Sights for Hope Grows its Client Population by 12% in One Year

Sights for Hope’s client population increased by 12% during its 2021-2022 service year, according to organizational data.

The organization had 625 clients with visual impairments and blindness when it ended the year on June 30. A total of 149 clients enrolled during the year and 81 clients withdrew or passed away. Sights for Hope also provided services to 83 non-client patients in 2021-2022 through its low vision care centers and delivered prevention services – which include free vision screenings and community education programs – to 6,663 people during the year.

Meanwhile, key demographics remained stable among Sights for Hope’s client population – with approximately 85% of its clients residing in households with incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty threshold. A total of 41% of Sights for Hope’s clients live at or below the poverty level.

While Sights for Hope’s growth can be attributed in part to the deceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has received feedback indicating that awareness has been increased since it changed its name in 2021 and increased its promotional efforts.

“We know that much of everyday life has resumed, but we also know that our message is reaching more people and that we are building an effective reputation,” said Dennis Zehner, Executive Director and CEO of Sights for Hope. “Most importantly, we know that there are many more people in our communities whom we can empower to be more self-sufficient. We intend to extend our growth substantially in the coming years.”

There are approximately 17,500 people ages 7 and older in Sights for Hope’s service area – which consists of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley area and Monroe County – who experience difficulties seeing with corrective lenses or blindness, according to an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Census Bureau.

Sights for Hope’s client and patient services include group and one-on-one life skills education sessions that teach vision rehabilitation, orientation and mobility, adaptive use of technology, and elemental life skills; casework support; guided transports that provide critical access to medical care, food supplies, and other essential needs; peer support groups; personal counseling; social and recreational activities; public service opportunities; functional low vision exams; and individualized consultations performed to match clients and patients with the assistive devices and technologies that best meet their needs.

Sights for Hope transforms the lives of people with visual impairments and blindness by removing the barriers to their independence. Sights for Hope’s services teach adaptive skills to accomplish daily life activities; provide supports that counter the effects of visual impairments and blindness; increase access to medical care, healthy food, and other essentials; and advance solutions that enhance sight capabilities. Founded in 1928, Sights for Hope carries forward in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and Monroe County a tradition of service inspired by Helen Keller and is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind.

Image: Two Sights for Hope clients who are wearing blue Sights for Hope shirts

Last modified September 28, 2023