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1506 Bayshore Gardens Pkwy Bradenton, FL 34207

+1 (941) 359-14047318 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243
Hope and Empowerment for the Visually Impaired

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August 2021 eNews

Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center logo

A Lifetime Love of Learning

Aubrey typing at his computer.

Aubrey Sykes has experienced adversity and triumphs all his life, which has prepared him for one of his biggest challenges yet: overcoming vision loss. When Aubrey was a child, he was placed in an orphanage and at the age of five moved onto a farm to work. After the age of 18, he went to college and subsidized his education, taking on as many shifts as possible at a local restaurant. He uncovered his passion for development and analysis while attending college, later obtaining his PhD in chemical engineering.

Aubrey went on to oversee teams and projects for major international corporations and had his hand in the development of things such as the glue that holds together furniture and materials used in a smartphone. After 35 years, Aubrey moved on to share his knowledge and passion for education by teaching at the university level around the country. Aubrey stepped down from his position at Calvin University after noticing changes in his eyesight that affect his ability to work with students. With growing concern about his vision, he turned to his ophthalmologist for answers.

Testing revealed Aubrey had glaucoma, a progressive disease that changes the appearance of the optic nerve over time ultimately leading to blindness. Today, he has complete vision loss in his right eye and partial vision in his left eye. He has seen the most significant changes to his vision over the past three years but has been working towards learning independence with the help of the Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center. He has worked with Lighthouse instructors to practice mobility, cooking, technology, and other services related to adjusting with vision loss.

While losing one’s vision is life-changing, Aubrey still believes in living every day to the fullest. In addition to his Lighthouse courses, Aubrey likes to keep fit in both mind and body. He participates in yoga, works out three days a week, as well as getting in 10,000 steps a day with his wife, Nyna. He continues to build upon his culinary skills and enjoys a great story when listening to audio books. Aubrey credits the Lighthouse with helping him adapt to his new way of life; a life that continues to defy the odds.

Click here to read or watch other stories of hope and empowerment

Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center works with children, teens, adults and seniors affected by vision loss to gain independence and self-sufficiency. Our programs and services are provided at NO COST to every person we provide services to. These services are provided free because of individuals like you. We hope you will continue to donate to the Lighthouse by clicking the donate button.

Join Us for Planned Giving Session at the Lighthouse

Join us for a Virtual Planned Giving Presentation by Attorney Richard Gans on Tuesday, August 10 or Thursday, August 12, 10:00-11:00 A.M.

Learn how to plan your estate while supporting Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center. Are you curious about the benefits of becoming a member of Lighthouse’s Legacy Society? Join us for a virtual Planned Giving Presentation via Zoom. For your convenience, you can choose between Tuesday, August 10, 2021 or Thursday, August 12, 2021 from 10:00 to 11:00 am.

Our presenter, attorney Richard Gans, is a shareholder in the Sarasota, Florida, firm of Fergeson Skipper, P.A., certified by The Florida Bar as a specialized Wills, Trusts and Estates Lawyer, and is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). He is active in the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar. Mr. Gans is the current vice-chair of the Section’s Asset Protection Committee, and is past chair of the Section’s Estate and Trust Tax Planning and Wills, Trusts and Estates Certification Exam CLE course committees. 

Also in attendance will be Ms. Susie Bowie, Executive Director, Manatee Community Foundation on August 10 and Ms. Betsy Pennewill, JD, Corporate Counsel, Community Foundation of Sarasota County on August 12.

To reserve your space, please click this link! or RSVP with Terri Medina at terri.medina@LighthouseEducationCenter.org or 941-359-1404 ext 2.*Zoom link will be emailed to you prior to the presentation.

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month

Across the country, many children are beginning a new school year and healthy vision will be critical to a successful academic year. As a child grows, an untreated eye disease or condition becomes more difficult to correct. These can worsen and lead to other serious problems as well as affect reading ability, focus, behavior, personality, and social adjustment in school. Vision problems that can affect children include amblyopia, (“lazy eye”), strabismus, (“crossed eyes”), and the most common forms of refractive error: myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. 

The Technology in the Community sessions is joint instruction provided by certified Lighthouse Orientation & For the second year in a row, Prevent Blindness and the National Optometric Association (NOA) are teaming up to declare August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month to educate parents and caregivers on the steps that should be taken to ensure that students are provided with the best opportunity to have a successful school year through healthy vision.

National Nonprofit Day

On August 17th, National Nonprofit Day will recognize the positive impact that nonprofit organizations have on our local communities and around the world.

Through nonprofits, awareness, research, and aid reach the people who need it most. Nonprofits also produce tremendous benefits to their surrounding communities and the broader world.

Through nonprofits, awareness, research and aid reach the people who need it most.Take some time to learn more about nonprofits.

Meet Our New Orientation & Mobility Intern

The Lighthouse would like to extend a warm and hearty welcome to our new intern Addy Burfield. A native of Pennsylvania, Addy has her undergraduate degree in Secondary Education from The Pennsylvania State University and is completing her Orientation & Mobility certification and Master of Education through the University of Pittsburgh.

We are very excited to have Addy as part of the Lighthouse team. She is a fantastic addition to our Orientation & Mobility program and has a passion for teaching and helping others. Welcome aboard Addy!

Shop Peepers Online

Take advantage of your opportunity to purchase your Visolux 7″ Digital HD at a fantastic discount. This device combines modern technology with intuitive operation and provides the ultimate reading comfort.


Peepers Online Store provides an array of products ranging from the newest equipment in assistive technology to high-quality office and writing aids, kitchen aids, lighting and hand-held or high-tech magnifiers* for individuals with low vision. Whatever your needs, Peepers has great selections available at reasonable prices. Go online to https://lighthouseeducationcenter.org/about-peepers/shop/ to purchase locally. Items will be shipped to your door.

*APPOINTMENTS are available for personalized one-to-one
consultation for magnification devices.

monthly giving donation provides to clients

Ready to be a Part of Something Big? Join the Sustainers Club!

Our Sustainers Club is a monthly giving program with 100% of every dollar going directly toward changing the lives Support children, teens, adults and seniors affected by vision loss! With a donation of as little as $10 a month, you can provide blind and visually impaired individuals with FREE programs and services focused on adjusting to their loss of vision, mobility and white cane training, computer, tablet and mobile phone training, independence and advocacy, job services readiness and so much more. As a member of the Sustainers Club, your monthly donation will help Lighthouse build our community.

Join us at https://lighthouseeducationcenter.org/donate/monthly-giving/ or contact the Development Team at

941-359-1404 ext. 2.

A State of Vision License Plate Supports Lighthouse


Support the blind and visually impaired community regain independence by purchasing “A State of Vision” license plate when you renew your auto tag. Funds from the sale of “A State of Vision” license plates are distributed to Florida Agencies Serving the Blind, Inc., which funds direct-support services to blind and visually impaired people. Specialty tag gift certificates are also available.

This license plate is a reminder to people on the road of our mission of hope and empowerment for the vision impaired. The Florida-inspired colors will also look great on your car! Information is on the website: https://myfloridaspecialtyplate.com/a-state-of-vision.html. Purchase your license plate today!

AmazonSmile You shop Amazon Gives

When You Smile, We all Smile!

While shopping on Amazon, remember to to purchase your goods through Smile.Amazon.com and select Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center as your designated charity. Shopping through AmazonSmile provides a portion of your purchases to be donated to the Lighthouse.

Connect With Us!
www.LighthouseEducationCenter.org | info@LighthouseEducationCenter.org