NIB/NAEPB Advocacy Day – Washington DC

Advocating for people who are blind or have low vision.

Before I lost about 85% of my vision 10 years ago, I would have never imagined that soon I would be confidently roaming the halls of Congressional office buildings in Washington DC. That is exactly where Kim Zimmer, CEO, and I (Suellen Porter, Customer Service Manager) were on May 10, 2023.  We were attending the NIB/NAEPB Advocacy Day:  Connect the Dots. We were visiting the offices of Congressmen Glen Thompson and Dan Meuser, and the office of Senator Robert Casey. 

The right for people with disabilities to choose their own career paths has become my political passion.  Over 70% of blind or visually impaired adults in the United States are under or un-employed. The AbilityOne Program is a federal program that was established in 1938 to create employment opportunities for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Through our partnership with National Industries for the Blind (NIB), NCSS offers employment opportunities by manufacturing, purchasing, and shipping products to federal agencies and the military all over the world. 

Kim and I were asking our legislatures to amend the federal Rehabilitation Act to require State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies to provide their clients with information about AbilityOne jobs offered by non-profit agencies, like ours.  We also asked that they hold hearings to ensure that all government agencies are following federal mandates through purchasing AbilityOne products.

Providing employment opportunities is essential for people who have sight impairment or blindness. Without these opportunities, many individuals would be unable to find employment. As a result, they would struggle financially while relying more on government services to supplement their income and financial needs. Not only is employment a financial need, but it also gives individuals self-worth and dignity. Employment allows individuals to be part of the community. Interactions at work may lead to friendships and relationships that will also allow the individual to grow as a person rather than being isolated.

The Legislative Directors and Aides we spoke to in all 3 offices were eager to listen to our concerns.  They agreed that all people with disabilities have the right to choose where they work, and that Congress needs to exercise more oversight to ensure that the AbilityOne Program continues to grow to provide more opportunities for the disabled community.  We are assured that our elected officials are listening to our concerns and that they will continue to do their best to help keep us employed.

Visit to learn more. 

May is Healthy Vision Month!

May is Healthy Vision Month. It is celebrated to stress the importance of the health of our eyes and vision. Established in 2003 by the National Eye Institute, the goal is to spread awareness and educate society about the risks of ignoring overall eye health. One main goal for the month is to encourage individuals to have regular eye exams and checkups. It is important to be proactive and not wait for vision problems to start.

Approximately 39 million people in the world are blind and six times as many are visually impaired or have some type of sight impairment. Some eye conditions can cause vision loss and even blindness. These include Cataracts, a clouding of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy, which causes damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye. Glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve, often with increased eye pressure. Age-related macular degeneration, which gradually affects central vision.

5 ways to protect and support healthy vision.

  1. A healthy diet is very important for good vision. Eating healthy supports every part of your body. To help your eyes, make sure you have dark, leafy greens and seafood that is high in omega three fatty acids in your diet.
  2. Wearing protective eyewear keeps your eyes safe during many activities. Protective eyewear is not only just when playing sports. Everyday activities, especially outside where different environments can have items or objects blowing through the air can be dangerous for your eyes. Some activities such as mowing the lawn, cutting firewood, or even painting can put your eye safety at risk. It is also important, with as much time as we look at screens, that we start wearing blue light protection glasses. These glasses can prevent the blue light from damaging our eyes and will assist with the wear of our everyday screen viewing.
  3. Wearing sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the UV rays (ultraviolet radiation) that the sun produces every day. It is significant to note that not all sunglasses provide levels of protection from UV rays. When shopping for sunglasses, it is vital to ask what type of UV protection the glasses provide. Sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection will provide the most defense.
  4. Clean hands are very important to your eye health. Keeping your hands clean will aid in keeping dirt and possible infections from your eyes. We wipe and rub our eyes constantly throughout the day and even the slightest dirt or germs can have real, long-lasting effects. It is also key to make sure your hands are clean, especially if you use contacts and are putting them in or taking them out.
  5. Smoking is detrimental to your eye health. Smoking has been linked to many diseases, but it can also lead to vision loss. Smoking can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other vision impairment.

NCSS becomes more ADA compliant with grant funds from the First Community Partnership of Pennsylvania

North Central Sight Services, Inc (NCSS) recently received a grant of $126,750.00 from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (FCFP) to be used for the Restroom Low Vision Solution Renovation.

