Happy Memorial Day

“May we never forget freedom isn’t free.”

VRS will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 28th.  As you enjoy time with friends and family, please take a moment to thank those who have given so much to our country.  

 Shared by our Executive Director, Sharon Croyle:
“My now deceased Aunt Grace was an Army nurse.  She spoke of traveling on a hospital train with our wounded WWII soldiers as they traveled to Army hospitals or home.  I don’t think she ever thought of how much she meant to those boys.  But I know from stories about my Dad, also a wounded WWII soldier just how meaningful it was to him that those doctors and nurses healed not only their wounds, but their spirit as well.
 
Many serve and it is not always in combat.
 
Wishing you a relaxing and safe weekend”

A Published Celebrity here at VRS

We’d like to share a little news about one of our VRS family members, Nancy Parkin-Bashizi.  While those of us who work with her or are clients of hers already know how caring a person she is, we’re proud to share she’s been acknowledged in Our Town Monthly Magazine this month.  She is one of only 5 recognized in The Love Your Neighbor Project sponsored by Maryann Davidson PhotographyNeighbors Feed & Seed, and Our Town Monthly.

It is through the dedication of our teachers, such as Nancy, that we are able to assist individuals of all ages who are blind, have low vision, or are deaf-blind.  We provide access to tools and techniques for living independent, vibrant and productive lives once an individual’s eyesight is no longer able to be corrected with glasses, surgery or medication.  The loss of sight may be from an illness, accident or injury, a stroke, or simply aging eyes we may all experience one day.  VRS is available to assist and provide training in support with regards to daily living skills, orientation and mobility lessons, access technology training as well as job readiness preparation and practice.

As a non-profit 501c(3) organization, VRS operates on a tight budget and maximizes the revenue delivered in direct client services.  Unfortunately, vision rehabilitation is NOT covered by insurance.  In fact, if an individual has a heart attack or falls and breaks a hip, insurance covers their rehab.  But, have a stroke or accident resulting in vision loss requiring vision rehab…the cost is not covered.  While we work through various programs to assist individuals, funding is not always available to cover the expense of vision rehab. So, VRS holds various fund raisers to raise money to cover this gap in funding.

We’d like to invite you to our May 6th Dining in the Dark Event.  It is a unique sensory awareness experience that will give you a glimpse into the lives of those who are blind. Enjoy a culinary encounter while your table host shares their intimate journey of vision loss.  Tickets are $75 each and available online or just call us at 770-432-7280.

If you enjoy running or walking, join us at the 10th annual Spooktacular Chase 10K/5K, October 13, 2018.  This is a Halloween themed event so we’d love to have you join us all dressed in costume.  For more information on this even please visit SpooktacularChase.com.  Registration is open on Active.com now.

Lindsey’s Cane Story

What is tall and thin and wears only red with white?  

That would be me – Daisy.  My purpose in life is to help others and my partner in this work is Miss Lindsey.  Together we travel and can do great things!  We believe we can change the world!

Cane on a wood porch

Cane on a wood porch

Lindsey has Low Vision, and at times, when she is using her eyes to look up and find our path, she doesn’t see the floor, or things like curbs and drop-offs.  That’s my job – protecting her from things she does not see.  Lindsey’s job is to learn, explore and help us change the world!

Lindsey is in high school and learning to do more things on her own.  She likes shopping, exploring and working some too.  She is learning many new things to prepare her for life after school.  Right now, Lindsey and I get to walk around some really neat places and meet some really interesting people, as she tries to figure out exactly what she would like to do for her job after High School.

Recently, Lindsey, her travel trainer and I sat down to talk together about why our partnership is so important to Lindsey. 

Blind woman traveling with white cane

Blind woman traveling with white cane

Lindsey explained that my most important job is to help her walk safely, find obstacles and not trip.  When we work together, she swings me from side to side to clear her path, and if I find something, I let her know.  When we find steps or curbs, I drop down low and Lindsey knows to stop.  If I bump into an obstacle, we stop, take a look, and find another path.  In this way, I take care of the looking at the ground and Lindsey takes care of deciding where we go.  

