About Us

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For over 92 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 offer early detection and community education while providing support services, rehabilitation and advocacy for visually impaired persons and their caregivers.

Our Mission is to enrich the lives of visually impaired persons and their caregivers while providing preventative services and education.

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, 2021: Steve Bobick, Chairperson



Your VRC Staff

Lori Schermerhorn



Lori Schermerhorn
610-375-8407 Ext 112



Bill Sutton



Bill Sutton
Director of Major and Corporate Giving
610-375-8407 Ext 117



Carolyn Krick



Carolyn Krick
Vice President of Operations
610-375-8407 Ext 110



Rosann Strauss



Rosann Strauss
Director of Workshop Services
610-375-8407 Ext 118



Mark Levengood



Mark Levengood
Counselor – Social Services
610-375-8407 Ext 120



Ann Heiser



Ann Heiser
Caseworker-Social Services
610-375-8407 Ext 114



Alicia Santiago



Alicia Santiago
Social Worker-Social Services
610-375-8407 Ext 122





VRC Officers, Members and Boards

Jeff Schatz — Chairperson
Melanie Mann — Vice Chairperson
Dr. Amanda Legge — Secretary
Gary Rothermel — Treasurer

Board Members:
Nick Bieber — Herbein and Company
Steve Bobick — Retired
Gary Brown — Berks Digital, Inc.
Candace Childers — Alcon
Gerard Cunningham — Client
Vanessa Davies — Client
Darrel “Rip” Harris — Retired
Dr. Dawn Hornberger — Berks Family Eyecare
Dr. Amanda Legge — Wyomissing Optometric Center
Melanie Mann — Ephrata National Bank
David Meas — Circadia
Joe O’Neill — Tompkins Bank
Gary Rothermel — Shoemakersville Lions Club
Jeff Schatz — Schatz Electric, Inc.
Sheila Scola — Alcon

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

Steve Bobick
Lori Schermerhorn
Rosann Strauss, Staff Advisor

Dr. Amanda Legge
Melanie Mann
Gary Rothermel
Jeff Shatz
Lori Schermerhorn, Staff Advisor

Ted Lavender
Gary Rothermel
Jeff Shatz
Carolyn Krick, Staff Advisor

Vision and Hearing Expo:
Lori Fisher
Kandy Reyes
Phil Shober
Bill Sutton
Carolyn Krick, Staff Advisor

Sight Conservation:
Dr. Dawn Hornberger
Dr. Amanda Legge
Phil Shober
Ann Heiser, Staff Advisor
Mark Levengood, Staff Advisor

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

Dine in the Dark Committee:
Dave Meas (Chair)
Steve Bobick
Gerry Cunningham
Rich DeGroote
Chad Johnson
Dr. Nicole Johnson
Kelly Kline
Melanie Mann
Bill Sutton
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.