In This Issue
Message from Chair and President
Networking with Retirees
What's Cookin'?
Stone Soup Submissions

Message from Chair and President
Message from Miki

The holiday season is upon us and, as I pause to reflect on the last year, I realize how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such an amazing and dedicated group of individuals and leaders in their own right as we unite to pool our knowledge, share concerns and triumphs, and find support with one another.  We made great strides this year.  Not only was our recent conference in Pittsburgh the largest in overall attendance; our membership has risen to the highest level ever.  As 2013 comes to an end and we pause to spend time with friends and family, savor the joys of the holiday season and hopefully take a well-earned rest, I want to thank each and every one of you for your involvement and contributions this last year.  You have made my first year as Chair a rewarding and enriching one.  I want to extend a special thank you to Roxann Mayros who makes it look easy, but works ceaselessly to keep our message out there and all of us on track.  May you all find happiness and peace in the coming days and return renewed and energized for the many opportunities and challenges in 2014. 


Miki Jordan
VisionServe Chair
Junior Blind of America
Los Angles, California
Message from Roxann

Another year is almost behind us - why do they seem to go by so much faster now that I am older? There is much to cheer about in 2013 - VisionServe Alliance continues to grow with six new members, our very first grant funding was renewed for a second year, a strategic plan was developed, and we hired our second full-time employee!   I am positive that we will see continued growth and successes in 2014 - measurable goals will be implemented under our strategic plan, we will continue to work towards expanding the pool of vision professionals available for employment, the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Survey will be sent in March, and Program Directors from member organizations are working to develop common assessment and outcome tools, and that is just the beginning.  

In 2005, less than half of the current membership put a plan together to grow what was then known as the National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  Dues were increased from $125 to where they are today and not one member left because they understood the possibilities that we could achieve together in developing leadership within our field, advocating at the Federal level, and helping to unite a very disjointed field.  That 2005 dream is now a reality.  Thank you for your membership and your part in VisionServe Alliance's successes!  Happy Holiday's to you and yours.


Roxann Mayros                                         
Executive Director

Networking with Retirees
When VisionServe Alliance members are asked which member benefit they value most, the response is always the same:  Networking and learning from one another.  Even though we have ample opportunity at each of our two annual conferences to talk one-on-one, sometimes we don't spend as much time with folks as we wish we could have.  And sometimes, those very people we wish we had spent more time with, decide to retire before we have the opportunity to really get to know them.  This year was unprecedented in that four members announced their retirement:  Subie Green of the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta, Les Stocker of the Braille Institute in Los Angeles, Bob Hanye of the Association for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (AVRE), and Cliff Olstrom of the Tampa Lighthouse.  To provide one more "networking" opportunity with these outstanding leaders, we sent a list of questions to each and then followed up their answers with telephone calls.  We know that you will find our interviews with Subie and Les (former Chairs of VisionServe Alliance's Board of Directors) and Bob to be interesting and inspiring.  Read on. 
Q.  When did you start working in the field?  What was your title?

Subie Green:  Started in the field at CVI in Atlanta as president in 2001, but had  been involved in vision issues late 1970s when my husband, Phil, was diagnosed with RP.

Bob Hanye:  I started working in the blindness field on January 3, 1974 after a few years working in mental health and substance abuse.  I was incredibly fortunate to start out working for and with Harold Richterman, a larger than life icon in our field who was, among many other things, the first mobility instructor in a private agency in the country.  Ric was the Director of Rehabilitation at National Industries for the Blind and I came on board as a Rehabilitation Specialist.  Our job was to help the associated agencies with all aspects of rehabilitation programming including recruitment, training, upward mobility, accommodations and special programs for severely disabled persons.

Les Stocker:  While my entire career has been in the non-profit world, I entered into our field in March 1979 when I became Braille Institute's Development Director, alias Fund Raiser.  The organization was much smaller then, so at age 31 I got to grow up with it.  Five years later they made me Assistant Executive, or chief operating officer.  Then, in 1995 upon my predecessor's retirement the Board elected me to be President.  When I retire I will have been with Braille Institute for 35 years and President for the last 19 years. 