We have been taking a lot of time to learn how to PLAN our trips too.  Lindsey is learning how to make mental map pictures of the areas in which we travel.  Mental Mapping is Really Cool.  When Miss Lindsey needs to travel from one place to another, she takes a minute to think about her route, shares it with me, and then together we travel, looking for the clues and landmarks along the way – so as to not get lost.  Sometimes I help her find the down low landmarks and she helps me to find the up high ones.

small map

Street map with short route

When we talked about what was most challenging for Lindsey and I working together, Lindsey shared that it was all the questions people asked her about me, her cane.  She shared that sometimes people question why she needs a partner to travel around and this makes her upset.  Lindsey shared that she is grown-up now and old enough to start making some of her own decisions.  She shared that she is the only one who knows how she sees best and that she really wishes people would trust her decisions when it comes to working with me when we travel around.

Recently, Lindsey, her family and I went on a really cool trip – we took a ship out onto the ocean!  We visited some really interesting places and got off the ship here and there to explore.  Lindsey shared that when travelling in new places she really feels best when I am by her side.  Sometimes, the paths are rough, and the area is not familiar; when I can come along and help her find the bumps and drops, she feels a lot more confident and happy.  

lindsey from the back with cane

Lindsey using Daisy to find a curb

As we talked with Lindsey about some of the new places we will be travelling to in the next few months, she got really excited!  We talked about learning how to cross streets downtown, how to explore some new places to learn about work and maybe how we could look at what kinds of jobs she and I can do together.  Lindsey and I understand that to be safe AND independent moving forward, we are going to have to work hard together as a team.  My bright white and red uniform helps others to see us and to know that they have to be more careful, especially if we are in the crosswalk.

One of the things we are MOST excited about is teaching others about our relationship.  We are the perfect team.  We talked about how everyone needs special tools to do their jobs and get work done.  I am one of those special tools!  And I think that Miss Lindsey and I make a great team.  I can’t wait for others to see us in action and to better understand how we can work together to keep Miss Lindsey safe AND help her be the best young person she can be.  Keep Your Eyes Open.  We will see you soon!

Seasons Greetings & Happy Holidays

Vision Rehabilitation Services of GA wishes each and every one of you very Happy Holidays!  May the time you spend with family and friends warm your hearts and remain with you always.  VRS looks forward to the New Year and being able to serve our clients and their families.  We also appreciate our sponsors and supporters in all they do to help our efforts.

In observance of the Holidays, VRS will be closing at 1pm ET today.  We will remain closed Monday, December 25th, and Tuesday, December 26th.  We will reopen, Wednesday, December 27th!

Client Holiday Party

It was our pleasure to host the annual VRS Holiday Party today.  While the weather was not working with us, we still had a great turn out, wonderful food, and a fabulous entertainment.

Food

Our guests were treated to a traditional holiday meal of ham, turkey, and all the trimmings.  We would like to thank Belinda Green of Akoma Events for catering our event and weathering the roads to deliver our delicious meal!!

Big Room U table

We had some fun holding a raffle where a number of gift baskets were won as well as a beautiful wreath.  We’d like to thank Cook’s Christmas Trees for the wreath donation.  They are setup right across the street on South Cobb Drive for those still looking for a Christmas tree, wreath, or other holiday décor.

 

We were also grateful to be able to send a mini key lime pie home with each guest thanks to the support and donation from Kenny’s Great Pies.  Kenny’s is a great alternative for your holiday pies and offer a varietyBig Room tables of flavors if key lime is not on your list.  We also enjoyed the live entertainment from Tina Knight, who’s voice was beautiful!

Many thanks to everyone who joined us today!  The VRS staff and Board wish each and every one of you a very Merry Holiday Season and Happy New Year!

snowing at party

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving-clip-art-thanksgiving-clipart-download-free-clipartcow

Vision Rehabilitation Services of GA wishes a very Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!  As families and friends gather and share past memories while making new ones, we at VRS wish you a day of happiness and gratefulness.  We are thankful for our clients and the ability to assist when needed.  Our capability to be there for our clients is not possible without our sponsors and supporters who we are very appreciative to and thankful for having.  With much gratitude, Happy Thanksgiving!

