Mark Levengood is joined by Dave Meas to discuss the 2018 Dine in the Dark. Check it out on BCTV’s Insight…
Mark Levengood is joined by Dave Meas to discuss the 2018 Dine in the Dark. Check it out on BCTV’s Insight…
National Guide Dog Month is a celebration of guide dogs throughout North America. Guide Dog Month was first inspired by U.S. pet food manufacturer Natural Balance’s co-founder, Dick Van Patten, who was impressed by the intelligence and training of guide dogs. During a visit to a local guide dog school, he was blindfolded and experienced how guide dogs provide mobility and assistance to visually impaired and blind people. After learning about the costs, dedication and commitment to raise and train a guide dog, he was inspired to help raise awareness and support the cause.
Van Patten served as an honorary Board Member for the Guide Dogs of the Desert. Through his pet food company Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods, he has underwritten all costs for the promotion of National Guide Dog Month to ensure that all money raised would directly benefit non-profit, accredited guide dog schools in the United States.
In 2008, Van Patten enlisted the support of the Petco Foundation, to organize a fundraising campaign through their retail stores. The San Diego based retailer piloted the first guide dog fundraiser in the Southern California area to benefit the Guide Dogs of the Desert, based in Palm Springs, California. In 2009 National Guide Dog Month was established to benefit the non-profit guide dogs schools accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation.
In 2009, National Guide Dog Month was established for the month of May, however in 2010, it was moved to September due to conflicts with other national fundraising drives.
To celebrate National Guide Dog month in 2016, Natural Balance partnered with Guide Dogs for the Blind. Since 1942, Guide Dogs for the Blind has empowered lives by creating exceptional partnerships between people, dogs and communities.
Visually impaired since birth, Ashleigh used a cane to get around for years—but found that it became increasingly difficult to be mobile during the wintertime due to dangerous patches of ice on the pavement. These harsh winter conditions—combined with encouragement from her family—got her to consider the possibility of a guide dog.
Ashleigh grew up terrified of dogs, but as she began researching Guide Dogs for the Blind, she felt that their positive reinforcement philosophy matched her personal beliefs and values. So she took a leap of faith. When Yuri—a Guide Dogs for the Blind-trained yellow Lab—first walked into her life, Ashleigh remembers he was so excited that he couldn’t stop sneezing. Now, over two years later, they’re so connected that she can’t imagine life without him.
“Being paired with Yuri has changed my life in so many ways. In addition to being my eyes, keeping me safe, and giving me independence, he has also become my best friend—and is constantly by my side,” says Ashleigh. Without Yuri, Ashleigh may have never developed the confidence and independence needed to fulfill her dream of living and working in New York City. She is now able to navigate the city’s fast-paced subway system every day, feeling fully safe and cared for.
Being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age three, Melissa was at risk of losing her eyesight from a very young age. In the coming years, she slowly began to realize the impact that this diagnosis would have on her. As Melissa had to sit closer and closer to the whiteboard in her college courses and could no longer see her friends waving to her across campus, things began to take a turn. As her vision continued to deteriorate, her doctor told her: “Melissa, you need to face the facts, you’re going blind.” She was just 27 years old.
The hardest step after hearing this shocking news was accepting the use of a cane to help Melissa get around. When she finally accepted her new reality, Melissa was ready for the chance to bring her old self back—and her first step was to apply to Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Now on her third guide dog—a beautiful black labrador named Camry—Melissa is an entirely different person. She says that with Camry, her “invisibility clock has been lifted.” Her independence and mobility have been enhanced, and new-found freedom shines through her countless adventures with Camry. The two have traveled to three continents, including North America, Europe, and Asia. Even more importantly, through the highest of highs and lowest of lows, Camry is always by Melissa’s side. From navigating through the chaotic streets of Los Angeles to dodging skateboarders, Camry and Melissa tackle each new obstacle like professionals. Together, the two are ready to conquer the world.
Born with glaucoma, Michelle spent a big part of her young life unable to navigate the world around her. Later, when Michelle became more mobile, it came with its fair share of bumps and bruises. Lacking depth perception, she lived in a constant state of discomfort and found it increasingly difficult to get around.
Around the same time that she started her undergraduate degree in psychology, Michelle made the split second decision to apply for Guide Dogs for the Blind program, and she has never looked back. From the get go, Michelle knew that the program had done a marvelous job in matching her with her beautiful golden guide dog Oscar—they immediately fell into step with each other, and within two months knew they had a lifelong partnership.
