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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

VISIONS/ Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Blind & Visually Impaired Centers, Disabilities, Eye Diseases, Blindness & Vision Impairments, Health, Human Services, Job Training, Vocational Rehabilitation

Mission: VISIONS, incorporated in 1926, was founded by a group of women who believed in offering opportunities for independence, employment, socialization, vocational rehabilitation and family services for people who are blind or visually impaired. VISIONS continues its original mission of promoting the independence of people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. Our vision is for everyone to see what is possible!

Results: #1 in New York State in job placements of people who are legally blind Majority of participants at VISIONS at Selis Manor and VISIONS Center on Aging senior center and VISIONS Center on Blindness have increased their physical activity, report increased positive feelings about themselves and less depression and better adjustment to blindness, improved social connections and increased social networks and improved skills including daily living, mobility, technology, fitness and access to information

Target demographics: people of all ages with blindness and severe loss and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2017 we impacted the lives of nearly 7000 people

Geographic areas served: the Metropolitan New York City area

Programs: vision rehabilitation in-home, community and the workplace; pre-employment and job placement services; children, youth, adult and senior services at two sites in Manhattan,NY and a short-term residential vocational rehabilitation center in Rockland County, NY. Family and unpaid caregiver support services are provided in all neighborhoods and all service sites. VISIONS at Selis Manor: the number of volunteers increased to over 200. There has been an increase in the type of classes offered to adults and seniors including new support groups and assistive technology training. Collaborations with numerous organizations through free training, workshops, etc. has increased. Over 800 blind participants are registered for services with an additional number of indiviudals attending meetings, seminars, drop-in services, library and bowling clubs.

Community Stories

62 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The best introduction to volunteer work I could have hoped for. It entails enjoyable, rewarding work I anticipated, and work that involves and teaches skills relevant in a business setting, with the added benefit of good camaraderie and devoted supervisors.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Working at Visions is a highlight of my week. The programs are efficiently scheduled and the facility is wonderful to work at. Staff is always available to help and listen to any questions, comments or ideas. Teaching classes at Visions has made me a better instructor and I look forward to continuing with this amazing and important organization.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Visions is a true gift to all who enter its doors. They offer numerous programs and services all year long. Senior Director of Selis Manor Ann Deshazo expertly runs VISIONS in a professional manner while still making you feel like part of a family. As an instructor, I always hear feedback about how much the students enjoy VISIONS and everything it has to offer. Everyone is warm and friendly and newcomers are always made to feel at home. Teaching at VISIONS is very rewarding and helps me to be a better instructor. I am very proud to say I work at VISIONS.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a volunteer for VISIONS has definitely introduced me to a whole new lifestyle that I did not know existed. I realized how little I took for granted over the little things like using a computer, reading books, or even eating during a meal. VISIONS has showed me the various methods and ways that individuals who are blind or visually impaired can use to adapt to their surroundings. Compared to other volunteer work I have done, VISIONS seems to genuinely care about the wellbeing of each and every individual that walks in through the doors.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer who takes phone calls/answer phone calls and referrals/ refer people to the proper channels. I also answer questions if people call with them and offer information about the program. I am also a participate in the program, not only do they help me work but they also provide me with their services as I am visually impaired. They provide services such as a senior center, escort services that help visually impaired people do they shopping and run errands, they also have programs such as fitness, recreational services, computer classes, craft classes, knitting and crocheting, etc.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since being introduced to this wonderful place for those who are blind and visually impaired, of which I am one, I have enjoyed the experience. The staff and the services that are available help to keep one engaged, gainfully employed, and helps to keep an individual an active part of society. The staff is well trained to deal with different personalities and attitudes. I would have never know an agency existed if I weren't for my counselor. More people need to know about visions and what they do and offer as an organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for VISIONS when I was a junior in high school up until the summer before my first year of college. When I was given the opportunity and the privilege to help others who are blind or visually impaired I was astounded at the profound effect I had on each and every one of them. I gained a lot of insight and this experience helped shape my perspective on not only blind people but people with all disabilities. I believe that VISIONS is an amazing program and I am grateful to have been once a part of it.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've always wanted to give back to my community by volunteering at a center for people with disabilities. When I found out about Visions, I did not hesitate to apply. It definitely has made a positive impact in the lives of blind seniors, as well as my own. Visions teaches you to be responsible, caring and appreciative. Furthermore, I've become more aware of afflictions and sufferings of others which has increased my own inner strength.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having worked with VISIONS for a number of years to provide creative writing and arts programming to visually impaired and legally blind seniors, I can say that VISIONS is an amazing organization. They provide caring and thoughtful attention to the people they serve, and offer much needed services to NYC.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A very heartwarming experience. VISIONS really strives to bring out the best in their clients.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was at Visions as a social work intern for 8 months. I felt very much supported by the staff at Visions and learned so much from working with everyone there. Visions is an organization devoted to promoting the welfare and public awareness of the needs of the visually impaired and legally blind. The organization is full of passionate, dedicated, and knowledgable staff. It is a wonderful place to work and the work they do is invaluable to the community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a wonderful organization that makes a meaningful impact to it's clients and community as a whole. This is an organization that offers a multitude of services to individuals of all ages who are legally blind or visually impaired. Their services range from employment services, to a senior center in Chelsea, a community center, vision rehabilitation services, caregiver support, to a residential facility in Spring Valley, NY. This an organization that I would highly recommend to anyone that is seeking services related to vision loss.

