By Liz Oleksa, President
The Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind has had a challenging start to our 2018 New Year, but we are keeping our heads held high and moving forward. Our Vice President, John Freiss, suddenly passed away on January 19, 2018. John’s enthusiasm and dedication to advocating for those with blindness and visual impairment will be missed by all who knew him. Also, our Recording Secretary, Jamie Zaffary, has stepped away from our group for personal reasons, which had left another vacant spot on our officer team. Debbie Rozear has been voted in to fill our position as Vice President for 2018, and Annette Gozzard has been voted in to fill our Recording Secretary position, (Annette will be stepping back into this position after stepping down at the end of last year). We are all looking forward to a successful year with our newly updated officer team. Our officers for 2018 are: President Liz Oleksa, Vice President Debbie Rozear, Recording Secretary Annette Gozzard, Treasurer Jameel Memon, and Corresponding Secretary Dianne Michels.
We continue to promote LVCB and PCB through advocacy, public programming such as Facebook, and local events. We have seen quite a bit of interest in LVCB from our Facebook page (we are up to 417 likes), and through the old-fashion concept of word of mouth. Several of our members have been speaking about LVCB in their everyday lives, which has brought new members into our group. LVCB is a group of individuals who work extremely well as a team, to encourage, support and commit to helping others within and outside of our group, who live with blindness or visual impairment. Without the “family-life” atmosphere that we encourage from all our members, we could not be nearly as fun and outgoing of a group as we are.
LVCB has been working on reconstructing its “buddy” system, which is being headed by Dianne Michels. This project provides a “buddy” for our members who are not on the computer with a member who is. Our “buddies” call their partner(s) several times throughout the month to keep them informed of upcoming events, news that has been shared via the listserv, and to see if there is anything that our group can help them with. All “buddies” must be current paid members of LVCB.
Jeanette Schmoyer has stepped down as our membership chair person, so we thank her for the time and dedication she put into this for us over the past several years. LVCB has divided up the duties of this position, and we now have members working on various aspects of membership. We thank each one of our members who have volunteered to assist with our LVCB chapter!
LVCB will be starting the first fundraiser of the year; selling Gertrude Hawke Deluxe Chocolate bars. The bars come in a variety of flavors, are 3 oz. each and cost only $2 each. They are a great way to surprise family and friends for the holidays, birthdays or “just because”!!! If anyone would be interested in purchasing some, please contact me at 610-392-9551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LVCB has decided on a new logo to make our letterhead, and promotional products appear more professional. It is very similar to that of PCB. Our new logo is a black and white image that contains a black outline of the state of Pennsylvania. Centered in large bold font are the letters “LVCB” with the appropriate corresponding braille letters below each of the printed letters.
LVCB has begun implementing a “LVCB Member of the Month”. January 2018 was Debbie Rozear, and February 2018 was John Freiss and his guide dog Hero. Members that are selected to be member of the month are individuals who stand out and go above and beyond for our organization, and who are current paid members. We are looking forward to seeing who else will be added to our featured member of the month list for the remainder of the 2018 year.
LVCB meetings are most often held on the 3rd Saturday of the month, from 10:00 a.m. until Noon (with the occasional lunch meeting running until 1:00 p.m.). Our meetings are held at the Center for Vision Loss, 845 W. Wyoming Street, Allentown, PA 18103. Everyone is welcome to come out and join us for our meetings. We love having new people join us to enhance our group further. Snacks are provided by our members and enjoyed by all. We hope to see some of you at a future meeting. New visions lie ahead with the Lehigh Valley Council of the Blind.