Robin Lonnevik moved to Wyoming from Washington State. Robin was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa while in her early twenties and her eyesight has progressively worsened. She is now legally blind and uses the assistance of a cane when walking and a magnifying glass for a limited view to read. Robin is a very strong and courageous woman, who previously started two successful businesses in the fishing industry in Washington and felt she had a knack for writing business plans and possibly for grant writing. Robin had an ultimate dream of giving back to her community, particularly the Blind, by opening a school for the Blind in Wyoming. Robin was aware that the state of Wyoming does not possess a localized facility that provides permanent and transitional housing along with educational and vocational training for their blind and visually impaired citizens. Robin intended to fix this and believed that she could make her vision a reality if she gained grant writing knowledge. She wanted to attend a grant writing workshop, in hopes of learning how to write a grant that would enable her to start up a school for the blind.
Not long after her move, there happened to be a grant writing workshop in Cheyenne. Vocational Rehabilitation paid for her travel expenses, a laptop computer and for the cost of tuition for the grant writing workshop. Robin was eager to attend and to learn as much as she could. When Robin returned she was full of new and valuable information and very pleased with what she had learned. While in Cheyenne, Robin became acquainted with local politicians, as well as State Representatives and Senators, and hopefully, these people will prove to be valuable connections in assisting her with her dream of building a school for the blind. Robin benefited from the use of Vocational Rehabilitation services. And now our community and the Blind residents of Wyoming are benefiting from her brilliance and goodness.By combining her knowledge about grants and her business experience, as well as her passion and devotion to helping others, Robin has already formed a Board of Directors for the Blind Campus. She also currently has an office downtown and a steady income. Robin is still applying for grants and holding fundraisers to achieve her ultimate goal. Robin plans to open a school by 2017.
The school campus would include housing, adaptive and alternative education, career counseling, vocational training, counseling and guidance to provide confidence and self-sufficiency. Robin's goals in the meantime include conducting annual fundraisers and securing funding through grants. She is also busy working on creating a resource center and crisis line for blind and visually impaired residents. She is in the process of offering pilot educational classes. She currently holds monthly activities, support group meetings and educational workshops. The educational workshops are free to the public and include instruction on Braille, sign language and the use of adaptive equipment. Additionally, Robin is applying for grants to fund transportation services for the Blind. Robin plans to have these things accomplished and groundbreaking for her school by 2018.
Robin benefited from the use of Vocational Rehabilitation services. And now our community and the Blind residents of Wyoming are benefiting from her brilliance and goodness. Robin currently serves on both the Independent Living Council and on the Governor's Wyoming Rehabilitation Council.