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LighthouseVol

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The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
September 5, 2008

I took on a special interest with the blind and visually impaired after having been through a few serious eye infections (one required a CT scan) and learning that the occasional abnormalities in my vision are ophthalmic migraines. I heard about the Lighthouse from a friend, and I found it to be the perfect opportunity to help. Having volunteered in hospitals in the past, I found the Lighthouse to be far more rewarding in every aspect. Hospital work was full of impersonal duties, from picking up empty charts to organizing forms, and because of this I couldn't wait to end my shift and go home. At the Lighthouse, everything is centered on bettering the lives of the visually impaired, and its volunteer program is no exception. One of my favorite activities is helping clients express themselves in the arts and crafts class, although I am not particularly artistic. Through the use of high contrast backgrounds and other aids, they have created amazing pieces of art that far surpass my abilities. The unconventional approaches they take as a result of their different visual perspective and the amount of creative output they have never cease to amaze me. As DebraLee rolls another coil of clay and Donna 'Cardboard' Gilbert cuts out shapes from her favorite medium, I can see that much more than art is being made—friendships form as clients and volunteers come together to share advice and stories. Being an avid cyclist, I joined Tandems Across the Bay, the Lighthouse-sponsored group that rides tandem bicycles with the visually impaired across the San Francisco area. Cameron, my tandem riding partner, enjoys crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with the wind blowing in our faces and fog around us. Our favorite part of the rides is a long, twisty downhill after crossing the bridge; we both feel that same rush as we speed down the trail, leaning into the turns. Being able to share this experience with those who would not otherwise have the chance is immensely fulfilling. Spending time at the Lighthouse is always a pleasure and I have yet to see an unfriendly face. The friendships I have made and satisfying experiences I have had will last a lifetime.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

everything they do for the blind and visually impaired.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how friendly everyone is and how dedicated they are to the goals of the Lighthouse.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredibly nice and helpful.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand to more facilities and help more people around the country.

Ways to make it better...

I didn't have to return to school so I would be free on more weekdays.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

that there are not enough volunteers year-round.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Helped clients with arts and crafts, tandem bicycling.