Non-profit Spotlight: Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia
Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia (VRS) is an Atlanta-based non-profit organization whose mission is to assist and train individuals with impaired vision or blindness to function independently in all environments. The organization was established in 1983 by Sarah Frances Sentell Scott, who struggled to find reputable assistance when she began to lose sight around 40. With the support of her loved ones, Scott founded Cobb Services for the Blind; now VRS, which serves 34 counties across North Georgia and connects hundreds of individuals to vision impairment resources each year.
VRS’ team of certified instructors build service plans based on each client’s needs. In addition, they provide proven tools, techniques, services, and programs to assist individuals in carrying out their daily activities.
Comprehensive Low Vision Evaluation
VRS lists comprehensive low vision evaluations as the client’s first step. A Low Vision specialist conducts the assessment, evaluates their vision’s functionality, and reviews their medical history.
Daily Living Skills Training
VRS’ Daily Living Skills Training is a training program facilitated by Vision Rehabilitation Therapists. Through Daily Living Skills Training, clients learn and develop new techniques and strategies to maintain independence.
Orientation and Mobility Training
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Training is beneficial to those who have had changes in their vision. In VRS’ Orientation and Mobility Training program, O&M instructors assist individuals in rethinking how they travel—both in the home and the community. After guiding the client in evaluating their travel needs and challenges, O&M instructors find strategies and tools that most efficiently meet the client’s needs.
Access Technology Training
Current technologies allow for more productivity and efficiency in the clients’ work and educational lives. VRS’ Access Technology Training is designed to educate those with vision loss on using new technologies and their accessibility features. Clients can learn to incorporate these new technologies into their daily routine in a small group or one-on-one setting.
VRS’ Job Readiness classes help to prepare clients for meaningful careers. Whether the client is re-entering the workforce after experiencing changes in vision or entering the workforce for the first time, VRS’ Job Readiness program helps them acquire the required skills and knowledge.
Personal Adjustment Counseling
According to VRS’ website, “like any other major life event, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and experience depression, stress, anxiety, and grief.” Personal Adjustment Counseling is an empowering program that allows clients to develop new tools to cope with the challenges and adjustment period of vision loss.
Transition Academy is a program designed to assist young people ages 14-24 in transitioning from home and high school to the next phase of their life. The program involves guidance, rehabilitation, and career services.
Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for Adults 55 & Above
The Georgia Division of Vocational Rehabilitation administers Project Independence to seniors to keep them independent.
If you or someone you know is interested in VRS’ services and programs, you can learn how to apply for them here.
VRS holds fundraising events for their organization every year. The Spooktacular Chase 10k/5k is VRS’ annual fundraiser and Halloween-themed race. In September of last year, VRS hosted a golf tournament in Kennesaw, Georgia, and a wine tasting in Smyrna.
You can check the Events page on the VRS website to see upcoming events and fundraisers.
VRS needs volunteers for ongoing support groups, client activities, and fundraising events. Additionally, VRS occasionally requires volunteers for grant research, marketing, social media content, and grant writing. If you are interested in volunteering, check out their volunteer page.
VRS’ website states that 253 million people live with vision impairment. In addition, 36 million people are blind, and 217 million people have moderate to severe vision impairment. Surprisingly, most insurances do not cover vision rehabilitation, which drastically increases the need for VRS’ services, making fundraisers, donations, and volunteers essential.
Fundraisers and direct donations ensure necessary funding for client services. You can make direct donations to VRS here.
VRS News and Updates
- Kay Eller will be leaving her position as Executive Director of VRS. Jen Williams, Operations and Programs Manager, will be taking over as Executive Director in the coming months.
- May is Healthy Vision Month! You can check out ways to make your vision a healthy priority here!
- VRS celebrated its 39th Anniversary in May of 2022!
Are you or someone you know interested in VRS’ services? Are you looking to make a donation or volunteer? If you have any questions, you can contact VRS by checking out their contact page.