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

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June 2021 eNews

Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center logo

Ray Hasn’t Stopped Drumming Along

Ray smiling at the beach

Very few people find their passion as a young child but for Ray, he did just that. Born and raised in New Jersey to adoptive parents, Ray learned from an early age that his blindness would not limit him. The youngest of five siblings, Ray grew up in a loving home and was raised by parents that instilled values and encouraged him to achieve his dreams.

Born premature, Ray weighed only two pounds. It is believed the incubator he needed to survive ultimately lead to destroying Ray’s newly-developing eye cells, causing irreversible blindness. 

Ray’s parents enrolled him in the Overbrook School for the Blind where he, as he puts it “started to blossom.” In addition to his regular subjects, Ray learned typing, expanded his knowledge of Braille, life skills and discovered music, specifically his love of percussion.Following high school Ray enrolled at and ultimately earned a degree in Jazz Performance from Temple University. Since then, he has put his musical talents to use both performing and writing music. “A lot of people use their talents of painting, poetry or storytelling as a way of expression for me, it happens to be music,” says Ray. His talents and love for music are what lead to his 2004 Grammy nomination with American R&B artist Erykah Badu. 

Today, Ray is the lead percussionist for the Sarasota based musical group Reverend Barry and The Funk playing everything from soul, high-energy dance to R&B music. “I would hate to be in a world without music,” adds Ray. Though blindness is typically considered a disability, it is safe to say Ray has used it as an ability.

Click play on the video below to watch and hear Ray applaud the services he received from the Lighthouse. 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 provided 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.


Save-the-Date for Planned Giving Session at the Lighthouse

Hands together with dirt and a growing plant

Learn how to plan your estate and support Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center. Are you curious about the benefits of becoming a member of Lighthouse’s Legacy Society? Save the Date for our Planned Giving Workshop via Zoom. For your convenience, you can choose between Tuesday, August 10, 2021 and Thursday, August 12, 2021 from 10:00 to 11:00 am.

Our special guest, Richard Gans, President & Shareholder at Fergeson & Skipper Attorneys at Law, will present a dynamic program and will answer all your Estate Planning questions. Also in attendance will be a member from the Manatee Community Foundation and Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

Invitations will be mailed soon. For information, please contact Terri Medina at terri.medina@LighthouseEducationCenter.org or 941-359-1404 ext 2.


Businesses are Needed to Provide Work-Based Learning Experience for Teens from July 1-31.

Six students standing in front of a wall on their mobile phones

There’s no better way to spend a summer than teaching young people about the career path they’re interested. We are seeking businesses to partner with the Lighthouse Transition Program and its Work-based Learning Experience.

Overview of the Program:
The Lighthouse Work-Based Learning Experience is looking for business owners and nonprofit organizations to share and teach career experiences to high school students interested in learning various skills included, but not limited to:

  • Restaurant work and pizza making
  • Working with animals
  • Hospital work
  • Music and Art
  • Massage therapy
  • And more

This program is a great way for high school students, affected by vision loss, to gain work-based experience in a safe environment. The high school students in this program have learned to adapt to their environment and they have acquired the skills needed to succeed in the workplace. To become a Work-Based Learning Experience Businesses, please contact Angeline Koplau at Angeline.Koplau@LighthouseEducationCenter.org.


Cataract Awareness Month image

June is Cataract Awareness Month

Cataracts are the world’s leading cause of treatable vision loss, accounting for approximately 42% of all cases of blindness worldwide. While cataracts affect more than 24 million Americans over the age of 40, they can occur among young adults as well as children. Cataracts can be easily diagnosed and having an annual eye exam is important in helping protect your eyes from further damage and checking for developing eye or vision problems. This June, we encourage everyone to do their part in learning about the treatment and prevention of cataract vision loss.


Sunday, June 20 is Father’s Day


Meet Our New Development Staff

Dane Gass, Communications Associate, brings over fifteen years of media and communications experience in television, radio, and film projects. For the past nine years, he taught media and communications at the middle and high school levels. Dane holds a B.A. in Telecommunications and Film from the University of West Florida.

“Having grandparents and parents with vision loss is what drew me to The Lighthouse,” says Dane. “It’s personal and important for me to work with an organization that believes in giving back to the community and assisting and empowering those with vision loss.”

Abigail Rillo, Communications Intern, is a second-semester journalism student at the University of Florida. Abby is a member of the professional sorority, Iota Alpha, where she serves as the social media and Recruitment Co-Chair and has a passion for giving back.

“I am so excited to join this team and am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from this team,” said Abby. “The skills and experience I will gain in this position will benefit me for the remainder of my career.”


Shop Peepers Online

Peepers for your low vision needs logo

From June 1-30, you can purchase the 2021 Large Print Calendar for only $10 while supplies last!

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.


Join our Monthly Giving Sustainers Club and Make a Monthly Impact!

monthly giving donation provides to clients

Our Sustainers Club is a monthly giving program with 100% of every dollar going directly toward changing the lives of those living with vision loss. Monthly giving allows you to donate a specific amount, to the Lighthouse, each month. Giving smaller gifts each month provides for a bigger heart to the clients at the Lighthouse.

As a member of our Sustainers Clubyou can be assured that your gift each month will provide hope, empowerment and independence to those we serve.


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