The Council is grateful throughout the year for the donor and volunteer support that helps make our work possible. But this is the time of year when we like to take a moment to say a special “Thank you!” to everyone who contributes to our mission with the gift of their time, talent or financial resources.
There are many ways to support the Council. Evansville residents Chris and Theresa Zenchenko included a planned gift to the Council in their will. Chris is quick to encourage others to do the same. “To me, one of the most important components of what the Council stands for and does is educating the sighted world about blindness and visual impairment,” he says. “The Council proves that you can live and thrive without sight. The work they do with the Legislature improves lives all over the state. There is no other organization that does those things on a statewide basis.”
As Chris mentions, some of the Council’s advocacy and education work is conducted in the hallways and offices of the State Capitol. That’s where Executive Director Denise Jess and Council allies testify at public hearings and meet with policy makers to advance and protect the rights of people with vision loss. But the Council also inspires advocacy work on the local level among community members. For example, Madison resident Jim Frome, with the encouragement of Council staff, recently persuaded city engineers to change the stoplight timing at a dangerous intersection, making the crosswalk safer for everyone.
Fund Development Director Lori Werbeckes says, “Every gift we receive at the Council stems from gratitude. Our donors are grateful for their vision, for services the Council offers, for learning a new skill, for regaining their independence, and for the hope instilled in them as they work with WCBVI professionals.” That gratitude goes both ways. “I’m so thankful to our donors because they make all these incredible moments possible for Council clients!” Lori says.
Volunteers, like donors, make an enormous difference for the Council and the people we serve. They help out in a variety of ways, such as event preparation, audio recordings of publications, braille machine repair and more. One volunteer effort this year even made a difference for the entire neighborhood. The Rock County Master Gardeners supplied the people power and know-how to install the beautiful Sensory Gardens that now surround the Council’s red brick building on Williamson Street in Madison.
“These spaces are now not only welcoming but an opportunity to experience a bit of nature in an urban setting using all of the senses, not just vision,” says Program Coordinator Kathleen Callen of the Council. “We couldn’t have done that without these volunteers.”
Kathleen believes the Council’s gratitude for our volunteers can’t really be measured. “They share their time and talents in ways that support the mission of the Council while bringing their own passion and commitment to empowering our community.”
You can find current volunteer opportunities and related information on our website.