Dining in the Dark at a Distance!

Our Dining in the Dark at a Distance video – get situated and turn on this video for more instructions:

Check out the Online Silent Auction (closes at 10 p.m. 7/10/20).

About the Event

Our annual Dining in the Dark fundraiser brings together 250+ folks every year at our local reception hall for cocktails, a silent auction, and a sit-down dinner in the dark, served by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team.

In our current COVID world, we didn’t want to risk sickness with such a gathering (and we likely won’t be able to then, either). We’ve postponed our event once already, and instead of cancelling altogether, we’re trying something else…

Join New Vision and presenting sponsor Lake Eye Associates for Dining in the Dark at a distance!

Dining in the Dark at a Distance! text atop a white dinner plate. Lake Eye Associates, New Vision logos

Instead of dining in, we’re providing everything you need to have your own Dining in the Dark at home (or wherever you wanna gather with your party, but ya can’t stay here!). Our goal is to support our local economy by only using local vendors: this community has been good to us these past 15 years and we want to show our gratitude.

WHEN: July 10, 5 to 8 p.m. (you will be assigned to pick up!)

WHERE: 9501 US Hwy 441, Leesburg – the College Rd. parking lot of Lake Sumter State College

COST: $40 per person – ticket sales closed (thank you!)

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

Stations set up in the LSSC Leesburg parking lot for:

  • Appetizers to get us started, courtesy of our Appetizer Sponsor, Insight Credit Union
  • Dinner to go, catered by Mojo’s Leesburg
    • Option 1: chicken pepin with sautéed onions with black beans, yellow rice, and sweet plantains
    • Option 2: vegan quesadilla with tomatoes, avocado, corn, and black beans
  • Craft beer (one per guests over age 21 with valid ID, in a closed container, of course) from a local brewery Bru Tap
  • Dessert from Cuttin’ Dough, courtesy of our Dessert Sponsor, Advent Health Waterman

To give you a Dining in the Dark experience, we will provide blindfolds (don’t use while driving, please!) for you to wear while eating at home AND an online video to simulate being there (like helpful tips, a guest speaker, and corny jokes from our CEO). You’ll also get candy, courtesy of our Eye Candy Sponsors, Avalon Park Village and the Lake County Supervisor of Elections, and a beautiful printed program, printed by Litigation Solutions.

Our silent auction will be online (so please bid, even if you can’t make it)!
— Online Silent Auction is live now through July 10 at 10 p.m. Check it out!

We’ll also have our quintessential “Photo with the SWAT team” set-up for your party to get your photos taken, thanks to eSportsPhoto and our SWAT Photo Sponsor, Mortgage Financial Group.

Now Serving White Cane Coffee

White Cane Coffee logo

New Vision is partnering with White Cane Coffee to bring delicious, fair trade, organic coffee to Lake County.

Their small batch roasted, organic, single origin coffee ensures is “the best you can get in both taste and quality.”

White Cane Coffee was started by a 22-year-old woman named Erin who is blind and on the autism spectrum, as are her brothers. They started this company not only to deliver excellent coffee but to provide jobs to people with disabilities at a living wage.

Buy Yours Today!

NOTE: For Mother’s Day gifts, in-person deliveries will take place on Friday, May 8. Orders to be shipped should be submitted by 5/6/20 to help ensure it is received by Mother’s Day.

#CoronavirusCantStopUs

We started using this tag, #CoronavirusCantStopUs, on our Facebook posts lately as a reminder to our clients, supporters, and team that we continue to serve those who need us, albeit a little differently now.

"Improve, adapt, and overcome" -Clint Eastwood

It’s only been a month!

On March 16, we suspended in-person services for those considered “high risk.” We notified all clients and provided information for the Florida Dept. of Health’s COVID-19 information line. We moved our monthly support groups to a weekly, call-in group, providing resources, socialization, and love.

Two days later, we closed our office, ceased all in-person services, and our team began working remotely.

Over the next two weeks, we called all of our clients to check-in and assess needs. We began offering individual and group classes – in fact, in just those two weeks, we hosted 73 group meetings, totalling over 3,600 minutes, via conference call.We are now a month out and our services keep getting stronger. We have embraced technology and creativity in all our programs. While some services are on hold, we’ve discovered new ways to serve our clients and community.

Keep reading to learn more about what New Vision looks like now!

Help us maintain our services during this hard time. Please make a donation today – even $5 right now can brighten a dark day (learn how here). Donate now!

