Join us this month in celebrating Blindness Awareness Month! There are 285 million people in the world who are vision impaired, and 39 million of these people are completely blind. The point is they are all PEOPLE, not just “blind.” They have hopes and dreams and want to be known and seen. A great way to honor them is to volunteer with the VRC! This not only allows for more interaction for our blind and visually impaired, but it allows for more opportunities to do social outings if we have more help in facilitating them. Check out our volunteer form here to start the process. You CAN make a difference! Be a part of Blindness Awareness Month and VOLUNTEER.
A Year in Review
We’ve had an exciting journey this past year at the VRC. We’ve not only grown our numbers and met new people, but we’ve expanded our programming thanks to our many donors!
This year we were able to add a huge new component to our programming: Independent Living Skills. We’ve always known we wanted to be able to address this for our blind and visually impaired and were finally able to do so because of the generous donations of the Cumberland Community Foundation, United Way of Cumberland County, Wells Fargo, and Chive Charities. We offered courses with Independent Living Skills consultants on cooking, use of technology, and self-care. We even grew the program to add a new program “Outside the VRC Walls” with the help of the Elizabeth Hudspeth Endowment Fund of Cumberland Community Foundation. We are now going into homes of our blind and visually impaired and assessing the day-to-day challenges and problem-solving solutions for daily life. This fund allowed us to have $10,000 to go towards this excellent program. We also had help from the Pay it Forward Endowment for Vision Impaired Youth and the Friends of the VRC Endowment with funding for our programs. We are so grateful our endowments at Cumberland Community Foundation; it’s a gift that we receive annually, with no application process. This assistance allows us to touch more lives in a meaningful and daily way. Consider giving to one of our endowments. Contact Cumberland Community Foundation to help provide us sustainable operating support.
We also want to thank United Way, Wells Fargo, Walmart, and a host of private donors for their continued financial assistance for our operations. We could not exist without this incredible support. Financial gifts allow us to take our blind and visually impaired out to experience the world around them. We’ve been horseback riding at the KopperTop Life Learning Center, attended and participated in a fishing tournament at the Outer Banks, had a hands-on tour of the Aloha Zoo, and even had a tour of the Fruitcake Factory at Christmas. We’ve had social experiences such as dinner theatres at Mike’s Farm, a visit to Duplin Winery, many visits to the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. And as importantly, we’ve emphasized education. We are thankful for the United Way Days of Caring where volunteers helped us with Therapeutic Horticulture at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. This year also included visits to art exhibits at the NC Museum of Art, and in Fayetteville, we’ve made a point to add sensory integration to expand these experiences for all involved.
One of our two biggest fundraisers this year, our 2nd Annual Out of Sight Wing Fling made its mark in Festival Park. We, unfortunately, had a very stormy day to contend with this year, but we still had a dedicated turnout, and the show went on with our wing contest. We’ve got some great ideas for next year and hoped to grow this fundraiser into a much bigger event in the future. We are grateful for our premier sponsor, Mountainaire Farms and their donation of the wings for the event. They rock!
You can’t talk about our year without mentioning summer camp. Our Youth Camp went from July 17-28 and was action-packed! We spent time at Camp Rockfish and Cape Fear Botanical Gardens, visited the NC Museum of Art, and took a trip to the Beach for surfing lessons. The next week we visited the Transportation Museum as well as the Airborne Museum downtown. Then we spent a bulk of the week learning daily skills in independent living. The kids had meaningful sharing and learned some great life skills in the process. Win-win! SUMMER camp THANKS go to Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc.(Summertime Kids Grant) Youth Growth Stock Trust and a very friendly Trust in Fayetteville, to ensure our kids have a safe and fun summer camp for children with visual impairment.
Thanks to the Massey Hill Lions Club, our adults were able to attend Camp Dogwood from July 30-August 5. Our adults always love this experience, and we look forward to going every year.
Testimonials: Our Blind and Visually Impaired Share
Vernice is a newcomer to our VRC family and is originally from Compton, California and resided in Clinton, NC before becoming a resident of Fayetteville. When asked what do you like thus far about the VRC:
“The VRC helps in bringing people in from a variety of organizations that can help us in the community. Many of us don’t get out much, and this makes us aware of what is going on around us. This program helps us to get out of the home and hang out with a diverse group of people. There was no help for me in Clinton. The van transportation with the VRC is helpful. Transportation is difficult for the blind. I am currently trying to utilize the City Fast Trac system, but it’s proving to be a bit confusing. I am fortunate to have someone to take me to appointments and shopping. I realize I am fortunate, but there is nothing better than being independent.”
Quince (Q): You have been with the VRC for a while, what do you think is the most valuable asset?
“Hands down socialization. We suffer from isolation so much with our loss of vision, so the trips, independent living skills, and activities are so worthwhile. We need more funding to incorporate more independent life skills classes.”
Quince and Vernice have volunteered to be spokespeople for the VRC, and we will begin utilizing them this month!!!
A Note From Our Executive Director:
The VRC continuously works hard to ensure we are giving our people what they need… SOCIALIZATION has been the primary focus this quarter. The most heavily attended programs are our family meeting where we eat lunch, discuss happenings in the community, go over our month’s activities and just share. We had a total of (30) in attendance, and that is an all-time high. The sharing that goes on in this environment is fantastic!
I was invited to attend the Greater Fayetteville United Session, and one of the action items that came out of their survey is that Fayetteville is not disability-friendly. What a wonderful way to get the VRC folk involved. This is a way to show our city what living with a disability entails. We have plans to join the conversations at their meetings with a few of our advocates. What a great way to get our folk out of their homes and making a difference.
WE need you Fayetteville… NC Arts Access provides Cape Fear Regional Theatre with the adaptive equipment for our VRC folk to enjoy the incredible plays they bring to Fayetteville, however, the readers come all the way from Raleigh on those special nights to provide the equipment. IF you are interested in learning how to become a reader please contact the Center, we want this program to continue so we must train readers from our area. This is another great way to give the arts to the blind!! Contact the Center for more details 910-483-2719
Finally, we need you to make our 2017 “Out of Sight” Blindfolded Dining Event bigger than last year. Save the date Saturday, Nov. 18th, Hellenic Center 5-10p.m. Come out and party with the purpose of helping the blind in Cumberland County continue to live fruitful and independent lives!!!
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
~ Helen Keller
Coming up in October:
Oct. 3: 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
Oct. 4: Voting Rocks- Going to Vote in the Primary!
Oct. 5: 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
Oct 10: Patriot Theatre 14: 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. *Time TBD.
Oct. 11: Bowling: 9:30-11:30 am. Located at Lafayette Lanes, this is always a fun outing. 3313 Raeford, Road, Fayetteville.
Oct. 12: 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
Oct. 14: Historic Tours of Old Fayetteville By Horse and Carriage 1:00 and 2:00 pm. Join us for a lovely carriage ride through downtown Fayetteville.
Oct. 17: 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
Oct 18: Dollar Store Shopping Trip
Oct. 19: 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
Oct. 24: 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
Oct. 25: Family Meeting. 11-1 2886 Owen Drive, Fayetteville NC
Oct 28: Charlie Wilson Concert, PNC Arena
Oct 30: LC Industries, National Disabilities Hiring Month, We are going to Visit!!
Oct. 31: Happy Halloween!
Please call James to cancel your ride if you need it: (910) 476-6684
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Mark your calendars for the 6th Annual “Out of Sight” Dining Experience, Saturday, Nov. 18th, St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church and get your tickets early! We need you to come out and support this “eye” opening event. Check our website for more details.