Even more surprising was the sheer number of people who approached Michelle on the first day of the new semester. The questions on everyone’s lips were: “Who is your furry friend?”, “Where can I get one?”, and of course “Can I pet him?” With this positive attention, the pair was able to walk with confidence everyday—whether it be on a small grocery shopping trip or a longer trip to visit Michelle’s sister in Los Angeles. Together, the two tackle intense psychology and jiu jitsu classes, but always leave room for playtime. Michelle and Oscar are primed to tackle deadlines and take the mental health field by storm.
After months of seeing Tom come home from his daily walks with strange bruises, his wife decided to apply to Guide Dogs for the Blind on his behalf. Before he knew it, Tom was headed to San Rafael, California to meet his future soulmate—Dynamo, a professional guide dog. “I’ve had four great gifts in my life: my wife, my two kids, and Dynamo,” says Tom. A superhero guide dog and a superhuman athlete, Dynamo and Tom spent their days training and securing their bond for two intensive weeks. They have never looked back.
With Dynamo never more than 20 feet away, Tom can listen to the birds sing and feel the wind in his hair without worrying about his safety. The added mental calm that Dynamo gives Tom, and the support and positive reinforcement that Tom gives Dynamo, have helped the two complete a half-marathon together, raising $6,000 for charity. With no signs of slowing down, the two are now planning to hike up Mount Rainier and travel the country— speaking as ambassadors for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
For Additional Information: Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods, has underwritten all costs for the promotion of National Guide Dog Month to ensure that all money raised would directly benefit non-profit, accredited guide dog schools in the United States. Visit them here: Natural Balance Pet Foods
Mark Levengood is joined by Rosemary Freedman to talk about reoccurring activities and events for clients at the VRC. Check it out on BCTV’s Insight…
This one-of-a-kind evening promises powerful messages from clients, caregivers, and community leaders personally touched by visual impairment and we’d love YOU to be there with us.
Whether from personal experience, a family member, friend, or acquaintance, practically everyone is touched by the reality of blindness or low vision. Realizing the ongoing need for blind and low vision awareness within our community, Vision Resource Center of Berks County along with the Kutztown University Visual Impairment Program proudly present Dine in the Dark taking place on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza Reading. Cocktail hour will begin at 5PM with dinner being served while you are blindfolded at 6PM. Your support allows Vision Resource Center of Berks County and the Kutztown University Visual Impairment Program the continued opportunity to help blind and visually impaired children and adults in our community. Don’t miss this unique night!
For tickets or more information about Dine in the Dark, please call 610-375-8407. You can also purchase your tickets HERE.
Interested in partnering with us for Dine in the Dark 2018? We have sponsorship opportunities available. For more information, please visit our Sponsorship Opportunities page HERE. If you would like to speak with someone directly, please contact Carolyn Krick: 610-375-8407 ext. 110 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Bill Sutton: 610-375-8407 ext. 117 (email@example.com).
In our continued effort to raise awareness for the blind and low vision of our community, Vision Resource Center of Berks County along with Kutztown University Program on Visual Impairments hosted our annual Dine in the Dark event on Thursday, September 28th, 2017.
In 2017 Dine in the Dark turned into a bigger and wider reaching event by moving from the VRC building to the Crowne Plaza of Reading. Cocktail hour opened the evening with a chance for people to mingle and bid on raffle items. At 6 p.m., the blindfolds went on and dinner was served! After dinner, the visual struggles continued when the blindfolds came off and glasses that simulate a variety of eye ailments were worm at the self-serve dessert stations! Over 150 people experienced a one-of-a-kind evening of education and inspiration with firsthand accounts from clients, staff, and friends of Vision Resource Center of Berks County and Kutztown University. It was truly an evening of light being shed in the dark. Many in attendance raved about the food, the presentations, and a humbling appreciation for sight and those who struggle daily with low vision.
Your support allows Vision Resource Center of Berks County and the Kutztown University Visual Impairment Program the continued opportunity to help blind and visually impaired children and adults in our community. VRC and KU send out a big THANK YOU to all our event sponsors and attendees!
August is dedicated to preventing eye injuries and vision loss and saving children’s eyesight. One of 20 children ages 3 to 5 has a vision problem that could result in permanent vision if left untreated. Despite this unsettling statistics, 80 percent of preschoolers do not receive an eye screening. Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month encourages parents to learn how to protect their child’s eyesight and save their child’s eyesight from vision threatening conditions through regular eye exams, hence early detection and proper treatment. According to Craig Hensle, MD, President of the Virginia Society of Ophthalmology, eye exams for children are important because vision changes can occur without you or your child noticing.
