This Week at CSC

-Keeping you “In the Know…” 10/30/20

Click here for a weekly archive of what's happening at CSC.

In Memoriam: Stephanie Webster

-It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Stephanie Webster, former Team Lead in our Call Center.

Stephanie exemplified everything we stand for. She never stopped trying, she never stopped learning, she never stopped caring for others. Stephanie will be missed. At the request of her family, services are being postponed until more folks can safely celebrate her.

Who Wants S’Mores?!?! Memories Made at Spellbound 2020!

-CSC’s annual fundraising gala, Spellbound, was held last evening through a virtual BONDfire! The theme for Spellbound was “Let’s Make S’More Memories” and while much different in format than Spellbounds past, was a unique opportunity to tell the Cleveland Sight Center story.

Attendees were treated to a wonderfully informative and engaging Zoom event where attendees learned about Cleveland Sight Center and the PREP area (Personal Rehabilitation and Employment Preparation), learned about vision rehabilitation services, engaged in a s’more making activity from their homes led by Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Taylor Volrich and President and CEO Larry Benders, heard from former client and current Escalation Specialist in the Call Center Shameka Elliott, and donated funds through a paddle raise fund-a-need to support the agency. As of this morning, we have a total of $65,000+ raised and counting!

Many thanks to the following for their commitment and hard work in preparation for this year’s unique event: Board Chair Howard Lichtig, Special Events Chair Erin Ploucha, Larry Benders, Shameka Elliott, Jeff Getts, Marcia Houston, Alicia Howerton, Kevin Krencisz, Haley Marblestone, Melissa Mauk, Tom Sawyer, Megan Sigler, Melanie Sliman, Marty Stefka, Taylor Volrich, Glenn Wickline and Steve Frohwerk.

Halloween at Highbrook is This Weekend…Now a Virtual Activity!

-Unfortunately, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in both Cuyahoga and Geauga Counties, Halloween at Highbrook – originally scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday at Highbrook Lodge – is cancelled. The in-person event is being replaced with a series of virtual activities, listed below. ALL adults are welcome (including both those who signed up for the original event AND those who did not)!

For any questions/comments/concerns or information about tuning into the programs, call or email Bobbie Szabo at 216-658-4597 or

Saturday, October 31st schedule:

10am—War of the Worlds Old Time Radio broadcast (we will be listening to the radio show War of the Worlds)

12pm—Holiday Trivia (we will test our smarts to see if we can answer questions about different holidays!)

2pm—Write a Spooky Story (we will write a Halloween-themed story together)

4pm—Halloween Dance (we will listen to Halloween music, dance, and sing)

6pm—BONDfire (we will sing camp songs and tell spooky stories)

Sunday, November 1st schedule:

10am—Halloween Craft (we will make an easy Halloween craft together with materials you can find in your home)

12pm—Escape Room (together we will answer clues to get ourselves out of a pickle)

2pm—Poetry (together we will write two poems)

4pm—Movie (we will play an audio described Halloween movie)

6pm—Talent Show (participants will have the opportunity to show off their skills!)

What’s Happening at CSC:

-Dr. Kevin, a resident at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, shadowed Dr. Lidija Balciunas in the Low Vision Clinic this week. In addition, Alicia Howerton gave him a tour of the agency. They discussed the Independent Living program and Barbara Piascik showcased the Eyedea Shop and how OCR and CCTVs can aid someone with vision loss in so many ways. Dr. Kevin will be back in March for a second round of shadowing during his current rotation.

-The mother of a teenage client recently shared this feedback with the Leisure and Lifestyle Services team at CSC: “I am truly thankful that you [the Sight Center] are being so creative and intentional about keeping kids & clients engaged through all of this. It DOES make a difference.” The team continues to work hard and provide opportunities for clients. Great job, team!

-A group of volunteers consisting of a few regular CSC volunteers and some volunteers from Case Western Reserve University got together to write thank you letters for the support offered by CSC’s donors on Friday, October 23rd. Special thanks to Ralph Johnson and Tony Becker for popping in to say thank you to volunteers!

A reflection from Development Manager Haley Marblestone on the importance of the activity:

“People that donate to The Sight Center enable Cleveland Sight Center to do what we are best at – engage, employ, empower, and educate people who are blind or visually impaired in Northeast Ohio. Without donors, we may not be able to have a camp as successful as Highbrook Lodge, or have a preschool that sets young kids with disabilities up for success, or have specialized staff that teach seniors how to remain independent in their homes. Just like you, volunteers, donors are the lifeblood of our organization. And, we need to show them how much their gift makes a difference. A typed letter can only do so much. But, when someone takes the time to write a handwritten note, especially for you? It puts a smile on your face; it reminds you why you give and encourages you to give again and again. What you are doing today will help us build relationships with our donors and show them how meaningful their gift is to us. Thank you so much for participating in this project!”

