INSIGHT is creating a new Client Services program with the goal of increasing the independence of people living with vision loss by improving the agency’s system for connecting people to the services they need.
Lucille Gaboriault, who has served as the agency’s Director of Community Resources for the past thirteen years, will lead the new team as the Director of Client Services.
Doreen Holmes, a longtime INSIGHT client and Yoga instructor, will be joining the staff as a part-time Client Outreach Coordinator.
INSIGHT Executive Director Christopher Butler says that the new program is designed to build stronger relationships with clients in order to better connect them to services.
“Very often when people are referred to INSIGHT they have no idea who we are, what we do, what their goals are, and in a lot of cases whether they even need our services at all. The majority of folks, however, will agree to a low vision evaluation, but that is really only a small part of what we have to offer,” Butler says.
The problem, according to Butler, is that it’s typically after the low vision process ends that people may start to realize all that they are missing. At that point though they often will not reach back out to INSIGHT for additional help because they either think that they don’t qualify for additional services or because they just don’t know what’s available.
That was the experience that Doreen said that she had when she was first diagnosed with macular degeneration.
“I initially got referred for services and people came out to my home to identify ways to make it more accessible and showed me how to use a magnifier,” she says. “That was great and very helpful, but after that there was nothing. I was still struggling to adapt to my loss of vision and I did not know where to turn. Luckily my eye doctor kept mentioning INSIGHT and eventually I went to a support group meeting and from there became comfortable enough over time to engage in other services.”
“Since then I have met so many great people and learned so many new things. I think there are probably a lot of people out there who are like I was, struggling with what to do next. I am excited to reach out to them and help guide them towards free services that can make their lives better.”
Butler says that both Lucille and Doreen have very positive and welcoming personalities. That, along with Doreen’s firsthand experience with vision loss, in his opinion, makes them the perfect team.
“Our theory is that if we can connect with clients on a regular basis, over a period of time they may develop a higher level of comfort with the agency and be more willing to connect to the services they feel that they need,” Butler said.
The new Client Services department will oversee programs that already exist such as free weekly Yoga classes, the monthly Book Club, small group workshops on a variety of independent living topics, the INSIGHT Radio Reading Service, and a small handful of recreational trips each year.
There are also plans to launch new initiatives including frequent outreach to clients over the phone and through in home visits to educate them about available services and to get them connected to the one’s they want, assistance for clients who are navigating the process of registering for non-INSIGHT services such as Talking Books and RIDE, support and education programs for sighted family members and friends, and additional opportunities for people to connect with each other for peer learning and support.