By Liz Oleksa, Lehigh Valley President

The Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind (LVCB) is working hard at being filled with “FLAME”. We strive for Fun by providing opportunities for new and exciting interactions through laughter, friendship and new ideas. We are initiating leadership among all our members, advocating for not only our personal needs but those for all with vision loss, and mentoring others not only in our chapter but those outside of it by being a friend, working through our buddy system, and helping those along the way who may need a bit of encouragement. We also try to engage each and every one of our members in LVCB by providing time for socialization, getting to know one another’s needs, having different people helping to work together on a committee, and providing events and activities where we are able to engage people from the public to join in and have an enjoyable time with a great group of VIP’s (Visually Impaired Persons and Very Important Persons).

The Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind achieved all of these points at our last event of “Blind Bowling with Boy Scouts”. This event was centered on our June Council meeting and held at a local bowling lane. We were joined by volunteers from the local Boy Scout troops, their parents, Cub Scouts, and even the local media. We all gathered together for a meeting, then paired up with the scouts for an afternoon filled with bowling. There was so much laughter, stories, comradery, friendship and fun for all to enjoy. These young men learned quite a bit of what people with visual impairments can do, about our lives and how we accommodate them as needed, and that we are some amazing people. We are looking to make this an annual event, as it brought many together for a great cause!

Our chapter enjoys doing advocacy and awareness work within the community throughout the year. Two examples of these efforts follow. This past summer, Vice President Debbie Rozear participated in BBVS’s Summer Academy event at Penn State where she worked with young adults in High School who are preparing for independent living and further education. President Liz Oleksa was invited to the Macungie Memorial Park pool to be a guest speaker at their morning story-time to talk about blindness and her guide dog. About 40 people showed up. She had a great time spreading awareness and advocating for people who are blind and visually impaired. Again, these are just a few of the events our members have attended over the past few months. There are so many little ways to make the public aware of what the Council of the Blind is about. We just need to think outside the box!!

Our fundraising is going strong as we continue to sell Gertrude Hawke Chocolate bars. We are planning our annual hot dog sale to be held on Saturday, September 22nd and Sunday, the 23rd. We look forward to another year of success in fundraising.

LVCB has been running a “member of the month” each month, except for May, June and July this year. Typically, the member of the month is chosen by the officers, but for August, our members nominated members privately. A total of 7 members were nominated by their peers, with more than one nomination for each person. Congratulations to Theresa Diehl, for being chosen as August’s member of the month!!! When a member is chosen for this award, they are congratulated by all at the meeting, and receive a certificate recognizing their commitment to LVCB which is signed by our chapter president.

The Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind has started a new Facebook page due to unforeseen circumstances. We had lost access to much of what we had originally had access to, after the passing of John Freiss. Our new page can easily be found by searching either of the following two searches: “lvcb1993” or “Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind LVCB”. Either of these searches will bring up our new page which is in fact labeled, “Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind LVCB”. Our profile picture, for those who are sighted or low-vision, is our LVCB logo. In navy blue is the state of Pennsylvania, with white capital letters reading LVCB, and the corresponding braille letters below. In the background of the navy-blue state, a darker imprint of a fingerprint can be seen, as we use our fingers to read braille, and our chapter is as unique as an individual fingerprint! Please take a moment to check out our new page, select “Like” and “Follow”, then share with your friends and family. We share inspiring stories of our VIP peers and their accomplishments, news related to the blind community, and much more. And you never know, there may even be a prize in it for you! Once our page reaches 500 likes, all will be entered to win a $25 gift card! So, don’t miss out on some great news, information, events, friendship and the chance to win a prize!

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