For the full interview please read more here


What's Cookin'? 
This section features news, innovations and ideas form VisionServe Alliance member agencies.  
2014 International Conference

The AER International Conference 2014 is scheduled for July
30 - Aug. 3, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas, and will draw participants from around the world. Sessions on assistive technology, education, aging & blindness, low vision, vision rehabilitation therapy, multiple disabilities, and will be presented.  Read more here....  


Specialized Services for the Blind
As advocates for people who are blind or visually impaired, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) knows first-hand the value of specialized services. They change lives by teaching people with vision loss the skills needed to thrive in the classroom, the workplace and everyday life. Yet, these services are almost perpetually in danger of being cut due to shrinking state budgets. It is therefore crucial that we continue to advocate to our policymakers of their importance, and to ensure such services are kept in place.  Read more here.... 


AFB To Team with VSA to Expand Leadership Training


AFB is proud to team with the VisionServe Alliance for the 2014 AFB Leadership Conference in New York, to be held February 27-March 1. VisionServe Alliance has put together an intensive leadership training track that will be open to all conference attendees. Come sharpen your skills or learn how you can become an effective leader. Read more here....


White Cane Day


Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh's celebration of White Cane Safety Day has sparked similar events throughout Pennsylvania. Last year, Blind and Vision Rehab marked October 15 by passing out information attached to chocolate-covered pretzels in the shape of a white cane to commuters in Downtown Pittsburgh. This year the agency distributed information, demonstrated white cane safety, provided free adult vision screenings and included music by Jimmy Sapienza's Five Guys Named Moe with three alumni of the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children during the lunch hour in downtown Pittsburgh. In addition, the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind and its 28 member agencies joined together this year to celebrate the white cane as an important tool for greater independence and a reminder that motor vehicles must yield the right of way to blind or visually impaired people using canes.



BVRS Essay Contest

The Pittsburgh Pirates partnered with Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh to make a dream come true for Nick, a 19-year-old high school student who was the winner of BVRS essay contest to be a Pittsburgh Pirate for a Day. Nick met Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle and the rest of the team. He had his own uniform, locker, took batting practice with Pirate pitcher A.J. Burnett, stood in the batter's box and ran around the bases as the team cheered him on as fireworks exploded for his first big league walk-off homer. The entire Pirate team greeted Nick at home plate to celebrate his batting success.

Gidget Hopf
Leading Goodwill Board

The Goodwill Industries International board of directors has elected Gidget Hopf, president and CEO of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes and its affiliate, the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Greater Rochester, as its new chair. Dr. Hopf will serve a one-year term. Hopf served as vice chair of the Executive Committee of the Goodwill Industries International Board.


New Hadley Resource

The Hadley School for the Blind recently introduced a new course, Reinforcing Independence: The Role of the Family. Research shows that the most influential people in the rehabilitation process are the family members and loved ones of the visually impaired individual. Read more here....


Access Technology and Employment Services (ATES)   


 The Iris Network has promoted employment of Maine residents with visual impairment and blindness since 1905. Its newest program, Access Technology and Employment Services (ATES) links state-of-the-art access technology training and connections with the business community to promote employment of highly qualified clients and takes access technology training out of the classroom into a model business environment.  Read more here.... 


Aetna Foundation and Junior Blind Join Forces

Junior Blind of America was awarded a $25,000 grant by the Aetna Foundation that will allow Junior Blind to offer its healthy living after school program free of charge to both sighted and visually impaired children from low-income families.  Read more here.... 

GuideStar Gold   


Lighthouse of Collier received the Gold participation level, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability provided by GuideStar USA, Inc., the premier source of nonprofit information. This level demonstrates Lighthouse of Collier's deep commitment to nonprofit transparency and accountability.  Read more here....

30th Anniversary   

The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind turned 30 this year, setting off a series of celebrations and recognition of how far it has come since the days when a hard summer rain would flood its tiny building. Volunteers often became the "mop brigade,'' but this still beat the alternative - driving to Tampa or St. Petersburg for service.  Read more here.... 


