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For over 85 years the Vision Resource Center of Berks County has proudly provided services to prevent blindness and make it possible for visually impaired Berks County residents to lead independent and productive lives within their community.  The agency serves over 600 blind and visually impaired Berks County residents. The Vision Resource Center of Berks County is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit social service agency that was founded in 1929 by the Reading Lions Club.

Our Vision is to provide an organization to help create an environment in Berks County in which all people who are blind or visually impaired can be a part of their communities with equal opportunities to lead fulfilling lives.

Our Mission is to strive to prevent blindness and visual impairment, and to advocate and provide quality education, support services, and rehabilitation to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired persons and their caregivers.

VRC is accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services.

VRC works closely with the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services.

VRC is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind.

There are an estimated 21,000 visually impaired or blind people in Berks County.

A counselor and a social worker have joined the staff and both are blind, providing inspiration to clients.  The social worker is bilingual to better serve the Hispanic community in Berks County.  Monthly support groups are open to both blind and visually impaired individuals. There is also a support group for caregivers.

A workshop provides employment to over thirty blind, visually impaired and challenged individuals.

Educational programs on eye health are tailored to the age of the students being served. Adult programs are also available on a wide variety of eye health issues.

Vision screenings are provided annually to approximately 3,000 children in an effort to detect vision issues early.

A “lunch bunch” group meets monthly for socialization.  It’s open to blind and visually impaired individuals, their families, friends and caregivers.

Socialization/recreational programs are also offered for client’s who want to be more active.  These activities include, but are not limited to: bowling, miniature golf, concerts, etc.

The VRC sponsors youth and adult day camps in the summer.

A quarterly newsletter featuring activities and eye health information is published by the Reading Eagle newspaper.

The VRC was founded in 1929 by the Reading Lions Club and was supported by the Welfare Federation, forerunner of the United Way. The current services center at 2020 Hampden Boulevard in Reading was built by the Lions club in 1957.

Funding for VRC’s programs and services comes from individuals, foundations, trusts, corporations, Lions Clubs and workshop revenues.

 

 

Fast Facts

Our Name: Vision Resource Center of Berks County (or VRC), formerly known as Berks County Association for the Blind

Ages Served: 2 Years and Older

Number Served: 400 Direct Services  /  3,000+ Children’s Sight Screenings

Number of Staff: 4 Full Time  /  6 Part Time

Number of Volunteers: 50

Programs Offered: Social Services, Mobility Training, Social/Recreation, Lunch Bunch, Sight Loss Support Group, Hispanic Sight Loss Support Group, Caregiver Support Group, Vision Screening Services (Day Care, Pre-School) and Counseling, and Workshop.

Area Served: Berks County

Operating Budget: $420,869.12

Funding Sources: Individuals, Foundations, Special Events, Trusts, Corporations, Lions Clubs, and Workshop.

Member of Pennsylvania Association of the Blind

Member of Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce

Member of Greater Reading Chamber of Business and Industry

Key Leadership, 2020: Kelly S. Kline, Esq. Chairperson and Legal Counsel

 

 

Your VRC Staff

Lori Schermerhorn

 

 

Lori Schermerhorn
President/CEO
610-375-8407 Ext 112
lschermerhorn@vrcberks.org

 

 

Bill Sutton

 

 

Bill Sutton
Director of Major and Corporate Giving
610-375-8407 Ext 117
bsutton@vrcberks.org

 

 

Carolyn Krick

 

 

Carolyn Krick
Vice President of Operations
610-375-8407 Ext 110
ckrick@vrcberks.org

 

 

Rosann Strauss

 

 

Rosann Strauss
Director of Workshop Services
610-375-8407 Ext 118
rstrauss@vrcberks.org

 

 

Mark Levengood

 

 

Mark Levengood
Counselor – Social Services
610-375-8407 Ext 120
mlevengood@vrcberks.org

 

 

Ann Heiser

 

 

Ann Heiser
Caseworker-Social Services
610-375-8407 Ext 114
aheiser@vrcberks.org

 

 

Alicia Santiago

 

 

Alicia Santiago
Social Worker-Social Services
610-375-8407 Ext 122
asantiago@vrcberks.org

 

 

Joyce Morgan

 

 

Joyce Morgan
Activities/Transportation Coordinator
610-375-8407 Ext 125
jmorgan@vrcberks.org

 

 

 

VRC Officers, Members and Boards

Officers:
Kelly S. Kline, Esq. — Chairperson and Legal Counsel
Chad Johnson — Vice Chairperson
Dr. Heidi L. Sensenig, O.D., M.S. — Secretary
Gary Rothermel— Treasurer

Board Members:
Steve Bobick — Utilities and Telecom Consultant
Gerard Cunningham — Client
Rip Harris
Dr. Dawn Hornberger — Berks Family Eyecare
Chad Johnson — Customers Bank
Kelly S. Kline, Esq. — Law Offices of Kline & Nadirov
Melanie Mann — Ephrata National Bank
Gary Rothermel — Shoemakersville Lions Club
Jeff Schatz — Schatz Electric
Sheila Scola — Alcon
Heidi L. Sensenig O.D., M.S. — Wyomissing Optometric

Finance and Development:
Rip Harris (Chair)
Steve Bobick
Gary Brown
Chad Johnson
Gary Rothermel
Bill Sutton, Major and Corporate Gifts Officer
Lori Schermerhorn, Staff Advisor

Workshop:
Joe Capozello (Chair)
Steve Bobick
Mitch Carroll
Rosann Strauss, Staff Advisor

Governance:
Chad Johnson
Kelly S. Kline, Esq
Gary Rothermel
Dr. Heidi L. Sensenig O.D, M.S.
Lori Schermerhorn, Staff Advisor

Property:
Dennie Hafer
Ted Lavender
Gary Rothermel
Carolyn Krick, Staff Advisor

Vision and Hearing Expo:
Lori Fisher
Dr. Dawn Hornberger
Kandy Reyes
Dr. Heidi L. Sensenig O.D, M.S.
Phil Shober
Carolyn Krick, Staff Advisor

Sight Conservation:
Dr. Heidi L. Sensenig O.D., M.S. (Chair)
Dr. Dawn Hornberger
Phil Shober
Ann Heiser, Staff Advisor
Mark Levengood, Staff Advisor

Golf Committee:
Steve Bobick (Chair)
Tony DeOliveira
Rip Harris
Chad Johnson
Kelly Kline
Melanie Mann
Jeff Schatz
Sheila Scola
Bill Sutton
Lori Schermerhorn, Staff Advisor

Dine in the Dark Committee:
Dave Meas (Chair)
Steve Bobick
Rich DeGroote
Tony DeOliveira
Chrissy Faller
Chad Johnson
Dr. Nicole Johnson
Kelly Kline
Kirsten Keim-Shendge
Melanie Mann
Bill Sutton
Tom Wagner
Carolyn Krick, Staff Advisor
Lori Schermerhorn, Staff Advisor

 

 

White Cane Fund

The White Cane Fund is created through gifts provided to VRC. These gifts from individuals, groups, companies, and agencies provide the VRC with unrestricted funds to provide services and programs for our clients. These funds are used to provide programs and services such as:

  • Social and recreational events for adults and children
  • Summer camp for kids
  • Adult summer activity week
  • Client services and supplies
  • Unbudgeted “emergencies” that may occur within the agency
  • Support for Harvest Fest and Dine In the Dark events
  • Educational programs for adults and children
  • Client transportation services

Please help fund the White Cane Fund today. We are the only nongovernmental agency providing these services to your neighbors in need. To Donate, please click HERE.