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!

Date 

December 1, 2022

Location

Rust & Shine

600 Cemetery St.

Williamsport, PA 

Time

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!

NCSS Announces New Leadership

Zimmer and Moon photo and name

 

Join Us in Welcoming our New Leadership!

 

North Central Sight Services is pleased to announce the appointment of Kim Zimmer as president and CEO and the promotion of Brandy Moon to chief operations officer.

Zimmer, who previously served as president and CEO of Hellen Keller Services in Brooklyn, NY, has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in nonprofit organizations. At Hellen Keller Services, Zimmer led strategic planning, financial management, fundraising, people management, operations and marketing, with a focus on serving individuals who are blind or visually impaired in New York City or have combined hearing and vision loss across the United States.

She also formerly held positions as chief marketing officer and senior vice president, global development, for Goodwill Industries International; and chief operating officer and vice president, corporate communications, for National Industries for the Blind.

“Throughout her career, Kim has been committed to assisting people who are blind or visually impaired or have other disabilities achieve their employment goals and grow their independence,” said Mike Bridgham, chair of the North Central Sight Services’ Board of Directors. “Kim is just the forward-thinking and dynamic servant-leader we need to continue to grow our client services and business services, all to achieve our mission of enhancing independence for individuals with unique visual capabilities.”

Said Zimmer, “At North Central Sight Services there is a shared culture of camaraderie, resourcefulness, ingenuity and commitment to mission. There is a remarkable standard of quality that every team member exhibits in the products and services they deliver. I am thrilled to now be part of this team and excited to drive North Central Sight Services’ mission forward.”

Moon was previously human resources director and executive assistant to the CEO at North Central Sight Services. In her new role as chief operations officer, she will oversee day-to-day operational and administrative functions for the organization, including human resources, industry operations, programs and services, and commercial services.

“Brandy is a keystone for North Central Sight Services,” Zimmer said. “She has extensive institutional knowledge and is tremendously passionate about improving the lives of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. She also successfully stepped up as an interim leader during the organization’s recent executive search, and her peers look up to her for guidance and support. I look forward to having Brandy by my side in her new leadership role.”

Prior to her tenure at North Central Sight Services, Moon was human resources manager for River Valley Regional YMCA in Williamsport, PA. Moon holds the SHRM Senior Certified Professional credential from the Society for Human Resource Management and is a graduate of the Leadership Lycoming, a leadership development program offered by the Williamsport/ Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. She is currently pursuing her master’s in business administration at the University of Scranton.

Please join us in welcoming Kim and congratulating Brandy!

 

Prepare Children for School with an Eye Exam

Backpacks, clothes, shoes and school supplies are at the top of the list for parents as they send their children back to school. These items are essential to prepare children for a successful year. With the busy pace of a new school year, eye exams are often missed. However, a child’s vision changes frequently during the early school years, adding importance to getting a functional eye exam. For income-eligible children living in Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties, North Central Sight Services, Inc. (NCSS) is here to help.

 

NCSS’s Functional Vision Clinic provides income-eligible children with a complete eye examination with a pediatric optometrist who specializes in testing for visual-related learning problems. The clinic is held monthly at NCSS’s facility in Williamsport and the cost of an exam is $10.

 

According to the American Optometric Association, at least 5% of preschoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems. These problems create complications when the eyes try to send accurate and clear messages to the brain.

 

It is not uncommon for young children to have difficulty identifying and communicating vision problems. Parents and caregivers can help by looking for the following common signs of vision issues in their children:

 

  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Alternate uses of the right and left hands
  • Difficulty when studying visual information
  • Trouble concentrating and learning
  • Closing one eye during activities like reading or watching TV
  • Avoiding activities that require near vision (reading, homework, computer use) or distance vision (sports, other recreational activities)
  • Poor school performance
  • Headaches and/or complaints of tired eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eyes tear up for no apparent reason

 

A comprehensive exam at NCSS’s Functional Vision Clinic can identify potential vision issues and offer solutions if any problems are identified.

