As we welcome 2017, we also pause to reflect on all that we accomplished with your support in the past year. We served nearly 6,000 individuals of all ages from across our 26-county region who are experiencing vision loss or blindness.
Here are some of the highlights of what we accomplished together in 2016:
- Acquired Reading Service of the Redwoods: Last spring, the executive director of Reading Service of the Redwoods (RSR) asked if we would be interested in acquiring their services. After a few conversations and a visit with the RSR board, we decided to partner with RSR to preserve telephone reading for the 150+ people in the Humboldt County area who rely on this important service. On Dec. 31, RSR officially joined Society’s Access News Telephone Reader Program. RSR volunteers will continue to read and record, and we look forward to expanding this service in the year ahead.
- Increased services for seniors: Our monthly eight-day immersion retreats continue to fill up, and we have added three- and five-day retreats to accommodate people with secondary medical or physical conditions. We also added a new program, A Matter of Balance, which offers seniors the opportunity to learn skills and techniques to reduce falls and improve health and stamina. We offered the course twice, and both times it was filled to capacity. We anticipate strong interest in the new year.
- Launched CareersPLUS: This much-anticipated program that offers youth and adult tracks includes workshops, one-on-one mentoring and direct experience in job settings to help our clients secure employment.
- Expanded our reach to 27 counties: In 2016, we set our sights on expanding our reach to rural communities and the northern-most parts of the state. At year’s end, we had established services in Humboldt, and have requests for services from several areas including Redding, Sonora, Butte and Chico.
As 2017 gets underway, we want to build partnerships in these 27 counties so Society can bring much-needed blindness skills education to these communities. We are also excited about building outreach and access to veterans by working with the VA of Northern California. The year promises to be busy and full of opportunities, and we look forward to working with you to achieve our mission to enable people living with low vision and blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and the community we serve, thank you for making it possible for us to bring hope and opportunities to people living with vision loss.
Have a wonderful New Year!