Sights for Hope Exceeds Expectations Six Months After Setting Big Impact Goals

Sights for Hope’s progress toward its four Big Impact Goals for 2030 has exceeded expectations six months after they were established.

Enacted in July with Sights for Hope’s current strategic plan, the goals reflect the work the organization does best, the services that its clients want most, and the opportunities to make the greatest impact on the lives of its communities’ people with visual impairments and blindness.

“Our anticipation was that we would spend the first year almost exclusively laying the groundwork for partnerships and initiatives that would allow us to achieve these goals,” said Dennis Zehner, Executive Director and CEO of Sights for Hope. “We have been able to build some key partnerships more quickly than we had anticipated and recent investments have enabled us to provide a greater number of services in the first six months. Our growing momentum reflects the critical importance of what we seek to accomplish.”

Sights for Hope’s four Big Impact Goals are as indicated below with summaries of the organization’s progress.

  • Goal: To ensure that 2,500 people with visual impairments receive at least one assistive technology device that boosts their ability to interact with the people and environments around them.
  • Progress: Sights for Hope provided assistive devices to 78 people from July-December 2022. The organization also has begun to develop a new tech space at its Lehigh Valley Services Center in Allentown, PA, has held free consumer demonstrations of devices, and has solicited funding for future distributions.
  • Goal: To provide people with visual impairments 25,000 guided transports that increase access to medical care, food, life skills education, and critical wellness services.
  • Progress: Sights for Hope provided 1,488 transports from July-December 2022. The organization expanded its guided transport team for the Lehigh Valley area in July, thereby expanding its service capacity. It also projects its client population to continue growing substantially over the eight-year period and expects to meet this goal.
  • Goal: To provide 2,500 people with visual impairments at least one life skills education experience that enhances their ability to live independently with visual impairments or blindness.
  • Progress: Sights for Hope provided life skills education to 98 clients from July-December 2022. Sights for Hope has initiated efforts to conduct programs at locations in its communities. It also will work to develop large-scale public events and digital delivery options for future programs.
  • Goal: To ensure that 2,500 children ages 0-6 receive professional eye exams and glasses or equivalent solutions that advance their ability to learn effectively. Children are identified for these services through the free vision screenings that Sights for Hope provides at childcare centers, preschools, and kindergarten registration events throughout its communities.
  • Progress: Sights for Hope has formed its Focused Futures program to facilitate this work. It has received commitments from the Pennsylvania Vision Foundation and the VSP Eyes of Hope program to provide at least 300 free exams and glasses annually from physicians in their respective networks.

Sights for Hope’s clients and patients can purchase assistive devices at both its Lehigh Valley Services Center and its Monroe Services Center near Stroudsburg, PA. Clients and patients also can receive functional exams by a low vision optometrist to determine what magnifiers or devices are best for each person.

Sights for Hope’s guided transport service increases its clients’ access to life-sustaining medical care, food supplies, its services, and other essential needs. Its life skills education includes classes and one-on-one sessions on topics including Braille, kitchen safety, the preparation and cooking of meals, the completion of checks and forms, personal organization, and adjustments to in-home lighting.

Sights for Hope’s screenings for pre-kindergarten children are conducted with advanced hand-held Spot Vision Screener that is highly accurate in the determination of conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatisms, strabismus, and amblyopia. The Spot Vision Screener works on children as young as 6 months and is especially effective for use with kids who are on the autism spectrum, have other physical challenges, or have language difficulties. Sights for Hope screens 5,000 or more children ages 0-6 in a year, and up to 15% of these children are found to have a visual impairment of some kind.

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. More than 40% of Sights for Hope’s clients live below or near the federal poverty line. 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.

Last modified January 25, 2023

Image: The Sights for Hope logo on a large white background on a wall