On November 8, 1918, a small group of concerned citizens met in downtown Wilkes-Barre at the request of a young, totally blind woman named Arline Phillips. Her mission was to help other “blind persons help themselves,” and so, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind was born. Arline pioneered the concept of free services to the blind and visually impaired in this region. Traveling the area, she visited blind and visually impaired persons in their homes, teaching them Braille and skills they needed to live independently. Arline’s mission is one the newly renamed organization is proud to continue to this very day.
After almost a century of service, the agency decided to change its moniker to one that simply better reflects both the good work the organization does and the location in which it’s done. Although the name has changed, the mission remains the same.
Northeast Sight Services helps blind and visually impaired individuals achieve the best possible quality of life by providing compassionate services and works to prevent vision loss through education and early detection for people of all ages. Northeast Sight Services is a non-profit organization that serves Northeast Pennsylvania, including Luzerne, Wyoming, Wayne, and Pike counties.
They offer social service programs to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, all with the goal of improving the quality of one’s life and maintaining their independence. These services include adjustment to vision loss, in-home support, independent living, and monthly social events.
Northeast Sight Services also proudly partners with Community Services for Sight on the InSight Kids Club of NEPA, which is a program for blind and visually impaired children to get together and enjoy both recreational and instructional opportunities as a group. The InSight Kids Club includes Camp Sight, which a summer day camp, and Transition Assistance, which helps students adjust to life after high school as well as fun, educational monthly programs.
Additionally, Prevention of Blindness programs offered are completely free of charge and to people of all ages and demographics. These programs are focused on helping prevent blindness locally and include vision screenings and eye health & safety education programs for both children and adults. In total, they proudly screened nearly 5,200 children and adults annually at local day cares, Head Start locations, kindergarten registrations, senior centers and health fairs.
Northeast Sight Services also recently revamped their Vision Resource Center, which is a one-stop-shop full of amazing and practical tools that enhance work, home life and leisure for people with vision loss. They offer many products designed to make everyday tasks easier. The Vision Resource Center also houses a Low Vision Clinic which offers appointments with their Low Vision Doctor once a week.
Within the Low Vision Resource Center there is also a Gift of Sight Basic Eye Exams/Low Cost Prescription Eyeglasses program which ensures that individuals have access to sight, whether it be through a basic eye exam or a pair of affordable prescription frames.
Join us for the 2018 EPIC Awards on June 12th at 5 p.m. at Wyoming Seminary – Kirby Center for Creative Arts to see this award presented to Northeast Sight Services. Register here!