2018–2019 Annual Report
2017–2018 Annual Report
FACTS ABOUT VISIONS
Our Vision is For Everyone to See What is Possible
- 92 years of experience
- 89 cents of every dollar is spent on programs with only 11 cents spent on administration and fundraising
- Services are FREE of charge
- Services are provided from birth to death
- Services are provided in all neighborhoods in all five boroughs of NYC, all of Long Island, Lower Westchester and Rockland County
- Services are provided in 10 languages
- Services are provided in the person’s home, at VISIONS two service centers in Manhattan and at VCB in Rockland County
- More than 33% of VISIONS staff is blind
- VISIONS is #1 in New York State in placement of blind people in jobs
VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, incorporated in 1926, is a nonprofit rehabilitation and social service organization whose purpose is to develop and implement programs to:
- Assist people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired to lead independent and active lives in their homes and communities.
- Educate the public to understand the capabilities and needs of people who are blind or visually impaired so that they can be integrated into all aspects of community life. VISIONS fulfills its purpose by providing:
- Individualized rehabilitation training at home or in the community
- Social Services
- Employment Training and Job Development
- Group and Community Education and Activities
VISIONS programs focus on individuals with low income in the greater New York area who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities, elders, limited-English speakers and culturally diverse consumers, and their families.
Each year, VISIONS provides programs and services for over 7,000 individuals. All services are free of charge.
We are delighted to share with you VISIONS 2017 Annual Report. The highlights show what is tried and true to our mission, what is new and filling gaps in service and what is preparing VISIONS for the future. We are proud of the impact we have had on over 7,000 individuals this year. The 2017 outcomes include an:
- increase in the number of blind people that secured employment. VISIONS is #1 for the second year in a row in job placements of blind job seekers.
- increase in the number and type of services provided for blind people of all ages and their families and unpaid caregivers. Over 1500 people received vision rehabilitation services. Over 750 unpaid caregivers received training and support to relieve the burden of caregiving. Over 700 participants registered for the VISIONS Center on Aging senior center. VISIONS added new programs that increased the physical activity, emotional health and social connections of blind center members.
- increase in the number of days of programming at VISIONS Center on Blindness and the finished construction of the vocational rehabilitation center (VRC). The VRC started serving blind New Yorkers age 18 to 21 years of age in August 2017. The VRC program meets all five pre-employment transition services outcomes recommended by federal legislation.
- increase in funds raised by VISIONS four volunteer community advisory boards and Board of Directors. Volunteers helped VISIONS recruit over 600 new participants for services and sponsored special events that introduced many new friends to VISIONS including a successful annual May golf and tennis event chaired by volunteers Robbie Davis and Ric Apter.
- increase in the knowledge and training of VISIONS staff to work more effectively with children with cortical vision impairment and older persons that are ambivalent about accepting services to cope with their vision loss.
We were able to accomplish so much spending 89 cents of every dollar on programs with only 11 cents on administration and fundraising. An important goal for next year is re-designing VISIONS website to better inform the public of the great work of our staff, the commitment of our Board of Directors and Volunteers and the success achieved by the blind people we serve. We welcome any comments or questions or suggestions by phone 212-625- 1616 Ext. 117, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, by posting on our Facebook page or commenting on the Great Nonprofits website. Thank you for making VISIONS the agency of choice for so many people and their families experiencing vision loss. Your support enables us to keep all services free of charge for the primarily low income participants that access our services.
Fact: Only 3% of people who would benefit from vision rehabilitation ever receive it. (National Eye Institute)
Solution: VISIONS serves over 1500 people of all ages with vision rehabilitation services with the total number of people served in all programs of over 7,000 annually.