Thank you for reading – stay safe!

Chantel Buck, President/CEO

Click here to read more about what we’re doing!

Egg Hunt Re-Formatted

Our 5th annual Sensational Egg hunt may have been canceled 😷 so instead of our families bringing kids to our egg hunt, we’re bringing our egg hunt to our families!

We are assembling variations of most of our planned activities into a kit to be delivered to our families at least 3 days prior to Easter, plus Easter baskets for our kiddos and their siblings AND a custom note from Bob, the Easter bunny’s blind brother.

In this photo, New Vision's CEO Chantel Buck dons a mask and plastic gloves to test and sanitize beeping eggs for each family.
In this photo, New Vision’s CEO Chantel Buck dons a mask and plastic gloves to test and sanitize beeping eggs for each family.

Thank you sooooo much to our sponsors: Advocating 4 Kids, Tavares Lions Club, Lake Sumter Lions, Fruitland Park Lions, Golden Triangle Kiwanis, Kiwanis Club of Mount Dora, Leesburg Kiwanis Noon, Umatilla Kiwanis, South Lake Kiwanis, and Orange Blossom Gardens Lions.

COVID-19 Update

March 27, 2020: New Vision’s board of directors voted today to suspend in-person services and continue having employees/volunteers work from home until further notice. However, New Vision continues to deliver many services via phone/video conference for all ages. If you need assistance, please call our office at (352) 435-5040 and we will return your call.

March 19, 2020: Effective today, New Vision’s office will be closed through April 5. Our employees will work from home and conduct as many services as possible via phone/video conference.

March 14, 2020: To be abundantly cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Vision Board of Directors voted to enact the following safeguards to protect the vulnerable populations we serve:

++ Effective Monday, March 16, New Vision will be suspending in-person service to clients the CDC considers “high risk,” i.e. adults over 60 or individuals with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and more, thru April 5. Some services will happen via phone as applicable, and our office will still be open as we process applications for services and plan our programs.

++ We have increased our screening and sanitation procedures in accordance with our COVID-19 Mitigation Plan for all service delivery, group activities, and office procedures. Many activities will be postponed and/or altered to protect our guests.

Additionally, our support groups will occur via phone for the foreseeable future and we plan to hold them more frequently to support our New Vision family. Stay tuned for updated schedules.

From our family to yours, we wish you good health and lots of love!

text: "May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease."

Dining in the Dark 2020 is SOLD OUT!

**NOTE: Dining in the Dark 202 has been rescheduled to July 10. In the meantime, stay safe and well! We look forward to “seeing” you then!

New Vision for Independence and Lake Eye Associates invite you to “dine for a night without sight” at our annual Dining in the Dark event. Experience food, drink and conversation as you may never have before – without your sight. In this unique dining experience, you will eat dinner in total darkness. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, as part of a training exercise, will serve you while wearing night vision goggles. The 10th annual Dining in the Dark event is designed to raise awareness about blindness and raise funds for New Vision, our local non-profit serving people with low vision or blindness and their families in Lake and Sumter Counties and The Villages.

When: April 17, 2020 | Cocktails & silent auction 6:00 | Dining experience 7:15

Where: Lake Receptions, 4425 N. HWY 19A, Mount Dora

Presenting Sponsor:

Lake Eye loho

Cocktail Sponsor:

Comcast Business logo

SWAT Photo Sponsor:

Mortgage Financial Group logo

We are currently sold out for this event. Please email Shelly at sgerig@newvisionfl.org to be added to the wait list. Thank you!


In addition, New Vision hosts several unique special events throughout the year. Check out our Events page for more!

The Facts About Vision Loss

In Florida:

  • 490,120 Floridians are visually impaired or blind (Source: Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, 2013)
  • Florida is 2nd in the U.S. for visual impairment, macular degeneration, glaucoma, & cataracts; 3rd in the U.S. for diabetic retinopathy (Source: Prevent Blindness, 2012)

In Lake and Sumter Counties:

  • More than 13,000 Lake & Sumter residents are visually impaired or blind (Source: Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, 2013)

Effect of Vision Loss:

  • Americans believe that severe vision loss would negatively impact their lives more than HIV/AIDS, cancer, stroke, heart attack/disease, diabetes, and deafness (Source: American Foundation for the Blind, 2007)

Effect of Vision Rehabilitation:

  • Maintaining robust instrumental activities of daily living reduces mortality risk in those with uncorrectable vision loss. (Source: JAMA Network Journals, 2014)