In observance of Thanksgiving, VRS will be closed Thursday, November 23rd, and Friday, November 24th.  We will reopen, Monday, November 27th!

VRS JR on the Road Again: A Visit to Portrait on a Plate

Hello Everybody!  Monday, November the 13th, the VRS Job Readiness group was once again out and about in the community. They visited Portrait on a Plate Catering, located in Austell, Georgia. These opportunities for hands on experiences provide insights into possible career paths as well as reinforcing daily living skills such as cooking, arranging transportation and time management.  VRS and our clients truly appreciate these outings and events.  So enjoy the following…

Upon our arrival, De’astin introduced us to our hosts, Chef Mark and Chef James. The Chefs of Portrait on a PlateAs soon as we walked in, the chefs had our group sit down at the kitchen table, after which they served us some delicious appetizers: warm, tenderly-cooked meatballs and Chicken wings marinated in a honey curry sauce.

While we ate, Jamie gave our hosts a chance to learn about how the visually impaired operate at the dinner table. You see, because most of us have problems with our eyesight, Jamie informed us of the location of our utensils and drinking glasses by describing them as if they were placed upon a clock’s face. Next, to confirm the location of these objects, Jamie told us to use our sense of touch to determine which items are in front of us. Afterwards, so that every participant would know who they were sitting next to, Jamie had each of us call out our names (kind of like playing Marco Polo without a pool). Our hosts were quick learners, and upon witnessing Jamie’s demonstration, Chef Mark and Chef James immediately adopted her methodology- how helpful!

After finishing the appetizer, we gathered around the kitchen’s L-shaped cooking counter, The Cooking Stationtied on our aprons, and began learning how to cook Chicken Cordon Bleu. Chicken Cordon BleuChef James- our cooking instructor for the day- guided us patiently throughout every stage of the cooking process.  For instance, he showed us how to avoid injuring our fingers while chopping vegetables by demonstrating the “Tiger Paw” technique. (Our fingers thank you!) James also allowed us to hold and smell every ingredient in the recipe. That way, even the folks with the least amount of useable vision available could tell them apart. Additionally, James and Mark allowed each person to contribute to the cooking process by handing everyone either a meat tenderizer, a knife, or a bowl of seasoning. This part was especially fun, because Derrick and William got to release some of their pent-up emotions by pounding the living daylights out a chicken breast.  More importantly, however, both Chef Mark and Chef James trusted each member of the JR group to complete their tasks safely, and we truly appreciate such trust and kindness.

In fact, the staff members at Portrait on a Plate were extremely kind and accommodating throughout our entire visit. For instance, not only did they provide us with refreshments and music while we ate, but the chefs also closed their business to the public on October 13th, all so that they could teach our Job Readiness class how to cook as a favor to the Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia.  The staff members refused to charge the JR group for either the meals or the cooking lesson that they gave us.   (Maybe, they can write it off as charity during tax season.) The Job Readiness Participants didn’t even have to worry about cleaning up their work stations or washing dishes when the class was finished- and let me tell you, a bunch of low-sighted cooks can make quite a mess in the kitchen.

To show our appreciation for their generosity, the Job Readiness group members agreed to recommend Portrait on a Plate to everyone on Facebook and Twitter, along with any of the other 70 million identical social media websites. Additionally, Jamie and the JR participants were happy to answer any questions that the chefs had regarding the signs which accompany certain visual disorders, the types of sports open to people with visual impairments, or the percentage of students who were born with low vision, as opposed to those who acquired their visual impairments later in life.

For instance, according to Jamie, vision problems manifest in many different ways. So, if you experience dizziness, vision problems or headaches, then you probably drink too much. Nonetheless, if these problems continue, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.  Finally, after their questions had been answered, the Job Readiness participants bid farewell to our hosts, before heading back to the VRS office to be picked up.

