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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

The Iris Network - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

The Iris Network
189 Park Avenue
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 774-6273 (Local)
(207) 774-0679 (Fax)
(800) 715-0097 (Toll-Free)
(800) 715-0097 (TDD/TTY)
info@theiris.org
http://www.theiris.org

Brief Description

The Iris Network is a statewide resource and catalyst for people who are visually impaired or blind so they can attain their determined level of independence and integration into the community. It is the only statewide nonprofit that provides an integrated program of vision rehabilitation, technology training and employment services. Our clients currently range in age from 14 to their 90s. The Iris Network Mission: Helping people who are visually impaired or blind attain independence and community integration. Our Vision: Building a world where no person is limited by visual impairment or blindness and everyone is an advocate for eye health and the needs of people who are blind and visually impaired. Services include Low Vision, Orientation and Mobility, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, Social Work, Counseling, Family Support, Community Connections, Technology, Employment and limited housing services and support through the Iris Park Apartments.

Hours of operation: Mon.- Fri. 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Clients served on average per year: 1,300
Number of staff: 40
Staff description: Staff include: Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Certified Low Vision Therapist, Employment Specialist, Assistive Technology Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Recreational Therapist, and Mental Health Therapist, along with an Occupational Therapist, Ophthalmologist, and Optometrist.
Geographic area served: State of Maine
Publications: The Iris Network produces a quarterly newsletter, an annual report, and a variety of brochures about its services. Bert Silverman's "Coping with Macular Degeneration" is also available for sale through the Iris Network.

Locations

189 Park Ave
Portland, ME 04102

201 Park Ave
Portland, ME 04102

Staff

Sherry Boothby, Low Vision Clinic Coordinator, (207) 774-6273 3326, sboothby@theiris.org
Rabih Dow, Director of Program Services, (207) 774-7463 3322, rdow@theiris.org
Joyce Earle, Admissions Coordinator, (207) 518-5015, jearle@theiris.org
Bonita Gouzie, Director of Access Technology and Employment Services, (207) 774-6273 3306, bgouzie@theiris.org
Samantha Green, North Team Lead, (207) 774-6273, sgreen@theiris.org
Fran Kelley, South Team Lead, (207) 774-6273, fkelley@theiris.org
Regal Naseef, Director of Development and Communication, (207) 518-5016, rnaseef@theiris.org
Lisa Rouelle, Residence Administrator, (207) 774-6273 3331, lrouelle@theiris.org
Aparna Shah, Human Resource Manager, (800) 715-0097, ashah@theiris.org
Stephen Trabold, Acting Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, (207) 518-5004, strabold@theiris.org

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • The Access Technology and Employment Services Program offers customized and class instruction to individuals with vision loss seeking employment, an expanding career and those who are interested in using access technology to participate more fully in life experiences.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Provides training in independent living and mobility for adults in their homes, school or work individually or on a group basis throughout the state of Maine.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Pre-vocational training - Provides intensive center-based services at a Rehabilitation Center in Portland, Maine, for adults, many of whom are newly blind or visually impaired, from across the country. Visitors stay at a historic dormitory near the Center.
  • Housing Services
    • Iris Park Apartments (IPA) offers a low income, independent living opportunity with supportive services such as light housekeeping, medication administration, one meal a day and a structured recreation program to eligible tenants; along with a supportive living community. Provides recreation services for residents and offers sports and recreation program for interested participants. Provides adapted recreation activities for seniors.
  • In-Home Services
    • Primary Vision Rehabilitation - Provides in-home services for adults, the majority of whom are senior citizens living in Maine, who are blind or visually impaired so they can remain independent and integrate into the community.
  • Information and Referral
    • Referrals may come from eye doctors, self-referrals or the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Professional clinicians in the Low Vision Clinic provide assessment and training in the use of low vision devices and techniques for maximizing use of residual vision.
  • Support Groups
    • The Dover Low Vision Group is a support group that meets on the first Friday of each month from 10:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. at the community center at Thayer Parkway, Dover-Foxcroft. Contact: Nancy at (207) 564-0036.

      The Gardiner, Augusta and Waterville Peer Mentoring and Support Group meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. on the main floor of the Augusta Maine General Hospital, Conference Room 3. For information, call Lynn at (207) 458-1362.

      Visually Impaired Persons Sharing, Rumford, Mexico areas. meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 10:30 at the Oxford Lanes Bowling Alley, Route 2, Rumford, followed by a lunch somewhere in the area. For information, call Phil Roberts (207) 562-8724.

      The Visually Impaired Support Team Alliance or VISTA, which originated in the Augusta area, meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm EST. For more information, contact Leona McKenna at (207) 333-7087.

      The Lewiston-Auburn Support Group meets from 12-1pm on the first Saturday of the month at George’s Pizza in Auburn. For more information, call Leon Proctor at (207) 212-1455.

      The Wells Support Group meets at the Wells Congregational Church, Post Road (US Route 1) on the first Thursday of the month (except July and August), from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. For information, call Brenda Bacon at (207) 646-7079.

      The Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) group meets at Boothbay Harbor on the first Tuesday of every month to the first Monday of every month from 1:00-2:30pm; and from St Andrews Village Retirement Community to the Saint Columbas Episcopal Church at 32 Emery Ln, Boothbay Harbor, Maine. For meeting times, contact Mollie Moore at (207) 633-3810 or Joan Stark at (207) 633-2498.

      A support group meets for people with low vision in the Bangor area in collaboration with Maine’s Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI). Meetings are at the Career Center on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 1-2:30pm. Family and friends are also invited. For information, contact Sue Summers at ssummers@theiris.org.

      The Sunshine Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 11:00 to 1:00 at the Lobster Trap on 25 Bay St. Winslow. For information, contact Betty Soule at the Sunshine Club or to participate at (207) 872-2967 or (207) 557-5181.

      The Rainbow Club meets on the second 2nd Monday of each month at the American Legion Post 205, 396 Eastern Ave. in Augusta. Lunch cost is $7.00. For information, contact Barbara Potter at (207) 622-3512.

Services for Professionals

  • Professional Training
    • Access Technology and Employment Services (ATES) is staffed by certified employment specialists and vocational rehabilitation counselors who assist with placement and support services to those seeking employment. The program also serves as a business resource to companies interested in hiring/retaining employees with visual impairment to help them make workplace accommodations.
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