Being Visually Impaired Doesn’t Mean Having to be Alone
James Stickel, President of the Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) Group of The Villages®, talks about the VIP Group’s purpose and its philosophy on how to help the visually impaired.
The following is a transcription of the video:
(Host) Frank Lancione: Hi, I’m Frank Lancione with Evergreen Wellness. I’m here today with my good friend, Mr. James Stickel. President of the Visually Impaired People Club (VIP) of The Villages®.
So, Jim. Tell us a little bit about the VIP Club.
James Stickel: Well, the VIP group is a support group. And it’s been in existence for probably six or seven years that I know about. It’s purpose to help those folks who need help with the visual impairment. And we have folks in the group who are totally blind, which is rare, all the way to folks who have the beginnings of a deteriorating eyesight. They don’t see at the 20/20 level, certainly. They’re probably not able to drive. But they’re able to live independently. or independently if they get some help. And that’s where the VIP, the Visually Impaired Persons Group, fills the gap. We on the one hand want to provide help, but on the other hand we don’t want to dote. We want folks to take their own independence. And so the movement that we’ve had recently – this is over the last year or so – is to declare our independence, from this blindness, which is a kind of a thief that is stealing from us what is a valuable resource, obviously. And help get them through the day a lot easier, maybe, or more fulfilling than they otherwise would.
Frank Lancione: Now I understand you actually have, an actual declaration of independence from visual impairment.
James Stickel: Yes, we do.
Frank Lancione: How did that come about?
James Stickel: That’s interesting. One of our board members, came across this declaration of independence several years ago – up in , she’s from Ohio, Northern Ohio – and she brought it back to the club. This year we instituted it as something we read. Something we could read, and say, “This is what we believe.” So, Pat said, why don’t we try it. We did, and it was rewarding on one side. And it was somewhat surprising – how the residents, what the members, said, “Yeah, that’s me. I don’t want you to give me help that I don’t need. But on the other hand, because I can’t do some things, like drive – if I could get a little help there, that’s all I need.”
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