"Every day we see more sophisticated computers and other inventions that ease the burden of all disabilities." Sylvia Perez


Students at The Maryland School Enjoy Unique "Show and Tell"
Construction was brought to life for 175 students who are blind or visually impaired during a special presentation of "show and tell" at the Maryland School for the Blind (MSB). 

The school along with Lewis Contractors held the special event at the construction site of new $26 million Classroom and Cottage facilities that
will be ready for occupancy at the beginning of next school year. Even though MSB is a private school, it was able to secure state funding for the projects.   Read more here....

Miami Lighthouse Employee Honored

It is with great pride that Miami Lighthouse announces that Jin Ho Choi, a certified Braille instructor, has received the prestigious Library of Congress Braille Music Transcriber Certification. The curriculum teaches students to transcribe print music materials into Braille. Read more here....

Employee Recognized 


NewView Oklahoma is proud to announce that Christian Gorshing, accounting manager, has been recognized with the 2013 Milton J. Samuel
Achievement Award, a national award presented to an individual who demonstrates career advancement at an agency associated with National Industries for the Blind or in the private sector. Read more here....    


Christian said "It is a job where I can go home feeling like I did something good because it's all done for a cause."

Fishing Class


Joel carefully reeled in his fishing line. The 16-year-old had felt a nibble as he sat patiently by the edge of the Watertown Square Dock overlooking the Charles River. With a swift yank, the Perkins Deafblind Program student pulled a foot-long fish onto the wooden dock, where it flapped frantically.  Read more here....


"We're trying to teach them that independence of calmly sitting there," Connor said.  


Cleveland Sight Center Receives Gift  

The Cleveland Sight Center received its largest gift ever when philanthropists Corrine and Alan Reid gave the agency a $2 million endowment check, said Patrick Ertle, chief development officer.  The gift will endow the position of Director of Children and Young Adult Services, which includes the Bright Futures Early Intervention and Preschool programs. Read more here....

Encourages Expansion of Goalball 

The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is extending its already lengthy reach into the game of goalball. USABA, which manages high performance goalball in the United States, including the development of Paralympic players, is seeking partners across the country to start new youth teams in a nationwide grassroots effort.

Read more here....


For more information on this program contact Matt Simpson by email here 



Clinic Grant 
World Services for the Blind evaluation services coordinator Debra Vattimo CRC DCC LPC NC, and a group of colleagues from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences were awarded a grant from the university's Deans Society. The grant will fund the project Interprofessional Student Training and Intervention for Individuals with Dual-Sensory Loss. The dual-sensory clinic serves WSB clients who are blind, hard of hearing and deaf both at the clinic at UALR/UAMS and on WSB's campus. They receive services free or at low cost. Graduate students working under trained Doctors of Audiology gain experience with individuals who have dual sensory impairments.

AT Instructors Provide Training for Arkansas Rehabilitation Teachers 

Rachel Buchanan and Rebecca Reid, members of World Services for the Blind assistive technology staff, are leading classes for Arkansas rehabilitation teachers to learn assistive technology. The vision rehab teachers are exposed to the AT curriculum. Each rehab teacher is provided with a resource book for future reference. This resource will be continually updated throughout the class. All of the rehab teachers are learning new information, and think that the resource book will be a great help to them while working in the field.


Stone Soup Submissions 
This section includes deadlines and requirements fro submissions.  
2014 Submission Deadlines:
Friday,February 28, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Stone Soup Delivery:
at the end of the following months
March 2014
June 2014
September 2014
December 2014

We hope you enjoyed the new format for our quarterly newsletter, Stone Soup.  Please send your submission to Your submission should be a single word document that includes your logo, pictures, contact email link and verdana font.  Please tightly edit your submission to no more then 250 words and format your article as you would like it to read/display.
        Thank you.


VisionServe Alliance

8760 Manchester Rd

St. Louis, MO. 63021