SARASOTA, FL – When Hurricane Ian roared through Florida, the storm left much devastation in its wake. While Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center was happy that its staff, volunteers and clients were safe, its building on north Tamiami Trail wasn’t so fortunate. The high winds caused damage that brought in a tremendous amount of rain, resulting in water crashing through the second-level floors and flooding its main floor.
The Lighthouse team was grateful to numerous community partners who offered space for its classes, which enabled the organization to continue supporting its clients with vision loss in the months following the storm. To assist Lighthouse for the longer-term, Goodwill Manasota has been pleased to provide free classroom space in the Community Room at its Mecca Goodwill location on the North Trail to provide training to maintain independence for people who are blind or who have visual impairments.
“In the wake of Hurricane Ian, it is our pleasure to be able to assist the Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center with a safe, comfortable space so that its important work can continue without interruption,” said Donn Githens, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “For more than two decades, Goodwill Manasota has been pleased to provide community spaces to meet the needs of specific areas, the residents who live there, and organizations that provide services that strengthen the community. We look forward to hosting Lighthouse staff and clients in the coming months!”
Additionally, the organizations have signed a lease on Goodwill’s Bayshore Gardens Parkway location for use as administrative office and additional meeting space. The lease runs through October, giving Lighthouse some time to repair its headquarters.
Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center CEO Lisa Howard notes that her organization has partnered with Goodwill in many ways over the decades, through the Lighthouse Employment Services and Young Adult programs.
“Given our history of collaboration, it was only natural that we would turn to Goodwill when our building was damaged during Hurricane Ian,” Howard said. “As usual, Goodwill stepped up to help so that our Adjustment to Vision Loss class and Assistive Technology training could continue. We are grateful for the support in our time of need!”
She notes that the lease at Bayshore Gardens Parkway will give Lighthouse time to repair and reimagine its building into a technology training center.
To learn more about Goodwill’s programs and services, visit experiencegoodwill.org.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.