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Armstrong residents can get help closer to home

| Monday, Nov. 15, 2004

KITTANNING — Blind and visually impaired persons in Armstrong County will be better able to live on their own now thanks to the Butler County Association for the Blind.

The Butler County Association for the Blind has long been serving Armstrong County residents with sight problems from its Butler office, but recently opened a satellite office in Kittanning.

Establishing a local office will allow the agency to be closer to a growing number of clients here, agency officials say.

“We are trying to help as many people as possible,” said Megan Grenek, a lifeskills coordinator with the agency who will operate the office about 10 hours a week. “More and more people are in need of the services but don't know what to do or where to go.”

The office is located at 318 Market Street. Hours are by appointment. To contact the agency call toll free at 1-866-382-4232.

Services provided include transportation for visually impaired, financially eligible clients who agree to fill out an application and provide visual and financial information to the caseworker in order to determine eligibility. Clients can be transported to medical appointments, grocery shopping and some community services.

Another service is light chores such as mail reading, bill paying, organizing and marking items for identification and other vision-loss related tasks. The service does not include cleaning or yard work.

There are life skills services providing classes about vision loss and how to adjust to the loss including speakers. Those skills can be taught in the home or in an office setting. Support groups are available too for clients.

When the services needed by a client are not available at the agency, they will be referred where necessary.

Home visits are a large part of the services and programs of the agency. A call to the caseworker can set up a home or an office visit.

“Our clients are anxious for us to be up and running in Armstrong County,” Grenek said. In the future, the agency wants to add parties and social activities to its list of services.

The Lions clubs and other organizations often sponsor those activities for clients of the agency and the agency provides transportation for as many as possible who need it.

“The Lions clubs are totally supportive,” Grenek said. “They help us out a lot.”

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