 

As a new school year is now underway, parents are encouraged to consider the eye health of their children and reach out to NCSS to schedule an exam. In addition to clothes and school supplies, a functional eye exam is a critical part of preparing your child to have a successful school year.

 

For more than 65 years, NCSS has assisted individuals who are blind or visually impaired to live independently and maximize their quality of life. The organization helps prevent vision loss through education programs and screenings for children and adults. NCSS offers adjustment services for people losing their vision, support services, employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and a prevention of blindness program.

 

For more information on vision screenings and related services, contact NCSS at (570) 323-9401.

Natural Waterscapes and NCSS Create Winning Partnership

Jon Klotz, president of Natural Waterscapes in South Williamsport, believes in the importance of community partnerships and looks for opportunities to engage with mission-focused organizations like North Central Sight Services, Inc. (NCSS). When his company dramatically expanded its line and method of business, Jon turned to NCSS for fulfillment services.

Natural Waterscapes was founded in 2007 to provide water resource management services throughout the country. As the business grew, a clear demand for high-quality pond and lake treatment resources emerged. Natural Waterscapes shifted its focus from a full-service business to one focused on providing superior products for pond and lake managers. When COVID-19 hit and consumers began focusing on improving their properties, the demand for pond and lake products skyrocketed. Natural Waterscapes revamped its business to a virtual platform and looked to NCSS for help packaging and sending its products to consumers.

“We needed warehouse space and help fulfilling orders,” Jon says. “NCSS was the perfect partner for us.”

NCSS provides storage space for large quantities of bulk products. When orders are placed through online sites like Amazon, NCSS employees repackage and ship the orders to customers. Currently, NCSS employs four people to package and four people to label and ship the orders. Last year, the organization distributed 2,778 units of products for Natural Waterscapes.

By serving as a packaging and distribution center, NCSS provides high-quality assistance for local businesses while generating employment for people who are blind or visually impaired.

“Our business services efforts align with our mission of helping people who are blind or visually impaired maintain their independence,”, says Amy Alexander, Development Director for NCSS. “Our employees provide excellent customer service and take great pride in their work.”

For Jon and his team at Natural Waterscapes, working with NCSS has been a winning partnership.

“It has been a rewarding experience, every step of the way,” Jon says. “We are proud to partner with NCSS and grateful for the excellent service they provide.”

For more than 65 years, NCSS has assisted individuals who are blind or visually impaired to live independently and maximize their quality of life. The organization helps prevent vision loss through education programs and screenings for children and adults. NCSS offers adjustment services for people losing their vision, support services, employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and a prevention of blindness program.

For more information on business partnerships and related services, contact NCSS at (570) 323-9401.

Spotlight on the Low Vision Store

Gaining Independence Through Assistive Technology

Reading a favorite book or checking email messages from friends is a common part of a typical day but, for people with visual impairments, these activities may require a little assistance. Thanks to the Low Vision Store at North Central Sight Services, Inc. (NCSS), transformational changes happen daily in the lives of its clients through the use of Assistive Technology. From hand-held magnifiers to wearable devices, the Low Vision Store helps visually impaired people of all ages increase their independence and quality of life.

For Brandon DeArment, technology specialist at NCSS, spending time with clients to connect them with appropriate technology makes his job very rewarding. Brandon started with NCSS three years ago. Brandon previously worked in the IT field for over 30 years. His professional knowledge and his compassion for helping others makes him uniquely qualified to lead the Low Vision Store and its Assistive Technology Lab.

“I love helping people regain their ability to read,” Brandon says. “Their lives are changed through the basic and advanced devices we provide.”

Three years ago, NCSS launched its Assistive Technology Lab to provide advanced devices. Through the support of grant funding, the organization built the lab as part of the Low Vision Store and purchased the necessary devices to make the lab one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the region. Through the lab, Brandon keeps up with the latest advancements in devices like the Amazon Echo to best serve clients.