Marsha M.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been teaching a writing course at Visions for 6 months and it's the best job I've ever worked. They all want to write despite the unique challenges of accessibility. These students are afraid of nobody and nothing. They're strong, independent people. VISIONS provides them with services they need and they all love to come, and I'm happy to see them every week.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Visions for about four years. I look forward to the time that I spend there each week. The staff really care about the residents and the clients.
There are so many programs and special events for the visually impaired such as Proms, Talent Shows, Jewelry Making and many more to normalize their every day lives.
I have learned that people with disabilities can live and enjoy life to the fullest, and I truly believe that Visions does everything possible to see that happen.
I will continue to volunteer at Visions and be part of that wonderful experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering in 2012 at Visions teaching Zumba Gold. I had never taught the blind/vision impaired and have learned along the way what works well in terms of describing the movements to the class who are seated in chairs. I am always amazed at how few times I have had to physically help someone to get a movement correct. This volunteering led to a part-time teaching position - teaching Zumba Gold once a week. I am so glad that Director Ann DeShazo contacted me from my Zumba website and asked me to teach Zumba at Visions which led to such a great opportunity to teach with a very appreciative group of students. In addition to the weekly class, I also have participated in several Senior Fitness Days teaching Zumba Gold. I also volunteer once a month at Visions with Cherub Improv, leading an improv comedy workshop, and have helped to book the choir Happy Hour Harmonies to perform at the Coffee House event. I always look to recommend other volunteers to Visions and try to think of other programs that might work well at Visions. Thanks to the entire staff who has made me feel welcome and is always helpful: Chris Thompson, Liz Lee, Natasha DeLeon, Carrie Lewey, Teresa Rivero, Tony Wu- what a great crew!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VISIONS is a life-changing program for both the seniors who benefit from it and the volunteers who gain life skills. Volunteers explore new worlds outside of their comfort zone by working with seniors and bringing to them the joys of reading, shopping and company.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VISIONS is an amazing nonprofit that really strives to help the visually impaired with everyday activities. As a volunteer of VISIONS, I feel so good about myself after helping an elderly read mail, go shopping, serve meals, and provide friendly visits. VISIONS is like a little haven for the elderly to communicate with eachother and have fun!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Visions for several years. Meeting clients and working here has been not only a learning experience but an enriching one. Natasha de Leon, our Volunteer Coordinator is involved, attentive and helpful which makes volunteering a pleasure. I have found the staff in general to be sensitivie to those they are serving; there is a friendly, open and communal atmosphere.

Clients -some of whom have become friends - tell me about the many and varied activities and classes offered, from yoga and fitness to book clubs, current events, jewelry making, tech programs, etc. The Senior food program is very popular and serves a real need. I am honored to be part of the program at Visions - helping when there is a need - and being part of this community of incredible people who inspire me.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for Visions I helped with the walking program. This program inspired residents to get outside and take a walk to encourage better health. We had lots of fun stretching before hand to music then walking and recording our steps. There was such enthusiasm and socializing that participants didn't notice they were exercising. Lots of fun and a meaningful outcome!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Within the short period that I have been working with Visions, I personally witnessed how the organization brought together New Yorkers to create a family away from home. Despite coming from diverse communities, clients, volunteers, and workers form a close knit community characterized by understanding and genuine concern for each other.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I am a volunteer at Selis Manor through Visions. I have been a volunteer for over 20 years. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many of the residents and other visually impaired people at Selis Manor. Typically, I read materials to residents (mail, magazines, the Bible, operating manuals, etc.). I have also provided escort service for people needing an escort. Also, I have worked on special events in the facility (helping to serve in the cafeteria, etc.)

My services are coordinated by the Volunteer Office at Selis Manor. Weekly emails are sent out detailing volunteer needs and those of us who are available can volunteer by responding to the email. I do not have regular clients but fill in where needed.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Always a very rewarding experience to help those in need. The clients themselves are generally very interesting people, often with fascinating life stories. The volunteer coordinator, Ms. Natasha DeLeon, is also a most enjoyable person to work with.

I highly advise those who get personal satisfaction from giving back to call Visions and discuss their programs. You will not regret it.