Built in 1987 as an industrial site, the building that houses North Central Sight Services was constructed prior to the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since purchasing the site in 2007, NCSS has made many updates to renovate the facility to meet ADA standards and fit the needs of our associates, many of whom are people with visual disabilities. Like our other restrooms in our facility, our renovated restroom will not only meet ADA standards for mobility but will be designed with high contrast color so floors, countertops, walls and doors are easily defined. This renovation will not only give our associates and visitors an updated facility, but it will also make mobility much easier.

“We are thrilled by the support from FCFP to update our restrooms. It is imperative that we are able to continue to make our building our ADA compliant and accessible to all employees and visitors.” Said Kim Zimmer, President/CEO of North Central Sight Services, Inc.

North Central Sight Services in partnership with First Community Foundation Partnership is pleased to announce its new renovation of Low Vision Solution restrooms. Featuring extra wide doors and high contrast fixtures, walls and floors, the restrooms provide people with low vision and other disabilities, an easily accessible space. NCSS with the help of FCFP, continue to improve the lives and working environment of people with disabilities in Lycoming County.

Part of NCSS’ mission is to create sustainable, person-centered employment. This renovation will let our employees with visual impairments, know that their needs are being recognized, acknowledged, and met. Our mission is also to foster positive change, awareness and advocacy while removing barriers. Updating our facility is a positive change that shows our employees with visual or physical disabilities that we are aware of their needs and are working to remove any and all barriers possible while they are employed at North Central Sight Services.

April is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month

Help Protect Your Eyes, Help Prevent Injuries.

Eye injuries are a common cause of blindness. Many of these injuries are a result of sports-related activities. It is unfortunate, but many eye injuries are serious and can result in a loss of sight. A simple but important way to avoid these injuries is by wearing protective eyewear. Protective eyewear will help keep eyes safe from flying objects, elbows, fingers, weather related airborne objects or other possible environmental hazards.


Think the risk of an eye injury is not serious? Below are some facts that may change your mind.

  • Emergency rooms treat more than 40,000 eye injuries annually as a result from sports related injuries. 
  • Racquetballs can reach upwards of 200 mph in competitive play while tennis and badminton objects can go 60 mph or more during competitions.
  • Many sports involve rackets and swinging objects at high rates of speed in confined places or close, person-to-person contact. These activities lead to encounters and interactions that will result in injuries. Many of these injuries are in the facial area due to the contact and support being played.


Sports eyewear does not have the same qualities or characteristics as regular eyeglasses or other everyday worn eyewear. Sports eyewear is specifically designed to suit the needs of each individual sport. Many of them are designed to fit while wearing helmets when playing football, baseball, hockey or other activities such as biking.

Protective lenses are manufactured from polycarbonate. This is a durable and impact resistant material made with full UV protection. The frames are usually designed with the same polycarbonate or impact resistant plastic. They come with rubber padding on the areas that connect to your face. Depending upon the style, some contour and wrap around the face which provides complete and secure coverage.

It is important to have proper sizing and well-fitting eyewear for the individual. There is no one size fits all when it comes to protective eyewear, especially for sports activities. Eyewear that is too large or too small will not only affect the individual and their performance but will likely discourage the individual from wearing the eyewear all together. Eyewear, especially for children, should be assessed every year.

      Pin on Glasses Guide - Frame materials sturdy but flexible, adjustable straps move with you while keeping the frame in place, bridge padding provides grip, comfort, and protection, Polycarbonate Lenses thin, light weight and impact resistant.

Camp KALEIDOSCOPE at Camp Victory

North Central Sight Services, Inc. will host a one day camp at Camp Victory…a special camp for special kids on June 2, 2023 from 8:00AM – 3:30PM. We are looking for participants that have visual impairments and want to enjoy a camp experience! 

Join us to spend the day completing arts and crafts, enjoying the Nature Center, a ropes course (zipline, challenge course) and swimming. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

This is a great opportunity for your child to socialize, make new friends, participate in new challenges, and develop skills and memories that will last a lifetime! 

To register, please fill out this Camp Kaleidoscope Registration Form and return it to Noah Mantione at or by mail to 2121 Reach Road Williamsport PA 17701 by May 22nd.  

Camp KALEIDOSCOPE will take place at Camp Victory located at 58 Camp Victory Road, Millville PA. Visit our event page on Facebook for more information. 

Raise the Region 2023

Ready to Lend a Helping Hand?

Raise the Region starts this Wednesday at 6PM and we need your help to make our campaign a success! We’ve included a few easy ways that you can support us.