“Technology changes rapidly with impressive advancements,” Brandon adds. “I encourage people to visit our store to learn what latest changes might suit their needs.”

In addition to its location at the NCSS office in Williamsport, the Low Vision Store is mobile, traveling to places like elementary schools and nursing homes for evaluations. With its vast geographic footprint, the mobile lab provides life-changing services to clients who lack transportation or awareness of the resources available in the community.

For many clients, the potential cost of Assistive Technology deters them from exploring their options. Through grant support, NCSS works with clients to secure personal grants and low-cost loans.

For Brandon, the trends in technology are exciting as they will provide more opportunities for people with visual impairments. Brandon has seen the transformation of portable E-reader devices, which are used to magnify documents, advance to offer audio commands, liking reading a menu or bus schedule. For individuals with visual impairments, growth in technology will widen the choice and scope of devices.

“We can help people live life to the fullest,” Brandon says. “I can’t imagine a more rewarding career.”

For more than 65 years, NCSS has assisted individuals who are blind or visually impaired to live independently and maximize their quality of life. The organization helps prevent vision loss through education programs and screenings for children and adults. NCSS offers adjustment services for people losing their vision, support services, employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and a prevention of blindness program.

For more information on services for people with low vision, contact NCSS at (570) 323-9401.

2022 Employee Awards

At a recent employee appreciation picnic, several staff members were awarded for their hard work and dedication to North Central Sight Services. Read more about our amazing staff below!

Milton J. Samuelson Award: Suellen Porter

The NIB Board of Directors established the Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award in 1996. The award is presented to a person who is blind who demonstrates career advancement at an NIB associated agency or in the private sector. Milton J. Samuelson, former NIB board member and past executive director of The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, was a leader in the blindness field and an advocate for upward mobility and placement programs benefiting people who are blind.

Peter J. Salmon Employee of the Year Award: Paul Diehl 

In 1968, on the 30th anniversary of the Wagner-O’Day Act, the NIB Board of Directors created the Peter J. Salmon Employee of the Year Award to honor those employees who excel in their positions at NIB associated agencies. Dr. Salmon was instrumental in advocating passage of the Wagner-O’Day Act of 1938 and the subsequent formation of NIB. This award recognizes the outstanding work and achievements of people who are blind working at NIB associated agencies across the country.

UniqueSource Employee of the Year Award: Tonya Manley

The UniqueSource Achievement Award is presented annually to recognize outstanding performance. This year, UniqueSource recognized 31 Member employees by showcasing their skills and talents they bring to the workplace every day.

 

Several employees also celebrated milestone length of service awards, including: 

Julia Barger, 35 Years of Service

Tim Clark, 20 Years of Service

Terri Kio, 20 Years of Service

Nathan Shaffer, 20 Years of Service

Sean Diggan, 15 Years of Service

Katie Coffey, 10 Years of Service

 

A Career of Conquering Challenges with Optimism

Every year in the middle of July, the Lycoming County Fair Grounds in Hughesville comes to life with its annual fair. Friends and family reconnect over food, concerts and carnival rides. This summertime tradition is John Denmark’s favorite time of year. He takes a week of vacation to enjoy every minute of the festivities as well as his birthday, which falls during the week of the fair. Each birthday marks another year John has pushed himself to try new experiences and overcome challenges as well as enjoy the life he has worked very hard to create. It is a life John loves.

John was born with Nystagmus, which is sometimes called dancing eyes. It is a condition in which one or both eyes move uncontrollably quickly. Because of this condition, John is legally blind, wears glasses and uses Assistive Technology, like magnifiers, to see. At age 10, John was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism spectrum disorder. His elementary, middle and high school years were challenging for John, as large print textbooks were not obtainable, nor did he have access to the Assistive Technology which is currently available.

Two days before his 18th birthday, John’s beloved mother passed away. Before she died, John promised his mother he would make her proud. John has kept his word. He has triumphed over challenges, embraced new experiences, worked diligently and developed a social and professional network that feeds his soul and career.