-The Volunteer Engagement Team met for the second time on Thursday, October 21st and developed a mission statement and vision statement for the group.

Mission Statement: The mission of CSC’s Volunteer Engagement Team is to welcome, support, and engage all volunteers and volunteer programs at Cleveland Sight Center and to empower those who are blind or low vision in our community.  

Vision Statement: We seek to enact our mission by providing a voice and creating an enriching and diverse community for CSC volunteers.

CSC is really looking forward to the enrichment that this team will bring!

-Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. What it is that you are thankful for? As we near the season of giving thanks, Melissa Mauk invites you to share something you are grateful for. This could be anything; the crunch of the fall leaves…the progress of a client…your family or friends outside of work or outside of volunteering. Responses to thankful entries will be accepted through the week of November 23rd (just before Thanksgiving) and will be shared with the CSC community in a variety of ways, including emails to volunteers, published in In the Know, displayed on the welcome board in the lobby or shared on social media. Click here to write a quick e-mail and share something you are thankful for today!  

-Remember the Eyedea Shop is open to the public Monday through Friday and the store’s new hours are 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Appointments are not necessary to visit the store but there are occupancy maximums in place to ensure physical distancing in the area.

-Students in Bright Futures Preschool wrapped up a fun Halloween Week. Everyone – children, siblings, parents, grandparents and Lead Preschool Teacher Mrs. Tomaszewska – all enjoyed games, spooky stories, funny songs and costumes. On Thursday, everyone participated in a virtual Trick-or-Treat. Students received treat bags with some candies, chips and other sweet goodies, a board book, a flashlight, a mini pumpkin and a craft in it. In addition, thanks to Manager of Volunteer Services Melissa Mauk and Recreation Specialist Bobbie Szabo, the children received big pumpkins that were delivered by Preschool Teacher Melissa Kraus to their homes. Halloween is definitely different this year but still so much fun!

-CSC’s Outreach team, Alicia Howerton and Tom Sawyer, are scheduled for radio and cable television virtual appearances in early November to talk about Cleveland Sight Center. Does your department have interesting information to share? Maybe what’s new or what you’re currently doing differently in your respective departments? Perhaps a new funding for specific programs and services or anything that might help them to tell a better, more accurate CSC story of what and how we help people. Please pass along any updates or information to them by Wednesday, November 4th as they prepare talking points.

Additionally, they would be delighted to attend any upcoming department meetings to check in with you and your teams several times a year or as the scope and direction of the department changes throughout the year. Keep them up to date on what’s happening so they can tell perspective clients about it!

-The Leisure and Lifestyle Services Department is excited to present the November recreation schedule. Note there are activities held weekly as well as additional one-time programs.

November Recreation Schedule

Weekly Activities:

Monday           9am Meditation/Stretching (no meeting Nov. 2nd)

                        1pm Poetry (Sign-up Only)

                        3pm Trivia League


Tuesday          11am Ballroom Dance (bi-weekly)(Nov 3rd and 17th)

                        1pm Meditation

                        5pm Yoga


Wednesday    10am Coffee Chat

                        2pm Improv Games (bi-weekly)(Nov. 4th and 18th)


Thursday         12pm Activities Vary (no meeting on Thanksgiving)

                        2pm Line Dance OR Jam Session   

                        (Alternate weeks: Line Dance on Nov. 5th and 19th , Jam Session on Nov. 12th, no meeting on Thanksgiving)


Friday               2pm Fun Friday (no meeting Nov. 27th)


Additional Activities:

November 10th       12pm             Book Discussion (Sign-up Only)

November 10th       6:30pm         Music Group (Sign-Up Only)

November 11th       6pm               Sing It Out

November 12th       12pm             Virtual Winner’s Club featuring Author Annie Hogsett

November 18th       6pm               Sing It Out 2

November 20th       7pm               Thanksgiving Party

For any questions/comments/concerns or information about tuning into the programs, call or email Bobbie Szabo at 216-658-4597 or

RTA Offering Free Rides on Tuesday, November 3rd:

-The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will provide free fares for all riders on Election Day, marking a first for the transit agency.

Free rides - available all day for all modes of transit, including bus, rail and paratransit - are being sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation, which provided a $75,000 grant that covers the full cost of the program.

All riders should wear masks while waiting at bus stops and rail stations, and while riding all RTA vehicles.

Paratransit riders are asked to schedule rides well in advance of Nov. 3.

For more information, click here.

Items of Note:

-The white cane. A mobility tool that so many people who are blind or visually impaired use on a regular or even daily basis. If somehow a cane could tell a story from its perspective, what would it say? Check out this short feature film – about 2 and a half minutes – on a white cane titled “A Cane’s Perspective”. For the video, click here.

Did You Know?

-Starburst candies were originally called Opal Fruits when they launched in the United Kingdom. The candy changed its name to Starburst when it came to the United States in 1967 and the original flavors were lemon, lime, orange and strawberry.