Visually impaired make some noise at ForSight Vision

Alyssa Jackson
  • ForSight Vision attached pots and pans to a fence for visually impaired children to play with.
  • The children can use their auditory and tactile senses to have fun with the fence.
  • The fence was retiring president William Rhinesmith's "swan song."

Earlier in the day it had stormed, leaving the evening chilly, but the group of kids happily banging on pots and pans attached to a fence didn't seem to mind one bit.

ForSight Vision, a center devoted to providing services and programs to the visually impaired in York County, with the help of the Susquehanna Lions Club, built a fence to attach pots and pans to for visually impaired children to play with. ForSight Vision is located at 1380 Spahn Ave. in York. The fence is on the side of the building, running along Sunset Lane.

On Wednesday, several children who frequently participate in the events held by ForSight Vision helped attach the "instruments" to the fence.

After hanging the pots and pans, Tony Heath, a legally blind man who plays several instruments himself, was the conductor for the kids. He spent time teaching the kids about rhythm and helped them play some songs.

"With a visually impaired child, it's hard to do things that kids without visual impairments can do," Heath said. "Visually impaired people are mainly auditory people, so this is something we can take part in."

The fence: ForSight had spent the last week or so collecting donations from family and community members to make up the fence. It was during that time that the Susquehanna Lions Club built the fence. The club has a focus on helping local people with visual and hearing impairments, according to project coordinator Ken Heindel.

"I'm feeling proud to do this and help visually impaired people," Heindel said. "Any time we can help the community with things like this it makes you feel good."

The project is current president William Rhinesmith's "swan song," according to him. Rhinesmith will be retiring from ForSight Vision after 32 years with the center. Though he isn't yet certain when he will officially retire, he expects it to be in the next month or so. ForSight Vision will be leaving the fence up, so Rhinesmith looks forward to kids playing with the fence for years to come.

The center: Rhinesmith's wife, Marian Lorence, also is involved with the center. Lorence teaches a five-week children's art class in the fall and the spring. During the class, the parents congregate in a separate room to foster community among them, as well. Such community-building measures are why many parents get involved with ForSight Vision in the first place, ForSight officials said.

"It's very positive with a community and family-type atmosphere," said ForSight Vision board member Felicia Ramsey.

Ramsey is the mother of two girls, Kai and Naima Smith, who have albinism. "They feel at home when they come here," she said.

Ramsey and her daughters became involved with ForSight Vision eight years ago when they moved to Red Lion from Florida. Ramsey said the center has helped her daughter Naima become more outgoing and ultimately succeed in school.

Sean Giblin and wife Loren Hall have been bringing their daughter Vivienne Giblin to ForSight Vision events for a little over three years. Vivienne is completely blind in her left eye and partially blind in her right.

"It's been a great program to meet and interact with other visually impaired children," Sean Giblin said. Hall later added that the family will miss Rhinesmith after his retirement.

"I have mixed feelings," Rhinesmith said about leaving. "I've been here 32 years, so there's a lot I'll miss. I love working with the kids. I love watching them grow up and get bigger."