YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Time and again people ask, “What can I do to help?” There are many things you can do to make a difference in a blind or visually impaired person’s life. Volunteers are always much needed and appreciated!
The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired operates under the simple premise that clients’ needs come first. That’s why all training and support services are provided without charge so no one is denied access to training or services due to financial constraints.
Volunteers make a world of difference in the lives of our 1,400+ clients from all 14 counties of the state. The inability to drive is the most significant limiting aspect for a person with a visual impairment, but with the help of volunteer drivers, VABVI is able to provide transportation to our clients.
If you or someone you know would like to receive rewards beyond financial compensation, please consider volunteering your time to serve blind and visually impaired Vermonters. Listed are some of our volunteer opportunities:
- Become a Driver: Transport individuals to and from appointments. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license, an automobile in good working condition and automobile insurance. Drivers will receive reimbursement for the use of the automobile per mile basis. Assistance to and from vehicle may be required.
- Assist with Shopping: Assist individuals within stores (usually for groceries).
- Be a Reader/Clerical Helper: Read mail, periodicals, newspapers, and other printed material to clients. Help to aid a visually impaired person fill out forms, decipher bills, and answer correspondence.
- Become a Resource Person: Volunteers are always encouraged to share a particular skill or technique. Skills might include crafts, recreational activities, group discussions, etc.
- Help at Meetings: We also have a number of volunteers who help with PALS groups or children’s programming.
- Provide Office Support: We have volunteers who help us convert printed material into large print, Braille, and audiotapes. Many come to our offices and help with mailings and other administrative duties.
- Help with Special Events: Some volunteers provide help with our special events such as fundraisers and programs for clients. Duties vary according to the needs of each event and the abilities of each volunteer.
Meet Ferne, one of our volunteers:
“Hi I’m Ferne! I’m originally from St. Albans and now live in Victory. Did you know that Victory was the last town to get electricity and telephones in the United States in 1965? I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology, and I am a nurse as well as a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. I am chairwoman of the Victory Select Board and I am heavily involved on committees and boards throughout my community. Why do I volunteer for VABVI? Well, I recently developed wet macular degeneration and have limited functional vision remaining in one eye. I want to demystify what it means to have a visual impairment. I am on VABVI’s Consumer Advisory Council and as a member of their Speaker’s Bureau I travel to schools, hospitals, senior centers to talk about what it means to be visually impaired. I love to help people and stay active!”
Every May, we host our annual Volunteer Luncheons (one in the Southern part of the state and one in the Northern part). We serve food, offer thanks, and present awards to these generous friends and neighbors of VABVI and our clients.
Interested in becoming a volunteer? Visit http://www.vabvi.org/volunteer/ or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Vicki Vest, at (802) 863-1358 ext. 243!