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Hope and Empowerment for the Visually Impaired

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December 2021 eNews

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Tools in Your Toolbox

Angie Robinson

It doesn’t take long to figure out that Angie Robinson has a true passion for helping and advocating for others. She has dedicated most of her life to doing just that. Whether it has been as an active member of the blind community, teaching Braille to youth in her hometown, or marching on Washington, D.C., Angie has done it all to make a difference in the lives of others.

Angie was born with albinism, a condition where there is little or no production of the pigment melanin. Melanin also plays a key role in the development of optic nerves. Those with albinism, like Angie, are born legally blind and experience varying degrees of visual impairments. While Angie has been legally blind since birth, she has never allowed it to hold her back. She has set and conquered goals in her life when others doubted her.

Born in Italy and raised in Buffalo, New York, Angie learned at an early age that life isn’t always easy but with enough effort, education and a little love from others, anything is possible. She credits her parents for supporting and raising her to work hard and to stand up for what is right. It is this notion of doing right that has been Angie’s battle cry for most of her adult life. She is a member of the National Federation of the Blind and has, on many occasions, met and worked with state and federal legislators to discuss policies centered around the blind and visually impaired. She advocated for passing of the Blind Persons Right to Parent Act. “Just because you’re blind doesn’t mean you can’t parent,” she says. “We can do anything the sighted world can do, just maybe a little different.” Angie also worked with local engineers and city planners in Buffalo to reconstruct safer sidewalks and crossways for the visually impaired.

Her advocacy begins with the youngest of the blind community. “I believe Braille literacy,” Angie shares “to be very important.” She believed in this statement so much that for several years she advocated in our nation’s capital to get laws passed so that blind children would learn Braille at the same time as their sighted classmates were learning traditional reading and writing skills. “We now have smartphones that can assist, but just as the sighted need to know how to read and write traditional script, blind children need to be taught to read Braille.” She adds, “What if your smartphone doesn’t work? Children still need Braille in their toolbox.”

After speaking with Angie, it’s clear she believes in having the right training to be setup for success. Angie relocated to Sarasota from Buffalo about a year ago and realized that she too needed to add some new ‘tools.’ She’s taken some of her own advice and began working with Lighthouse instructors to brush-up on Orientation and Mobility training. Since moving to Florida Angie discovered, as she put it, “many of the plazas and intersections appear very similar. Not knowing an area very well and having limited sight can make it extremely difficult to navigate around town.” Since Angie loves living in her new town with its wonderful climate, it’s understandable why she wanted to do everything she could to make sure she can explore Sarasota safely and responsibly, and to take in all Sarasota has to offer. “Live the life you want,” she exclaims. “Make a difference in this world and don’t let anyone stop you.”

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


Click play on the video below to watch and hear Angie’s story. To read more client stories, visit

https://lighthouseeducationcenter.org/programs/seeing-beyond-reflection/.

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 serve. These services are provided at NO COST because of individuals like you. We hope you will continue to donate to the Lighthouse by clicking the donate button.


Lighthouse meets with Sarasota High School SSTRIDE Program

Lighthouse's Nathan LaForte working with Sarasota High's SSTRIDE Program students.

Staff of the Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center recently met with the Sarasota High School SSTRIDE Program. Students were introduced to the field of vision rehabilitation through a series of hands-on instruction mixed with a detailed explanation of the different programs at Lighthouse.

Students learned how Lighthouse clients are taught the fundamentals for traveling and living independently. Additionally, the students were oriented to the basic accessibility programs on computer and mobile devices that enhance, magnify, and speak to allow the visually impaired and blind users to access the same content as users with full sight.

After the introduction, students were given hands-on experience using the white cane, the primary mobility device used to detect objects by the visually impaired user. They practiced using the canes while simulating different visual conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and full blindness. The students also tried their hands at deciphering the basics of the Braille alphabet and attempted to read several words in Braille. 

The students gained an enlightening experience into the challenges faced by those with visual impairments during the visit. They also learned about a possible career path that would allow them to help hundreds to increase their independence, which is part of the SSTRIDE program’s stated goals.

For more information, call (941) 359-1404 or visit lighthouseeducationcenter.org/program/orientation-and-mobility/


Visit and Support Lighthouse at the 2nd Annual Festival of Trees

Join Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center as we showcase our mission, to educate and empower those affected by vision loss so they may enjoy happy, healthy and independent lives, at University Town Center’s Second Annual Festival of Trees.

This year’s Festival of Trees begins Wednesday, December 1-19 in the West District at UTC. Visitors can purchase $1 tickets to vote for their favorite nonprofit trees. Additionally, the trees will be offered for silent auction to raise funds for each participating nonprofit. 100% of the ticket sale amounts and silent auction sales will go to each nonprofit. Please stop by to visit this beautiful display and vote for the Lighthouse.

For more information and to purchase an ornament with your name designed in Braille, go to https://lighthouseeducationcenter.org/events/lighthouse-festival-of-trees/

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting the Lighthouse at this year’s Festival of Trees:

  • Lissa Rivero
  • Martin Rometsch & Wilhelmine Wiese-Rometsch
  • Jeffrey & Patricia Saunders

Our offices will be closed beginning December 24 – January 2. We look forward to resuming our programs beginning Monday, January 3, 2022.

As we approach the holiday season, everyone at Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center would like to wish you Happy Holidays and prosperous New Year.

To all our friends and extended family, thank you for your continued support!


Leave a Legacy That Provides Hope

Help further our mission with a Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA.

A Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) is a direct transfer of funds from your IRA custodian, payable to a qualified charity. This gift option allows donors aged 70 1/2 or older to transfer up to $100,000 directly from an IRA or Roth IRA to the Lighthouse. This is a great way to make a lifetime charitable gift from your retirement assets. 

Because a QCD flows from your IRA custodian directly to the charity without you as the middleman, the amount donated does not flow through your taxable income, which is unlike regular withdrawals from your IRA. Keeping your taxable income lower may reduce the impact to certain tax credits and deductions, including Social Security and Medicare.

We encourage you to consider making a year-end donation to the Lighthouse by Dec. 31, 2021. Please consult with your tax advisor as to whether this option is right for your situation.

For more information, please contact Nicole Mobley at (941) 359-1404 ext. 702 or nicole.mobley@LighthouseEducationCenter.org


Shop Peepers Online

Peepers for your low vision needs logo
$100 off regular price. December sale. SmartLux Digital Handheld Magnifier.

Take advantage of your opportunity to purchase your SmartLux Digital Handheld Magnifier at a fantastic discount.

CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Peepers Online Low Vision Store is the #1 authorized seller of Eschenbach electronic magnifiers, selling more than any retail store in Southwest Florida. Our expert technician is available by appointment only to assist you with a personalized hands-on evaluation for your magnification needs.

*Click here to schedule an APPOINTMENT for a personalizedone-to-one consultation for magnification devices.

Email: Peepers@LighthouseEducationCenter.org

Phone: (941) 359-1404


monthly giving donation provides to clients

Ready to be a Part of Something Big?

Join the Sustainers Club!

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 at NO COST with 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. 702.


A State of Vision License Plate Supports Lighthouse

A-State-of-Vision-License-Plate2

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
941-359-1404