Parents should make their child’s vision health a priority, which is why the main objectives of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month are to:
Having a month dedicated to knowing about your child’s eye health and safety can make a big difference to your child’s health and life. Based on the key objectives of this awareness month, you can do so much more to help raise awareness about vision diseases and eye conditions in children, as well as how to prevent them. To do a quick involvement, you can do your own research online and use the social media to share good and factual information to others. You can also support eye health and safety education program and sight-saving programs, which are designed specifically for children.
Children should have an eye exam at 6 months and this must be repeated at age 3. Once they start school, eye exams must be done regularly. About 80% of what children learn in school is taught visually, which means if a child has undetected and uncorrected vision problem, it will affect the child’s development and performances in school. Some warning signs that your child may be experiences vision problems are:
Aside from keeping a watchful eye for some of the warning signs listed above, protect your child from eye injuries by ensuring your children’s toys are age-appropriate and not a danger to their eyes. Check if your child’s toys or stuff are free of sharp or protruding parts that could accidentally poke the eyes. Fireworks are also detrimental to your child’s safety, as it can cause blindness if not handled correctly.
It’s your responsibility as a parent to know how you can keep your child’s vision healthy and obtain early diagnosis in case your child is suffering from vision problems through a regular eye exam. Also, be aware that eye injuries can happen anytime, anywhere. Eye injuries are often caused by sports or physical activities, so know proper precautions such as wearing protective eyewear when playing sports.
About Consumer Health Digest: Consumer Health Digest presents health related content to individuals looking to improve their overall health and well-being. All of the content appearing on Consumer Health Digest’s website is produced, selected, and reviewed by health writers and editors. Consumer Health Digest focuses on providing valuable health information and savings on health-related products for better managing your health.
Mark Levengood is joined by Dennie Hafer, the 2018 Boyertown Citizen of the Year, to talk about his involvement in community service, specifically with the Vision Resource Center and the Lion’s Club. Check it out on BCTV’s Insight…
A great way to keep up with all the good things Vision Resource Center of Berks County is doing in our community is by staying informed through our newsletters. Please enjoy our Summer 2018 In-Sight Newsletter in print format below.
print version: Summer Newsletter, 2018
Mark Levengood, VRC’s Insight host is joined by Dr. Nicole Johnson from Kutztown University to discuss Braille. Check it out here on BCTV’s Insight…
Thousands of people, many of them children, suffer eye injuries from fireworks each year in the United States. In the most severe cases, fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment — all of which can permanently cause eye damage and affect vision.
According to the most recent fireworks injury report (PDF) from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks injuries in the in the United States caused nearly 10,500 injuries requiring treatment in emergency rooms. The report also showed that nearly 1,300 eye injuries related to fireworks were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2014, more than double the 600 reported in 2012.
Those injured by fireworks are not necessarily handling the explosives themselves. In fact, nearly half of people injured by fireworks are bystanders, according to an international study (PDF). Children are frequent victims: 35 percent who sustained a fireworks injury are age 15 and under, according to the commission’s report.
The Academy advises that the best way to avoid a potentially blinding fireworks injury is by attending a professional public fireworks show rather than purchasing fireworks for home use.
For those who attend professional fireworks displays and/or live in communities surrounding the shows:
For those who decide to purchase consumer fireworks because they live in states where they are legal, the Academy recommends the following safety tips to prevent eye injuries:
If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, remember:
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology: The mission of the American Academy of Ophthalmology is to protect sight and empower lives by serving as an advocate for patients and the public, leading ophthalmic education, and advancing the profession of ophthalmology. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care.
There are currently more than 24 million Americans age 40 and older who have cataract, according to the Vision Problems in the U.S. report from Prevent Blindness America. It is the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. Unlike many eye diseases, however, vision loss due to cataract can be restored. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States and has a 95 percent success rate. And, a new study found that cataract surgery patients had a significantly reduced rate of hip fractures from falls.
To educate the public on cataract, Prevent Blindness America has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month. The national non-profit group provides free information through its dedicated web page at preventblindness.org/cataract, or via phone at (800) 331-2020. For those interested in conducting discussions or seminars on the subject, PBA offers a free online module on cataract including a PowerPoint presentation with a complete guide as part of its Healthy Eyes Educational Series.
“Although getting a cataract is common, it doesn’t have to mean permanent vision loss,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “One way to protect our vision is to make a commitment to take care of our eyes today, including getting a dilated eye exam, so we can help protect our sight for the future not just from cataract, but other eye diseases as well.”
For free information on cataract including Medicare coverage, please call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020 or log on to preventblindness.org/cataract.
About Prevent Blindness America: Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness America is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness America touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patientservice programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates and regional offices, Prevent Blindness America is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America.