The Crusader Newspaper Group

Collaboration brings holiday cheer to the Blind Social Center

Vision-impaired veterans received holiday cheer as a result of a two-year partnership between two community service programs. The United Way of Porter County AmeriCorps program teamed with the Blind Social Center in Gary, Indiana, to create holiday cards for veterans.  “This is a great way for individuals to give back to their community through service,” said Kim Olesker, president and CEO of United Way of Porter County. AmeriCorps members donated their time and excitedly created festive cards that were later imprinted with Braille by the Blind Social Center volunteers.

The cards were delivered in time for the Blind Social Center’s Christmas Party. AmeriCorps Program Director Maddie Grimm enjoyed attending the holiday party and was honored that Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was supportive of the partnership. “We are excited to host this every year,” Grimm adds. AmeriCorps members will continue to serve the Blind Social Center as part of its Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day activity by painting their center on January 23rd.

United Way of Porter County strives to lead community collaboration, unite residents and inspire action to improve lives in Porter County. In 2017, United Way of Porter County provided more than $2.3 million in community support [to improve lives of area residents. Annually, they connect more than 8,000 individuals to community projects through programs such as United Way Day of Caring, Power of Youth, Young Leaders United, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, AmeriCorps, RSVP, Reading Buddies and the United Way Regional Volunteer Center. To learn more, visit or follow us onFacebook and Twitter.

AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service throughout the United States and its territories. Other service programs include Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund and the United We Serve initiative.  This program is available to all, without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, political affiliation or religion. For more information, visit

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