• Share and share alike. Online giving days are successful because of our own network. Help us grow our network by sending this email to your network and ask your friends to do the same.

• Be socially (media) active. Use your social media networks: post on Facebook, tweet about Raise the Region, and share your love for your passion, whether it’s education, health care, animals, or the arts. Ask others to do the same.

• Become a fundraising champion. Everyone loves a champion, including us! We really need fundraising champions to help drive people to our Raise the Region profile on March 8-9. Click here to become a fundraising champion! Once on our page, you can click the red FUNDRAISE button to get set up.

By donating to North Central Sight Services, you are helping us continue to fulfill our mission to create sustainable, person-centered programs and employment that enhance independence for individuals with unique visual capabilities and to foster positive change, awareness, and advocacy while removing barriers. Thank you in advance for your support!

Kim Zimmer

February is Low Vision/AMD Awareness Month

Low vision affects millions of Americans – including many older adults. People with low vision aren’t blind, but because of their vision loss, they may need assistance to perform everyday tasks like reading, navigating and transportation.

What is low vision?

Low vision is defined as a visual acuity of 20/70. It can be caused by eye diseases or health disorders, eye injuries, birth defects, or age. Someone with low vision can’t simply put on a pair of glasses or contacts and see well; this condition is beyond the typical loss of vision that occurs with aging. There are many different types of vision loss the most common conditions of vision loss include macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

What is AMD?

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye condition affecting as many as 15 million Americans. The disease attacks the macula of the eye, where our sharpest central vision occurs, affecting reading, driving, identifying faces, watching television, safety navigating stairs and performing other daily tasks. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it robs the individual of all but the outermost peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the center of vision.


To help maintain healthy eyes:

  • Visit an eye doctor regularly
  • Eat a diet with plenty of green
  • Include omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, nuts, and plant oils, in your daily diet
  • Exercise regularly, maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Avoid smoking
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from harmful UVA and UVB rays

If you are experiencing vision loss, we are here to help. Contact us at 570-323-9401 to speak to a specialist.

Deck the Doors 2022

Back again for another year is our Deck the Doors competition and fundraiser!

Each year, NCSS staff donates a contribution in order to decorate and enter their door to win. All donations benefit Lions Club District 14-G as a thank you for supporting NCSS throughout the year. Members of the Lions Club have the honor of judging and selecting the winning decorated door.

Thank you Lions Club District 14-G for selecting two perfect doors as winners! Congratulations to our first-place winner Josh Garcia for his Nightmare before Christmas themed door and to our second-place winner Katie Coffey for her Your Light Makes the Season Bright themed door!

We had more doors entered than ever before. Take a moment to look at the creativity and festive doors that were made this year! 

Shop for Sight: Dec. 1, 2022

Shop for Sight

Shop for Sight

Save the date for our annual shopping fundraiser Shop for Sight!


December 1, 2022


Rust & Shine

600 Cemetery St.

Williamsport, PA 


6-9 p.m.

Support both North Central Sight Services and Rust & Shine for this night out! A portion of each sale at Rust & Shine will be donated to North Central Sight Services.



Rust & Shine specializes in unique gifts including handcrafted jewelry, pottery, accessories, clothing and locally made products. It also offers home goods like skin care products, candles and décor.



We are so grateful for our partnership with Rust & Shine. Shop for Sight is a collaborative holiday event that benefits both a local small business and our non-profit mission. What better way to celebrate the season of giving than by buying a gift for someone you love that will also help make a positive difference in another person’s life at the same time.



Join us for an evening of shopping, light refreshments and raffle baskets! We hope to see you there!

GivingTuesday: Nov. 29, 2022

GivingTuesday is Tuesday, Nov. 29. Please mark your calendar and consider donating to help us as we work hard to change more lives.

Thanks to our partnership with AllOne Charities, you can double your gift’s impact. AllOne Charities will match gifts up to our first $1,000 raised!

When you give to NCSS, you enable us to provide services to prevent vision loss, help young children with low vision, and assist people with tools and technology to enhance their independence.

Your gift will help fund services like blindness prevention education, vision screenings, our early intervention program and our assistance technology program. Please consider donating to help us continue our mission.


The donation match with AllOne Charities is eligible from Monday, Nov. 28 – Wednesday, Nov. 30. Please make sure you donate before 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30! 


Thank you for being a supporter of North Central Sight Services!

AllOne Charities

Thank you to AllOne Charities for this partnership!

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