“I have kept the promise I made to my mother,” John says. “I think she would be very proud of me and what I have accomplished.”

In 2009, John began his career at North Central Sight Services, Inc. (NCSS) as a general assembler. John loves challenges and expanded his career experiences to work in customer service, vending services for local businesses and organizations, as well as support at the receptionist desk. John currently works in the industry program where he helps customize flash drives and provide labeling services.

“I have loved all my positions at NCSS,” John adds. “I enjoy trying new things and pushing myself forward.”

Several years ago, at NCSS’s Golf for Sight fundraising golf outing, John helped demonstrate a new form of technology called eSight, which is commonly called electronic eyewear. The device is worn over the user’s glasses and uses a cutting-edge camera to compensate for gaps in the user’s field of vision. This was the first time John had ever used eSight.

“The minute I put on the device, it was like I had 20/20 vision,” John says. “I burst into tears because I had never seen the world so clearly.”

John’s coworkers have acknowledged his inspirational spirit and professional drive on several occasions. John has been nominated twice by his peers for the Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award, which honors individuals who are blind and demonstrate career advancement at a National Industries for the Blind-associated nonprofit agency or in the private sector. The award is named after the late Samuelson, who was a strong advocate for upward mobility and placement programs benefitting people who are blind or visually impaired.

John has also been nominated for the UniqueSource Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of blind individuals throughout Pennsylvania.

“I am humbled my peers would nominate me for these honors,” John says. “I am so proud of the accomplishments of all of my coworkers.”

For more than 65 years, NCSS has assisted individuals who are blind or visually impaired to live independently and maximize their quality of life. The organization helps prevent vision loss through education programs and screenings for children and adults. NCSS offers adjustment services for people losing their vision, support services, employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and a prevention of blindness program.

For more information on vision screenings and related services, contact NCSS at (570) 323-9401.

Vision Screenings Are Essential for a Healthy Life

Many of us remember visiting the school nurse for an annual vision screening as children. As we grow into adulthood, this important appointment is often overlooked. Far too often, adults wait until they experience vision problems before they schedule a screening. By missing annual vision screenings, vision problems cannot be detected early and treated.

With the use a special camera, vision screenings are intended to assess vision issues and help identify problems that can lead to poor vision. Vision screenings are not as comprehensive as eye exams. Eye exams are more comprehensive and include tests for conditions such as color blindness, glaucoma and depth perception.

As the population in the United States ages, the number people who are blind or visually impaired is estimated to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. Vision screenings are a critical part of one’s overall health and can significantly improve the quality of life for millions of Americans.

For children, vision screenings are essential to help ensure their development. Young children cannot identify and communicate challenges with their vision. If left untreated, vision disorders can interfere with a child’s academic and social progression. In some cases, untreated vision disorders can lead to permanent vision loss.

For individuals and families living in Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga counties, North Central Sight Services, Inc., provides quick, easy and effective preventive vision screenings to detect vision loss and potential eye diseases. The organization uses the Spot™ Vision Screener, a handheld device that scans both eyes at the same time from a comfortable three feet away. It can detect potential vision issues across all age groups, starting at six-months old. Individuals who do not pass the screenings are referred to local eye care professionals.

For income-eligible children, North Central Site Services, Inc., provides opportunities for eye exams through its Functional Vision Clinic, which is held monthly at the organization’s facility in Williamsport. A pediatric optometrist specializing in visual-related learning problems conducts the exams. Common signs of a functional vision issue include poor eye-hand coordination, alternate uses of the right and left hands, and difficulty when studying visual information.

For more than 65 years, North Central Sight Services, Inc. has assisted individuals who are blind or visually impaired to live independently and maximize their quality of life. The organization helps prevent vision loss through education programs and screenings for children and adults. North Central Sight Services, Inc., offers adjustment services for people losing their vision, support services, employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and a prevention of blindness program.

For more information on vision screenings and related services, contact North Central Sight Services at (570) 323-9401.

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