Penticton woman Irene Warlow is one a handful of visually-impaired people  in the South Okanagan who are seeking to be buddied up with a volunteer who can lend them their eyes for just a couple hours a week.

Penticton woman Irene Warlow is one a handful of visually-impaired people in the South Okanagan who are seeking to be buddied up with a volunteer who can lend them their eyes for just a couple hours a week.

Visionary volunteers sought in South Okanagan

CNIB needs help with program that buddies up sight-impaired clients with able-eyed helpers for activities like grocery shopping or walking

Some kind-hearted volunteers are being sought to lend their eyes and their time to help others.

The Vision Mates program, operated by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, pairs up volunteers with sight-impaired clients for whom an extra set of eyes can come in handy.

A handful of helpers is needed in the South Okanagan, where a few people like Irene Warlow have been waiting for over a year to be matched up. And it’s not like she’s asking for much: “just to go for a walk.”

“I’ve kind of lost my confidence over the years,” said Warlow. “Penticton is not a very good place to be walking if you can’t see very well, because (drivers) just don’t want to stop for you.”

The 77-year-old, who was born visually-impaired, lives on her own and has three daughters in Penticton who help her with day-to-day tasks like grocery shopping, but she’d like to find someone with whom she can just stroll and socialize.

That’s a pretty typical request, said Carrie Broughton, the CNIB’s volunteer co-ordinator for the Southern Interior.

Other clients have requested help with reading or grocery shopping, while another recently asked to be hooked up with a volunteer who would go tandem bicycling with her.

“That was a pretty specific requirement and would require (a volunteer) who’s into a more physical lifestyle,” Broughton said.

Vision Mates volunteers must undergo a fairly rigorous screening process that includes an interview, plus reference and criminal-record checks.

“It has to be that way because of the population we’re serving,” Broughton said.

Those volunteers who are approved for service then receive some in-person training before being paired up with a client whose needs or interests match their own.

“It really can change their lives so dramatically,” Broughton said, “just that few hours a week.”

Volunteer applications can be found at www.cnib.ca. For more information check the website or contact Broughton at 250-763-1191, or carrie.broughton@cnib.ca.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Keremeos Grist Mill and Gards is preparing for another season of their Pantry Share program, distributing monthly packages with preserves like the one taken in the photo above. (Grist Mill Facebook)
Shares in heritage community garden program go on sale

The Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos is bringing back its Pantry Share for 2021

Expect cold weather and snow over the weekend. (Submitted photo)
Prepare for subzero weekend in South Okanagan

Expect some snow to start falling Saturday night and into Sunday

Skaha Middle School
Arrest made in indecent acts near Penticton schools

A 32-year-old man was arrested and released on strict conditions, say police

Flooding has become a reality for many communities in the Okanagan Valley as the region faces more extreme weather storms, blamed on the impact of climate change. (File photo)
Okanagan high target for spring flooding

Higher snowpack and mild winter precipitation levels raise concerns for Canada’s insurance industry

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)
North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swan and eagle numbers

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

Lake Country firefighters helped deliver a healthy newborn baby Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Pixabay)
Lake Country firefighters help deliver baby boy

Firefighters from the Winfield hall assisted with the birth of a healthy newborn Thursday morning

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read