Dining in the Dark offers unique three-course menu

Guests at the 2022 Dining in the Dark event enjoy their meal.

CBA Vision Rehabilitation Services will celebrate the agency’s 11th Dining in the Dark event on Friday, April 21 at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron.

“This year the hotel has set aside a block of rooms at a discount for our guests to extend their evening into the weekend,” says Joni Blackman, executive director.

Dining in the Dark is a unique experience of eating without seeing. Starting at 5:30 p.m., guests are invited to socialize, enjoy a cash bar, and bid on silent auction items. Dinner seating begins at 6 p.m. where each guest will be blindfolded prior to being led by a sighted guide to their table to enjoy a three-course meal.

CBA partners with Jamestown Community College’s Occupational Therapy department and SUNY Fredonia’s Pre-Health Professions Club to teach the students how to support and work with visually impaired individuals.

They then provide guidance for the guests at the dinner tables and throughout the evening. Guests are encouraged to wear their masks until dessert is served. “There is always great conversation once guests take their masks off and realize where they are, and what they were eating,” said Megan Maynard, President, CBA Vision Rehabilitation Services Board of Directors.

The event is a fundraiser for the youth vision screening program. “CBA Vision Rehabilitation has been providing free vision screenings throughout Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties for over 40 years,” Blackman said.

Pediatric vision screening is intended to identify children with vision disorders including amblyopia, strabismus, significant refractive error, or other eye abnormalities. “Historically we have found that 14%-16% of the children we screen are identified with a vision abnormality, however because of increased electronic device screen time over the past couple of years, the referral rate is around 18%,” added Blackman, “that means of the 4,387 children screened in 2022, 770 needed to see an eye doctor.”

After a child is identified as needing further follow-up, the school nurse or teacher notifies the parents recommending a visit to an eye care professional for a comprehensive exam. To help ensure that follow-up treatment is received CBA created the Sight for Success Program in 2019. Following the untimely death of Dr. Timothy Grace, many individuals made donations and memorials in Dr. Grace’s name, asking that their donations reflect his passion for improving the eye health of our community. The perfect partnership was formed by combining Dr. Grace’s vision of eye health and CBA’s Sight for Success Program to be named the Dr. Timothy Grace Sight for Success Program.

“Please join us for a one-of-a-kind sensory adventure,” said Maynard, “you will have a dining experience without the use of your sight. Sighted guides will teach you how to navigate the meal.

This event has been well received and supported by the community. It has supported our Youth Vision Screening Program for the past ten years and provided funds to screen over 31,000 children.”

Reservations are $65 per person and include a 3-course meal. Reservations are appreciated by Tuesday, April 11 and can be made online at cbavision.org, or by calling 716-664-6660.

Dining in the Dark offers community partners and businesses a great way to support CBA while receiving exceptional visibility and recognition. Businesses showing their support for this event are Wegmans, Novel Destination Used Book Emporium, Stone Audiology, Seneca Resorts & Casinos, Chautauqua Eye Care, Spectrum Eyecare, Slone Melhuish & Co., Cattaraugus County Bank, Lind Funeral Home, Inc., American Eye Care Optometric Centers, and Michael Lahood, M.D. PC.’

Sponsorships are available to fit any budget and include dinner reservations. Program listings are available for $100. For sponsorship information, call Blackman at 716-664-6660. The sponsorship deadline is April 1.

Donations for the silent auction are appreciated and can be dropped off up until the day of the event at CBA Vision Rehabilitation, located at 510 W. 5th Street, Jamestown, NY.

If you are unable to attend but would like to support the mission of CBA Vision Rehabilitation, a tax-deductible donation can be made online at cbavision.org or by sending a check to CBA, 510 W. 5th Street, Jamestown, NY.

For more information about CBA Vision Rehabilitation or to learn more about upcoming events, visit cbavision.org or call 716-664-6660. CBA Vision Rehabilitation is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit charitable organization. CBA Vision Rehabilitation is a United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and United Way of Northern Chautauqua County Community Partner.


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