an emergency. Thanks to decades of advancements in medicine, humans have a longer life expectancy than ever before experiencing vision loss. Let’s think of a solution, and if you have ideas, please contact me so I can implement these in our programming. No one in our community should feel helpless. As we come together and continue to piece our communities back together, let us take the lessons we’ve learned and apply them to solutions for the future.
Please call with any questions or would like to VOLUNTEER (910) 483-2719.
Also, check out our website at www.visionresourcecentercc.org.
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