Individuals Served in 2017
Community Services, Vision Rehabilitation & Workforce Development
VISIONS at Selis Manor VISIONS Center on Aging
VISIONS Center on Blindness (VCB)
VISIONS Programs and Services
Benefits Facilitated Enrollment
Blindline® Information and Referral Center and website
Caregiver Support Project
Children, Youth and Family Programs
C.I.L. Textbooks and Audiobooks
Early Intervention Baby and Toddler Program
Employer Advisory Panels
Multilingual Public Education and Outreach
NYC Youth and Vision Loss Coalition
Occupational Therapy (OT)
Orientation and Mobility (O&M)
Pre-College Program at Manhattanville
Social Work and Mental Health Counseling
Summer Transition Program at Queens College
Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)
VISIONS Center on Aging Senior Center
VISIONS at Selis Manor
Vocational Rehabilitation Center (VRC)
VISIONS Center on Blindness VCB
Volunteer and Intergenerational Programs
Workforce Development and Training for Youth and Adults
Fact: Only one third of blind people seeking jobs are working.
Solution: VISIONS is #1 in job placements of blind New Yorkers for 2016 and 2017.
Fact: More than half of babies born with vision impairment also have other disabilities.
Solution: VISIONS professional certified and licensed staff is trained to work with children with multiple disabilities including children with cortical vision impairment.
Fact: As the population ages, more older persons experience vision loss.
Solution: VISIONS operates a senior center adapted and accessible for blind older persons, offers vision rehabilitation to increase independence and provides training and support for unpaid caregivers.
Muriel, 89, Manhattan
Muriel has hearing loss and declining vision loss. She was taught how to use a talking book player and was impressed that even with her hearing loss she was able to hear the book she chose. VISIONS helped provide her with a large print calendar and address book, floor lamp and talking watch to keep track of her appointments. “I learned how to use a “Say-When” device that beeps when my cup is full! I couldn’t believe it. I feel a sense of accomplishment that I can now get around independently and safely.” Muriel worked with VISIONS Senior Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist COMS and VISIONS licensed OT/COMS/CVRT and was shown how to get down her front door step. Muriel had a lot of anxiety after a fall earlier in the year. With patience and coaxing, Muriel was highly justified in the sense of accomplishment she felt being able to exit her building independently and safely. She continues her passion, advocacy work at the United Nations.
Elizabeth, 37, Brooklyn
Elizabeth is legally blind because of albinism. She came to VISIONS in May 2016 looking for a job. With help from the VISIONS workforce staff, she landed a job as a bookkeeper at the United Federation of Teachers at the end of October 2016. She struggled with her confidence, work performance and communication with her direct supervisor and ended up losing that job. She was upset and attended the VISIONS workforce soft skills/work readiness class to help her have a better understanding of the expectations of the modern workplace. This training helped her become ready for her next role. A part-time job helped increase her confidence as she continued her work on her communications skills. In August 2017 she finally landed a full time job as a Utility Information Assistant in the Office of Environmental & Energy Program Department. She is very happy in this role and intends to make a career out of this job. Elizabeth believes that, although she had some bumps in the road to successful employment, VISIONS helped her to understand her role in the workforce and find an employer that truly values the skill set she brings to the table.
Axel, 24, Manhattan
Axel was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York at 14. School was much easier in New York than in Puerto Rico because there were so many accommodations for his vision loss. “Being at VISIONS was the first time that I saw visually impaired people go to work. Through all of the tumultuous times in my life, I’ve always been able to rely on the support of the staff at VISIONS at Selis Manor.” Axel is currently enrolled at LaGuardia Community College studying Business Administration and Marketing. His visual impairment has presented some barriers in school, but he is determined to finish. He says the best lesson he has learned from college is life balance and time management skills. He plans to graduate in December 2018. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends, attending rock concerts and going out to eat. Axel would offer this advice to visually impaired teens. “Accept youself for who you are, never let your impairment define who you are, focus on your goals and never give up.”
