Center for Sight and Hearing
     After a blind person was involved in several fires during the late 1940’s, a group of Rockford Lions and their wives organized a monthly dinner for blind individuals at the Salvation Army Citadel.
     This led to the formation of the Winnebago County Association of the Blind (WCAB). The WCAB approached the Lions in 1953 and asked for help building a center that would serve the blind in our community. The Lions pledged to match whatever funds were raised and began their own fundraising efforts by selling roses. Since then, local Lions Clubs sell roses each year to support the Center, which is often referred to as The House That Roses Built. The first location at 625 Adams Street in Rockford, just south of Rural Street, opened in the fall of 1962 through the collaborative efforts of the WCAB and the Rockford Lions Club.
     Our original center was a social agency and a recreational facility with several activities, including bingo, bowling, swimming, and chair-caning services. In 1984, additional programs were added to serve deaf or hard of hearing individuals. Our mission has continued to evolve and expand to include a variety of healthcare and rehabilitation services to help people optimize their vision and hearing abilities.
     In 2003, we relocated to the east side of Rockford near the E. State Street exit on I-90. Our nearly 24,000 square foot dual-specialty clinic provides hard-to-find vision and hearing care services that positively impact the people we serve.
     Sean Johnson joined the Center for Sight and Hearing as the Vision Rehabilitation Specialist in August of 2019. He teaches patients who are blind, have low vi navigate safely through their homes and communities, helping them overcome fear, gain confidence and lead active and full lives. He specializes in Orientation and Mobility Training (white cane), which is required for obtaining a leader dog. He also provides training in assistive technology (magnifiers, smart phones), home modifications, and life skills.
     Sean graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Science in Education: Blind Rehabilitation.  He is a ACVREP Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist.  He has 8+ years providing Blind Rehabilitation Services in the private/non-profit setting, as well as in the Veteran's Administration setting.  His Philosophy of Care is “I try to treat my clients as I would want to be treated if I experienced vision loss. I feel that forming a peer-to-peer relationship with my clients is important, rather than a provider/patient relationship. This philosophy allows the client to be in control of their rehabilitation process and take ownership of their success. By understanding the client’s interests and motivations, I can personalize the training to meet their needs.” 
     Sean will  will provide a presentation outlining a brief history of the Center for Sight and Hearing, an overview of our vision and hearing services, and how these services serve our community. I work with the visually impaired population in the Vision Clinic, and will elaborate these services in more detail.
     This will be an interesting and informative program and a chance for members to invite a guest or prospective member to join our Zoom meeting by forwarding the Zoom invite information.  Ruth Little will introduce our presenter.