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OUR HISTORY

The Sight Center of Northwest Ohio has a distinguished history of service to persons throughout Northwest Ohio who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1923 as The Toledo Society for the Blind by members of the Lions Club, the Community Chest and the Chamber of Commerce, the organization has not strayed from its original commitment: that all individuals who are blind or visually impaired should have the opportunity to live life with dignity and self-respect.

Once a sheltered workshop for the blind, The Sight Center’s services have evolved to reflect society’s changing views of persons with disabilities as well as advances in technology. Today, The Center extends its reach of service and assistance over a 16-county area, serving an estimated 1,200 children and adults annually through a wide variety of services and programs.

History Timeline

1923

  • The Toledo Society for the Blind (TSB) organized.
  • Two rooms rented at 135 Huron.
  • Happy Times and Progressive Clubs organized.

1924

  • Became an affiliate of the Community Chest (United Way).

1925

  • Moved to Valentine Building.
  • Known people who were blind totaled 313.

1927

  • Toledo Society for the Blind incorporated.

1928

  • Moved to 718 Michigan.
  • Sheltered workshop activities designed to provide gainful employment to blind members of the community began.

1930

  • Workshop built at 718 Michigan.
  • TSB named distributor of Talking Books for Northwest Ohio. One of first 100 machines placed in the United States.

1937

  • House at 833 Michigan furnished for five residents. Project lasted eight years.

1956

  • New building at 1819 Canton made possible by private donations from individuals, Lions and Zonta Clubs.

1959

  • Christmas Card Sale began and ran for 33 years.

1966

  • “Operation Lazy Eye” launched to screen children’s eyes.

1967

  • Rehabilitation services began.

1968

  • Activities of Daily Living Apartment established.

1979

  • Receive accreditation by National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC).
  • “Sight Center” formally adopted; legal title remains Toledo Society for the Blind.

1982

  • Weekly radio program began at Scott High School.

1983

  • Reaccredited by NAC.

1984

  • Introduced the John Goerlich Distinguished Service Award.

1985

  • Agency leases sheltered workshop to Zepf Community Mental Health Service – MERIT Industries.

1986

  • First Capital Funds Campaign raised money for the front lobby elevator.

1987

  • Major renovation of building – accessible.
  • Reaccredited by NAC.

1989

  • SCAN, Sight Center Audio Network, inaugurated – ran 17 years.

1990

  • Introduced Iris Award for Volunteers.

1991

  • Jamie Farr Golf Classic beneficiary with establishment of an endowment for children‘s eyeglasses.

1992

  • Low Vision Clinic opens.

1996

  • Sight Center received its first funding through the Independent Living grant program.

2000

  • Sight Center formed a relationship with the Prevent Blindness Ohio (PBO) which established a Northwest Ohio chapter housed in the agency.
  • Agency also received its first funding through the Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio.

2003

  • Agency decreased its service delivery area from 23 counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan to 16 counties of Northwest Ohio.
  • Agency renamed “The Sight Center of Northwest Ohio.”

2004

  • The Sight Center launched the Building a Vision for the Future Capital Campaign to raise $1.65 million for the property purchase and construction of a new building.

2007

  • Moved into new building

2016

  • Opened The Shop at The Sight Center

BOARD CHAIRMAN HISTORY

From 1923 to the Present

  • Edward Evans
  • John Goerlich
  • William Marti
  • Gerald Hazel
  • James Hackley
  • Carson Dye
  • Tom Day
  • John Lewis
  • Doug Austin
  • Todd Hoyt
  • Douglas Austin
  • Tom Pigott
  • Sakui Malakpa
  • Tom Zraik
  • Cynthia Roepke, CFP
  • Bruce Davis
  • Jennifer Scroggs
  • Cathy Sheets