Ted, 7, Brooklyn
In 2016, a loving family decided to adopt their 7-year-old Asian-American male son. He is totally blind, happy, well-mannered, independent and a highly curious young boy. He attended VCB, located in Rockland County. He participated in the rehabilitation classes, orientation and mobility lessons, and worked closely with the professional specialists to develop his cooking, computer, and personal skills. Ted enjoyed the pool, arts and crafts, gym, and the petting zoo where he was able to touch, observe, and get to ask questions about the animals. His mother made it clear that her expectation attending VCB was to learn of the resources available for her son as well as to make connections with other parents who were going through similar experiences and she did. Ted and his mom participated in the Parent and Me Cooking class where they were receptive to the skills learned. He was able to establish friendships, learn a variety of skills including social skills, identifying money, and using sensory, auditory, and tactile skills to complete laundry. Ted and his mom were delighted by how many things he learned in just one week and how caring and accommodating VISIONS Staff is.
Bernadine, 61, Bronx
“I became blind in 2001. I noticed my vision had been getting foggy. It was so bad I took a cab straight to the eye doctor. I was slowly losing my vision. At the time of my vision loss I had still been working. Once I stopped, I was given the number to the Commission for the Blind and they connected me with VISIONS. I was introduced to Selis Manor their 23rd Street location and joined the Moving Forward support group for people with vision loss. It gave me a space where I could open up and talk about my feelings and private experiences. They made everything feel more normal. At home, I had family either denying my vision loss or making me feel “less than” for having vision loss. At VISIONS, I had support. The group convinced me to start using a long cane and gave me the permission I needed to ask people for help. That was something very new to me, but it has served me well. I’ve come a long way from the start of my vision problems to now. When I lost my vision, I couldn’t drive, my friends no longer called around, and some of my family made me feel ashamed. VISIONS gave me a purpose, a place to go and an escape. At VISIONS, I learned that I am lucky and I still have the power to help others who are worse off than me. I appreciate the people and the staff. I like getting to meet others like me. I feel encouraged, happy and able to do more. I am thankful and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without VISIONS.”
Zakiah, 64, Brooklyn
Zakiah is a caregiver. She helps care for her mother, who is 84 and has glaucoma. When Zakiah needed a place where she could learn the tools that would allow her to be the kind of caregiver she wanted to be, VISIONS stepped in. VISIONS caregiver support group provides the educational training and the social and emotional outlet she needed. The group meetings became her time and her space—a place where she can go and talk about her mother and know she is not alone. “We are not alone as caregivers,” she says. “VISIONS staff and members are there for support and give so much of their time.” In addition to learning about herself and caregiving, Zakiah also learned the crucial life lessons of valuing patience and empathetic listening. “The group taught me how to be a little more patient,” she says. “When I stop myself and listen to what my mother is saying, I am able to see that my mom is still her and to appreciate that more.” She also learned the importance of knowing her limits in helping a loved one. That was a hard task for her to accept, but when she noticed that she was neglecting her own health and not going to appointments, she had to take a step back and take care of herself. “As caregivers, we run ourselves into the ground until we can no longer run,” Zakiah says. “There was an example I heard once that has stood with me to this day: When you’re on an airplane and the plane is falling, you have to put your mask on first before you can put on anyone else’s because if you can’t breathe who will ultimately be there for that loved one. Because of VISIONS, I know that I am not alone with these feelings, and there are great strategies and support available to people caring for a loved one with vision loss.”
Sammi, 17, Volunteer
My volunteer experience at VISIONS has really shaped my perception of people who are blind or visually impaired. It has taught me a lot regarding the perspectives of these people. That even though they are physically handicapped, they still are able to accomplish daily tasks that are done by everyone else. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a saying that really suits the stereotypes and prejudices that are placed on the disabled, and I think my experience with VISIONS really helped prove many of these stereotypes false.
