About Sights for Hope

Sights for Hope transforms the lives of people with visual impairments and blindness by removing the barriers to their independence. Our programs provide the skills, supports, and solutions that advance their self-sufficiency and quality of life. We carry forward a tradition inspired by Helen Keller nearly a century ago throughout Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and Monroe County, and most of our services are provided at no cost. Founded in 1928, Sights for Hope is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind (PAB) and the VisionServe Alliance.

Our Mission Statement

  • To provide people with visual impairments the skills, supports, and solutions that advance their self-sufficiency.

Our Vision Statement

  • To transform the lives of people with visual impairments by removing the barriers to their independence and success.

Our Words

  • We use the terms “visual impairment” or “visual impairments” frequently in reference to the people we serve because these terms generate the most accurate understanding of our work among the greatest number of people. Many people are not aware that most people we serve have some capability of sight.
  • This comprehensive term includes those who live with complete blindness. We also use the word “blindness” along with “visual impairments” in important contexts to ensure that everybody we serve feels included.
  • We express our brand with person-first language, in which one is not a visually-impaired or blind person but a person with, or living with, a visual impairment, blindness, low vision, or limited vision. Meanwhile, we do not seek to dictate any individual’s self-identification.
 
 

Our Theory of Change

  • People who live with visual impairments and blindness face unacceptable disparities with respect to personal independence and wellbeing.
  • These inequalities are manifest particularly by increased challenges in accomplishing daily life activities; limited access to medical care, nutritious food, and other critical services; difficulties with emotional health, including depression; and decreased potential to learn successfully in school.
  • If Sights for Hope removes key barriers to self-sufficiency, then people with visual impairments and blindness become empowered to achieve a greater equality of independence and quality of life for themselves.
  • Click here for our full Theory of Change (.pdf)

Our Three Pillars

We have identified three pillars to articulate our work.

  • Skills: We teach adaptive skills to accomplish daily life activities.
  • Supports: We provide supports that counter the effects of visual impairments and blindness and we increase access to medical care, healthy food, and other essential needs.
  • Solutions: We advance solutions that enhance sight capabilities.

Our Big Impact Goals

We have established four Big Impact Goals to achieve from 2022-2030.

  • To provide at least 2,500 people with at least one assistive technology device that boosts their ability to interact with the people and environments around them.
  • To provide at least 25,000 guided transports that increase access to medical care, food, life skills education, and critical wellness services.
  • To provide at least 2,500 people with at least one life skills education experience that enhances their ability to live independently with visual impairments or blindness.
  • To provide at least 2,500 children ages 6 and under with professional eye exams and glasses or equivalent solutions that advance their ability to learn effectively.

Our Services

  • Life Skills Education: Group and one-on-one sessions that teach vision rehabilitation, orientation and mobility, adaptive use of technology, and elemental life skills.
  • Youth and Family Programs: Life Skills Education programs that help young people with visual impairments build the skills to become independent adults and show their families how to empower them.
  • Support Services: Services for clients – including casework support, guided transport services, peer support groups, personal counseling, social and recreational activities, and public service opportunities – that improve their quality of life and their access to medical care, food supplies, and other essentials.
  • Technology Solutions: Functional low vision exams by a professional optometrist and individualized consultations performed to match clients and patients with the assistive devices that best meet their needs.
  • Prevention Services: Free vision screenings for pre-kindergarten children that advance learning readiness and community education programs that promote eye health, eye safety, and inclusion of people with visual impairments.

Our Constituents

  • Our population of clients with visual impairments increased by 14% in our 2021-2022 service year.
  • A total of 42% of our clients live below or near the federal poverty line. A total of 85% of them live at or below 300% of the poverty line.
  • A total of 82% of our clients are ages 55 and older, and 64% of our clients are ages 65 and older.
  • Approximately 70% of our clients are diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, Diabetic Reinopathy, Cataracts, or Retinits Pigmentosa.
  • We perform vision screenings on 5,000 or more children ages 0-6 annually, and up to 15% of them have an impairment of some kind.
  • Approximately 90% of our children’s screenings in a typical year are held at preschools, at daycare centers, and during kindergarten registration and orientation events.

Data as of October 31, 2022

Our Champions for Sight