Walking for Dreams – 2014

On Sunday, May 18th, Visually Impaired Preschool Services of Indiana will join 21 other Indiana non-profit organizations in the Walking for Dreams 5K Family & Pet Walk. Walking for Dreams started in 2004 to help local non-profit agencies that benefit children and families. The event is sponsored by the Sycamore Foundation whose mission is to help enhance area non-profits effectiveness throughout their communities.

If you remember, we walked a couple of years ago for the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation. I was impressed with the event and I loved the concept which is why I thought VIPS would be a perfect fit. It would help raise awareness that VIPS is here in Indiana which could mean more blind and visually impaired children would get the early intervention services they need. And what a fun way to take part in a fundraiser especially when all money raised at the event will go directly to VIPS.

People often write to me and ask how they can help Lola as well as my family–well here is your chance to support an organization that has had a profound impact on our lives. On behalf of VIPS, we have created Team Lola. We hope to raise money so VIPS can continue to provide critical early intervention services to young blind and visually impaired children like Lola.

Team Lola from a couple of years ago!

Team Lola from a couple of years ago!


Up until VIPS came into our lives, most of the information we knew about Lola’s vision impairment (cortical visual impairment) came from the internet.  First Steps (the State funded early intervention program) had a wide variety of physical therapists, occupational therapists and many more with amazing expertise but the one type of specialist we needed the most was the one they couldn’t provide.  We needed someone that could teach us about Lola’s vision.  We needed someone to help us understand why Lola did certain things she did (like why she never used her hands or why she never looked at us), someone to explain how to teach Lola and, how to help her navigate through the world without relying solely on her sight.

We needed someone to help us be better parents for Lola.

Imagine that your child is born and you don’t know how to care for them?  There is no book on how to raise a child with special needs.  I mean sure there are books, but none are specific to your kid.  You need help.  You need trained professionals.  Thankfully, VIPS came into our lives when I was beginning to feel the most discouraged.  Lola was a year old and I knew the most critical time in her development was occurring (birth to three) and yet I couldn’t provide her with something that should be readily available to families like mine–early intervention.

Finally, we found VIPS.

It was a two woman show back then (est.2011)–Rebecca Davis (amazing mama to Eliza who also has a vision impairment) and Annie Hughes (Teacher of the Visually Impaired extraordinaire).  We were family #31 to be served by VIPS in Indiana and now they have served over 100 families!  Imagine though–two women starting a chapter of an organization because there was no one else taking on the responsibility to help the blind babies and toddlers of Indiana.  I’m telling you, Indiana will forever be changing because of Rebecca and Ann.  We need to help them continue on with the momentum for years to come which is why I’m asking you for your help!

Lola and Miss Annie

Lola and Miss Annie

Help us give back to the organization that has given us so much. I wish I had all the money in the world so I didn’t have to ask for support, but maybe someday I’ll win that darn lottery!

How can you help?

I’m so glad you asked!

My amazing husband, Rob has created a flyer that has everything on it you would need to know. You can join Team Lola at the walk, you can start your own team, you can register to walk as an individual or you can simply give a donation. Help VIPS make this event a true success!!

Here is the flyer with all of the details:

If you’d like to donate, follow the link below:

Click on Meredith Howell to be sure your donations go to VIPS and Team Lola!

And have I mentioned yours truly will be starting a new position with VIPS come July and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of such a wonderful organization.  I’ll get to help families just like my own!