Juleissy, 17, Volunteer
I have learned basic necessary life skills, and I’m so glad I was a part of this program. Volunteering is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s something I will forever continue to do whether it is with this program or not. I truly love helping others and giving back whenever I can. Home visits were my favorite. Traveling to a client’s house made me content because I knew I was on my way to help someone in need, someone who had a disability and wasn’t able to do certain things. I was the person they counted on, and I believe I made my clients happy. I love the feeling of helping someone and knowing someone who really needs my help appreciates it. At VISIONS, I have learned the most valuable lesson of my life, and this is that everything is possible if it is wanted and worked for. I had the privilege of learning this day by day with the seniors at VISIONS. Despite having little to no sight, they live their lives without making themselves any less than anyone who has full sight and that to me is proof that everything is possible.
On Aug. 6, 2017, VISIONS proudly launched New York State’s first and only residential Vocational Rehabilitation Center (VRC) for blind youth. VISIONS President, CEO, Board Members, and the NYS Acting Commissioner (Office of Children and Family Services) Sheila Poole (6th from the left) at the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
Frank preparing for his job interview using “talking software” to hear the text read to him.
Janeen Terrana, a make-up artist and long-time VISIONS volunteer shows Marie how to apply her makeup without vision.
Four blind children at the August children’s program at VISIONS Center on Blindness in Rockland County. They toured the ambulance and learned about emergency services.
(From left to right) Jim Baumann, Robbie Davis, Doug Borck, and Michael Greenspan at the 32nd annual golf and tennis outing on May 23, 2017, at the beautiful Fairview Country Club in Greenwich, CT.
Blind students spend a day at the local mall reinforcing their mobility skills and budgeting their allowance.
Blind Students playing basketball.
Gary Bagley of New York Cares; Mark J. Kator of the Isabella Geriatric Center; Nancy T. Jones, the President of VISIONS Board of Directors; and Marc Kutner of Akuity Social Enterprises being honored at the Manhattan Dinner at AIG Headquarters on Sept. 14, 2017. Rebecca Alexander (3rd from left) wowed the crowd with her personal story of losing her vision and hearing, and gaining a full life in the process.
Honoree Lion 20-K1 District Governor Charles W. McBride with guests at the Queens Dinner at Douglaston Manor on Sept. 26, 2017.
Allyson receiving an orientation and mobility lesson on how to navigate using a cane.
Board of Directors
Statements of Activities and Changes in Net Assets
$10,000 - $499,000
Blauvelt Lions Charities, Inc.
Cold Spring Lions Club
Estate of Irene H. Cohn
Lucius L. and Rhonda N. Fowler
Nancy T. Jones
JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc.
Lions Club of Somers
Lions District 20R1 Charities, Inc.
Moses L. Parshelsky Foundation
Norman & Bettina Roberts Foundation, Inc.
Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Fdn.
Robert A. Schonbrunn
The Barker Welfare Foundation
The David Kimmel Foundation
The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Fdn.
The New York Community Trust
Hedi H. White
$5,000 - $9,999
American International Group
Arnold K. Davis & Co., Inc./Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Davis
Demarest Lloyd Jr. Foundation
Fiduciary Trust Company Intl.
Lions Club of Mount Vernon
Martha W. Straus-Harry H. Straus Fdn.
Mattituck Lions Club
Nancy D. and Gerald Miller
Jonathan D. Notaro
Rochelle & David A. Hirsch Foundation, Inc.
Peter A. Roffman
Harriette K. and Burton M. Strauss, Jr.
$1,000 - $4,999
1919 Investment Counsel
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Assured Guaranty Corp. Mr. & Mrs. Mal L. Barasch
BeneCard Services, Inc. - PBF
Douglas Andrew Borck
Consigli Construction NY, LLC
Cotiviti USA, LLC
Stephen J. DiLascio
Doolittle Family Foundation
Douglass Winthrop Advisors, LLC
Ed Lucas Foundation, Inc.
EmblemHealth Services, LLC
Estate of Claire Wagner
Estate of David H. Boxer
Estate of Eli & Diane Rudolph
Norma P. Eversley
Fordham Road District
Ralph M. Freydberg
Gertler & Wente Architects, LLP
Kenneth J. Gralak
Michael D. and Ellyn S. Greenspan
Hendrick Hudson Lions Club
Hutch Metro Center I, LLC
International Research & Exchanges Board, Inc.
