On Thursday, July 6th, staff and clients from the Association of the Visually Impaired staff joined invited guests to celebrate Claire Smiley’s 100th birthday, during the regular meeting of its Peer Support Group. Mrs. Smiley, who turned 100 on June 25th, is a regular attendee of AVI’s Social Educational Support Group, which meets the first and third Thursday of each month at 11 a.m. at the Promenade at Chestnut Ridge (Old Schoolhouse Road in Spring Valley).
Claire is a widow who is legally blind due to macular degeneration and glaucoma. She was originally from Montreal, where she worked as a bookkeeper and raised two children. For the past two years she has resided in New City, with her daughter Judy Heilpern.
To mark this special occasion, Town of Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann presented Claire with a Certificate of Merit; County Executive Ed Day was unable to attend, but Mr. Hoehmann presented a Certificate of Achievement on his behalf.
According to Executive Director Beth Bate-DuBoff, it is customary to acknowledge the birthdays of the Support Group members at the conclusion of the meeting. “Members look forward to their special cupcake,” she said. “Additionally, each October, the agency hosts a 90ies Plus luncheon, which is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. But 100 years of life is an incredible milestone. Her AVI family is honored to be able to celebrate it with her!”
The Social Educational Support group is free and open to the public; the objective of the group is to help adults of all ages to develop coping strategies to adapt to vision loss by providing peer support as well as access for community services which can improve their quality of life. The group, which is led by Social Worker Lois Pozsar, (with assistance from Lori Soto), features presentations regarding eye conditions/research, health, wellness, safety and invites presenters to conduct programs in the area of music, adaptive sports and games; with the assistance of volunteers, the group also plans outings to local restaurants. This program is made possible in part through grants from United Way of Rockland County and M&T Bank.
For more information on the Association for the Visually Impaired please call 845-574-4950