VRS_Volunteers_Portrait_on_A_Plate_Group_picOn behalf of Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia, we would all like to thank Chef Mark and Chef James for providing us with delicious food, valuable cooking tips, as well as a wonderful dining experience overall. Whether you are desperately searching for someone to cater your next party, or simply looking for a cooking instructor that can make learning both safe and fun, you can’t go wrong with Portrait on A Plate Catering!

Finally, a special thank you to Mr. Wayman, Beth Shaw, and Bob Shaw of the Lion’s club who drove us to Portrait on a Plate Catering on Monday. You people are real life savers. (We really mean that: the buses won’t go to that part of Austell, and you don’t want a bunch of people who have visual impairments attempting to drive themselves.)

 

Attention ALL Adults – Have you had your immunizations?

Living Well with Diabetes and Vision Loss is a United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta sponsored program run by VRS. Each month we work to provide information that we feel is helpful to those living with diabetes and vision loss.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects how the body uses food for energy due to insulin resistance. Diabetes affects the metabolism as well as the immune system. The disease causes the immune system to destroy insulin producing cells within the pancreas. The immune response is also much lower in people who have diabetes so they are more susceptible to getting infections that could result in the loss of a limb.

Many of us will remember the days of toting our children to the doctor to get their recommended immunizations and protect them from various diseases. As adults, however, we often neglect much needed vaccinations which are recommended and help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. To stay protected against serious illnesses, adults need to get vaccinated too. Shots such as the flu vaccine, are recommended annually for all adults and other shots such as the pneumonia or Shingles vaccine may also be recommended by your doctor.

Take this short quiz below to determine what shots you may need to take, then talk to your doctor about each. Don’t neglect the steps you need to take to be at optimal health.

The Adult Vaccine Quiz from the CDC: https://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultImmSched/

To stay healthy this winter also be sure to eat well, get some exercise and plenty of sleep. The immune system fights best for you when it is healthy and taken care of. Allow for time with family or friends playing games or sharing stories and leisure activities. Laugh a lot. Our emotional health is tied directly to our immune system and when we feel a part of a community our immune system works its best.

VRS benefits from Whitefield Great Day of Service

VRS benefits from Whitefield Great Day of Service

Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia extends a big “THANK YOU” to Whitefield Academy and the great work completed at the office this past Saturday, August 26th.  Whitfield Academy students and parents revamped the flower beds are VRS entrance as part of their Great Day of Service.

Picture of the Whitefield GroupWhitefield launched Whitefield Great Day of Service just this month.  They shared “This event is centered on coming together as a Pack and starting off the school year with a focus on “others ahead of self.””  When asked “Why is Whitefield starting a Great Day of Service?”  They responded, “We want to create a way for the entire Whitefield community to come together as a family and focus on “others ahead of self” as we start a new school year. There’s no better way to center our hearts and minds on Christ than to serve others! Our goal is to make this an annual tradition at the beginning of each school year.”
“VRS is blessed by their service and have a partnership of many years with Whitfield Academy.  They did a beautiful job on the flowers and we are most appreciative” Sharon Croyle, VRS CEO/Executive Director, stated.
Flowerbed 1
Flowerbed 2
Flowerbed 3
East Cobb & Cobb County Senior Centers Host “A MATTER OF BALANCE”

East Cobb & Cobb County Senior Centers Host “A MATTER OF BALANCE”

VRS is proud to share the following details on two 8 week programs being held in Marietta…

Many older adults experience concerns about falling and 
restrict their activities.

A MATTER OF BALANCE is an award-winning 
program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels.

Select the course series that fits your calendar best and register today!

Senior Wellness Center                  East Cobb Senior Center
1150 Powder Springs Street                   3332 Sandy Plains Rd.
Marietta, GA 30064                                Marietta, GA 30066
Tuesdays September 5– October 24     Tuesdays September 26– November 14
10:00am-12:00pm                                   10:00am-12:00pm

MOB ECSC Sept 26 - Nov 14 2017

Wellness MOB_Sept 5-Oct 24 Marietta

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