Alan L. Jacobs
John Francis Conway Consulting, LLC
Steven E. and Catherine G. Kent
Lois and Leo Kuperschmid
Lions Club of Bedford Village
Lions Club of Larchmont
Lions Club of Oyster Bay Lions Club of Pleasantville
Lions Club of the Bronx
Clara F. Londoner
Johan S. and Lynn A. Marfey
James McGroarty, M.D.
Metro Optics Eyewear, Inc.
Metzger-Price Fund, Inc.
Mill Basin-Bergen Beach Lions Club
New York Gaming Association, Inc.
New York Highbridge Lions Club
New York Hunts Point Lions Club
New York University
Margaret M. and Douglas E. Nordlinger
North Babylon Lions Club
North Salem Lions Club
NY Japanese-American Lions Club
OSIA NYS Grand Lodge Foundation, Inc. Israel O. and Precious W. Owodunni
Pisacano Eye Surgery & Laser Specialists
Port Jefferson Lions Club
Jon and Anne Postyn
Preferred Home Care of NY
R.A.I.N. (Regional AID For Interim Needs, Inc.)
Denise G. and Jonathan D. Rabinowitz
PDG Jagadish B. and Peggy Rao
Victor M. Rosenzweig
Kenneth D. and Marcia B. Schlechter
Sight Improvement Center, Inc.
Scott and Theresa Simpson
Sol and Margaret Berger Foundation
Spanish Speaking Elderly (RAICES)
Stein Riso Mantel McDonough, LLP
Dr. Cynthia Stuen and Rev. William Weisenbach
The Baumann Family Foundation
The Kopp Family Foundation Inc
The New Yankee Stadium
The Randi and Clifford Lane Foundation, Inc.
Theodor and Renee Weiler Foundation, Inc.
Paul R. Trebilcock and Deborah W. Dorsey
Tuckahoe Eastchester Lions Club
John and Libby Winthrop
Yonkers Racing Corporation
$500 - $999
Fredric C. Apter
Mark E. Arroll
Babylon Lions Club Charities, Inc.
David L. and Jan Ball
Steven E. and Joy Blair-Bernstein
PIP Al Brandel
Brooklyn Caribe Lions Club
Brooklyn Crown Heights Lions Club
Jasmine M. Campirides
Pernell N. Celestine
Central Brookhaven Lions Club
Fred S. Claar
Joseph L. and Nydia E. Corace
Cutchogue Lions Club
Donald F. Dunning
F and F Insurance
Florence & Melvin J. Cohen
Fraternal Order of Police
Howard K. Freilich
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Greenwich Lions Club
Richard L. Hecht
Irwin Siegel Agency, Inc.
James and Marie Anne Karanfilian
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Thomas R. King
Paul W. Lauterback III
Dong-Joon and Duck-Ja Lee
Martin Lee, M.D.
Lions Club of Bensonhurst
Lions Club of Long Beach
Lions Club of Mount Kisco
Little Neck Douglaston Lions Club, Inc. Neldy Martinez
Maspeth Lions Club
Joseph A. McManus
PDG Edward “Skip” Meinhold
New York Cosmopolitan Lions Club
New York Cuban Lions Club
New York Impacto Lions Club
New York Manhattan Lions Club
New York Methodist Hospital
Lion Norman G. Newman - CPA
Jan A. Nilsen
North Rockland Lions Club
North Sea Lions Club
North Shore Lions Club
Richard J. and Jane Novick
Michael and Virginia E. O’Halloran
James and Laurien K. Oestreich
Michael V. Oneal
Anne Carin Pai
Peace of Mind Management, Inc
Dr. David A. Perry
Mr. & Mrs. Carl Pforzheimer, III
Leonard Plaine, M.D., P.C.
William A. and Ronnie N. Potter
PDG Angelo and Ellen Purcigliotti
Ramapo Lions Club
Ravenswood Lions Foundation, Inc.
