Lighthouse’s Associate Board Celebrates 30th Anniversary

The year was 1986 and it had its share of noteworthy events.  Among them were the Super Bowl championship of the Chicago Bears; the “Hands Across America” campaign in which five million Americans literally held hands to promote peace and understanding; and the launching of the Oprah Winfrey Show into a national phenomenon.

On Chicago’s North Shore, another event took place that would alter the world in its own special way and in the process, help hundreds of individuals, particularly children, who are blind or visually impaired.

The Lighthouse’s Associate Board, made up of professional women from communities like Highland Park, Glencoe and Kenilworth, was born.

Its purpose was to raise funds and call attention to the agency’s mission of helping people who are blind, visually impaired and disabled lead more independent and fulfilling lives.

A major beneficiary of the board’s generosity has been The Lighthouse’s Birth-to-Three Early Intervention Program, which provides home-based developmental therapy and family support to infants and toddlers with vision loss or multiple disabilities.

“The Birth-to-Three program swooped into my sister’s and nephew’s life at a time when every day seemed overwhelming,” recalled Sally Higginson, Associate Board president.  Her nephew, Alan, who was born blind, was greatly helped by Birth-to-Three.  He went on to excel as an honors student and champion swimmer.
“Dr. Spock doesn’t offer a lot of guidance on how to raise a visually impaired or blind child,” she observed.  “Watching the direct impact this program had on Alan’s life, it was easy for me to join the Associate Board and assist its fundraising efforts so that other children like him could realize their potential.”

Ms. Higginson noted that 18 years later, the friendships she’s made are as important as the work she and the other ladies do. She added that extending the board’s mission to support The Lighthouse’s low-vision clinic in Glenview has been a natural way to reach out and serve additional families.

“I love this group of dedicated women. I love the ways that The Chicago Lighthouse improves lives. And it adds meaning to my life to be part of all of this!” she smiled.

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