My name is Ron Allen. I am an area manager for AT&T here in Atlanta. I am married with five children and I have been a volunteer for the Center for the Visually Impaired since 2002.
I guess I came to CVI, as many people do, because blindness had touched my family directly. As a young boy, I experienced the pain of finding out that my father was slowly losing his sight and that retinitis pigmentosa would eventually render him blind. My mother chose a trip to the grocery store as an opportunity to inform me. I remember being devastated at the news. It was like taking a blow to the stomach.
I was at the age that a father would normally be spending time with his son, throwing the baseball, or some other type of outdoor activity. It was hard to see my father, who was normally very active, slowly succumb to the disease. I watched his life change dramatically. The experience taught me first hand how blindness impacts, not only the particular person who has lost their sight, but friends and family as well.
When my company relocated to downtown Atlanta in 2002, I immediately volunteered every Friday’s lunch hour to CVI. My work with CVI includes recording books for audio tape. I’ve read every sort of book you can imagine, from text books, to medical books, to children’s books, to prayer books, to biographies of every sort. These books provide a library of many interesting subjects for those who have vision problems. It is most rewarding when a client of CVI specifically requests me to read a book for them. It personalizes it for me, and let’s me know first hand the importance of the work I am doing for CVI, and that client.
I also help people read their post office mail and pay their bills. This is a service provided by CVI that is very important to the clients. Most often they do not want siblings or family member to know their personal business. It is very important for them to remain independent citizens. I provide that helping hand that will keep their financial business confidential.
I have also helped clients fill out employment applications, resumes and read legal documents for clients who need assistance with divorces, property rights and child custody battles. Every Friday, after I finish my hour at CVI, I feel a high that is indescribable. I feel I have personally made a difference in people’s lives, at least for that day.
Do you volunteer? Looking for an opportunity to give back to your local community? Why not join Ron by volunteering at CVI. For more information call Lara Tillery, Volunteer Coordinator, at 404-875-9011, ext 4369. You can also check out our volunteer page on the CVI website.