Peter and Karen M. Rivoir
Salcare Home Health Services, Inc.
Shelter Island Lions Club
St. Michael’s Cemetery
Strong Foundation of New York
Stuy Park Lions Club
Tappan Zee High School
The Children’s Aid Society
The Ed Lee & Jean Campe Foundation, Inc.
Mindy and Marc Utay
Irina and Emerich Vainrib
Juana and Hector Valdez
Patricia J. Volland
Washington Heights Inwood Lions Club
Woodside Interamerican Lions Club
Kirk and Roslyn Adams
Frederic C. Apter
Arthur Avenue Caterers/David Greco
Avli Little Greek Tavern
Annalyn Courtney Barbier
Barclay Center/Roland Guevara
Bowlmor AMF/Jessica Davenport
Bronx Community Wellness/Brian Salazar
Bronx Tax Man/John Cerini
Brooklyn Children Museum/Eric Pannell
Brooklyn Museum/Laval Bryant
Brooklyn Nets/Joe Grande
BVM USA MODA Inc./Alexandra Lapegna
Carnegie Hall/Matthew Scarella
Catherine Stein Designs/FAF/Sylvia Rivers
Chandni Salon & Spa
Christie & Co Salon/Lois Christie
City Winery/Ross Garton
Joseph L. Corace
Crosstown Diner/ Bill Tsibidis
Robert A. Davis
Donovan’s Tavern/Martin Picone
Dutzi Design Inc./Ariane Dutzi
Eifert, French & Ketchum/Fred L. Greenfield
Elliot Horowitz & Company LLP/Bruce Balsam
Empire City Casino/Taryn Duffy
F. A. F. Inc./Catherine Stein Designs/Sylvia Rivers
F & J Pine Restaurant/Dominique Maitta
Greek Family Kitchen
Paul and Kathrine Gregory
Hampton Inn & Suites Yonkers/Diane Farrah
Inspired Chiropractic/Dr. John McAtamney
Lenz’s Delight Catering Inc./Nasser Hashash
Local & Vine/Nicole Rudolph
Mary Kay Cosmetics/Jeanette Christie
Nancy D. and Gerald Miller
Neo Fifth/Sue Prieto
New York Country Club/Garrett Hirsch
New York Jets/Andrew R. Agro
New York Mets
New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital/
NY Yankees/Carol Laurenzano
Nothing Forgotten, Inc.
Oasis Day Spa/Bruce Schoenberg
P. S. Marcato Elevator Co., Inc./David Marcato
Preferred Home Care/Sandra Picillo
Premier Designs/Chasity Picillo
Riverspring Health Plans/Neldy Martinez
Sight Improvement Center, Inc./Charles S. Hollander
Sterling National Bank/Dominic Mazza
Swarovski North America, Ltd./Alexa Yidiaris
Totem Tamers/Julie Stampler
Westchester Broadway Theater/Ginny Baisi
Yonkers Brewing Company/Jackie Rubbo
You’re Invited to Celebrate
Special Thank You for their Support:
Andrew M. Cuomo
NYS Assembly Member
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
Sheila J. Poole, Acting Commissioner
NYS Commission for the Blind
Brian Daniels, Associate Commissioner
Village of New Hempstead Mayor
Bill de Blasio
Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
Victor Calise, Commissioner
NYC Borough Presidents
Ruben Diaz, Jr.
NYC Council Members
The New York City Council
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (2017)
Speaker Corey Johnson (2018)
Maria del Carmen Arroyo
Inez E. Dickens
Daniel R. Garodnick
NYC Department for the Aging
Donna Corrado, Commissioner
NYC Dept of Youth & Community Development
NYC Department for the Aging
NYS Commission for the Blind
NYS Department of Health
NYS Dormitory Authority
NYS Employees Federated Appeal
Associated Blind HDFC
Public Health Solutions
New York State Preferred Source Program for the
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