It is with such incredible excitement and enthusiasm to announce that the Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind turns 100 this year. With our centennial comes so much opportunity – both to celebrate the past 100 years of serving our community and also to plan for our next 100.
And so much has happened in the last 100 years – important changes, such as expanding our service area to include Wyoming, Wayne and Pike counties, but also lessons learned about how better to serve the people in our community, as we know that so many people don’t know the true scope of the help we provide.
We find that many people do not seek out our services when they hear the term “blind” or do not think to call us because they live beyond the greater Wilkes-Barre area.
Because of this, we are so very excited to announce that the organization has changed its name and will enter its next century of service as Northeast Sight Services.
We believe this name is a better indicator of the good work our organization does for local community residents. We believe that this name will encourage people who are adjusting to low vision to seek services to help them live more independently – and to, most importantly, thrive.
With that in mind, and because technology has advanced in this area by leaps and bounds in the last decade, our organization has also officially opened a brand-new, state-of-the art Vision Resource Center. This center boasts many of the best low-vision products, including reading magnifiers, distance and high-powered reading glasses, writing aids and computer programs, talking watches and clocks, and so much more.
We invite all community members to visit our center in Exeter to see all that is available for those who are visually impaired and blind. We have staff who are knowledgeable about what items work best, depending on vision and need, as well as a low-vision doctor that can assess a person to determine the best products for one’s individual needs. It is truly an amazing thing to witness a person who is able to see their great granddaughter for the first time in a photo, with the help from a high-powered magnifier or to play a role in allowing a child who is blind to play with the same puzzles or games that their sighted peers can.
In addition, as we embark on a new century, other programs within the agency are being enhanced. This spring, we will kick off our young adult program, which reaches a whole new demographic as most of our current offerings are geared toward children and seniors. We also have plans to offer children’s screenings on site at our Vision Resource Center year-round to further our work in the prevention of blindness.
In order to do this — and so much more — we need you. Please consider getting involved during our centennial year. Learn more about everything we have to offer, so that if you or someone you know is dealing with vision loss, you know how we can help.
Our centennial also offers opportunities for us to raise the resources to be here for another 100 years. We are excited to announce that, due to a very generous donation from long-standing supporters, we will have an opportunity for a Challenge Match this year. This will match dollar for dollar any gift given to the organization in honor of its centennial, above and beyond a contributor’s normal annual gift.
From all of us at Northeast Sight Services, we hope you will join us this year in celebrating 100 years of service to our local community. And join us in creating all the necessary steps to be here for another 100.
For more information, feel free to contact us at 570-693-3555 or www.northeastsight.org.
Sara Gorgone Peperno is the president and CEO of Northeast Sight Services. She writes a monthly guest column for the Times Leader.