The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind held its 8th Annual Dinng in the Dark on Friday, October 13, 2023, at the Heritage Pines Country Club in Hudson. Guests experienced an interactive reception where they wore blindfolds while doing different activities at various stations. They also enjoyed a performance provided by The Two Tenors of Tampa Bay and a speech by Rhonda Warren, Lighthouse’s newest board member.
Rhonda, who is also a Lighthouse client, explained how life was as she became a visually impaired person—from learning how to live independently to being looked over by paid drivers because she travels with a guide dog. She spoke about isolation and disappointment, and then developing confidence and independence at the Lighthouse. Her lasting message was and is that being visually impaired is not the end, but a beginning.
The main feature of Dining in the Dark was the interactive stations. At the dining station, blindfolded guests tried to decipher their food using their sense of touch, smell, and taste. At the technology station, they were given simulator glasses so they could try to read printed material using a video magnifier and they watched a demonstration of a person who is blind navigating an iPhone using access technology.
At the production and the craft stations, guests tried to pack batteries into boxes and make pumpkin crafts. But the most compelling activity was wearing a blindfold while walking with a white cane with one of Lighthouse’s Orientation and Mobility instructors. Guests felt a range of emotions, such as excitement and fear while using a white cane and some said it was not for the faint of heart. All were glad to have taken the leap to learn about vision impairment.
Proceeds from Dining in the Dark are used to help the Lighthouse meet the need for programs and services provided to our clients and their families. Our sponsors included Publix Super Markets Charities, Roe Insurance, and Windsong Charters and Boat Rentals. In addition to sponsorships, funds were raised through ticket sales, a 50/50 chance drawing, and a Silent Auction. Volunteers and supporters included members of the Rotary Club of West Pasco Sunset, Rotary Club of Spring Hill, and J. David Wright (Photos by J. David).
This October, the Lighthouse celebrates its 40th Anniversary. Lighthouse began serving babies and seniors in Pasco County in 1983, and now serves clients of all ages residing in Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus. The mission of the Lighthouse is to educate, empower, and employ people who are visually impaired and blind. For more information about the Lighthouse or Dining in the Dark, please visit lvib.org. To see more Dining in the Dark photos, visit https://photos.app.goo.gl/XCKb9vU5Bgzoz4mGA.
What a surprise
“Even the most discerning dinner could not always tell the difference between a grape and a tomato.” The photo is of a surprised Kipper Connell at the Dining Station at Lighthouse’s Dining in the Dark.
Photo courtesy of Matt Anselmo.
Theresa and a guest wearing simulator glasses.
Theresa Santana, LVIB Assistive Technology Instructor, provides a vision simulation experience and technology training to Amber Ashford at Lighthouse’s Dining in the Dark.
Photo courtesy of J. David Photos.