Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss
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Staff


Steven ZelnerSteven Zelner
Executive Director

Steven is Second Sense’s chief executive officer and oversees Second Sense’s programs, fundraising and administration with a goal of providing superior services to as many people with vision loss as possible.

“I am privileged to join this incredible organization as the executive director. When meeting the staff and many of the Board Members during the interview process, I was extremely impressed by their dedication to the mission.  The staff treats each person’s needs individually, and I believe that is one of the foundations of the organization’s success.  I am honored to be a part of this wonderful staff of dedicated professionals.”

Steven earned his degree from Syracuse University and has worked in the non-profit sector for nearly 22 years.

 

Polly Abbott, CVRT, OMS
Director of Rehabilitation Services

Polly is the Director of Rehabilitation Services. She oversees all of service programs as well as managing and instructing in the Independent Living Services department.

“I love being able to respond to individual needs to help someone become more independent or more confident about what they are doing.  Our service model allows me to work with my clients over time and as their needs change in a way that is very flexible and organic—without barriers of paperwork for them to hop through.  Our focus on building connections offers me the chance to connect my clients with other resources and other people to enlarge the world that gets so much smaller when vision loss closes them in.”

Polly has been a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist for over 16 years and also has her qualification as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. She received the 2016 Elizabeth Lennon Meritorious Achievement Award from AER (Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) International for her contributions to the field of vision rehabilitation and the Excellence in Rehabilitation Award in 2010 from the Illinois chapter of AER.

 

Kathy AustinKathy Austin, CVA
Community Engagement Specialist

Kathy coordinates the marketing and community outreach for Second Sense services and assists in program development. She is the editor of our monthly client newsletter, Making Sense. As volunteer coordinator, she oversees over 35 Second Sense volunteers who assist in the delivery of Second Sense programs and services.

“It is tremendously rewarding to me to reach out to someone who is coming to grips with their vision loss and to be able to provide the support and encouragement that is sometimes hard to find.”

Kathy earned her Certification in Volunteer Administration in 2014. Kathy coordinated Second Sense’s process to earn designation as a Service Enterprise organization — the first in Chicago.

 

Rachael Eshbach, COMSRachael Eschbach, COMS
Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist

Rachael provides orientation and mobility training to our clients both at Second Sense and in their communities.

“I love teaching Orientation and Mobility. I enjoy that every single day in my job is different; different environments, different people, and different challenges. Instructing my clients in ways that they can overcome those challenges is very rewarding.”

Rachael is originally from Elmhurst. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Orientation and Mobility from Stephen F. Austin State University with a minor in Spanish. Rachael comes to Second Sense from Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind with over five years of experience teaching O&M all around the country (Texas, Colorado, South Carolina and Washington, DC). Four of those years include providing instruction in Spanish.

 

Cody Froeter, CVRTCody Froeter, CVRT
Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist

Cody Froeter is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. Cody meets with clients on an individual or small group basis at Second Sense or in the community. Cody works with clients in the areas of independent living skills and assistive technology.

“I truly enjoy the opportunities Second Sense has granted me to work with clients. I find it very rewarding to work collaboratively with clients to develop the skills they need to enjoy independence. The nature of my position not only allows me to meet with clients at Second Sense, but also allows me to travel out into the community to meet with clients; allowing me to meet my clients’ needs in the most effective means possible.”

Cody earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Monmouth College, a Master’s degree in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, and received his certification in 2016.

 

Adaptive Technology Manager David FlamentDavid Flament, M.S.
Manager of Adaptive Technology Services

David is the lead instructor for all Second Sense’s training classes and workshops on adaptive technology.

“I love technology and want to share my passion — working with our clients is the most rewarding part of my job.”  David’s teaching philosophy follows an old Chinese proverb: “Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.” He will do his best to help students understand the materials and he expects them to do their best to learn.

David has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Northeastern Illinois University.

 

Product Center Coordinator Brian HollandsworthBrian Hollandsworth
Coordinator, Consumer Product Center 

Brian works with our members who come in to learn about the daily living aids that are available to help make their lives easier.  He first came to Second Sense to hear about our services and then began volunteering in the product center and our accounting department.

“I didn’t choose this career, it chose me.  After I had volunteered for about six months I was offered a full-time position — a life-changing job opportunity.”

Brian loves working with all the seniors who come in to Second Sense — offering support, understanding their frustration and helping them feel better about their vision loss.

 

Director of Development and Communications Cheryl MegurdichianCheryl Megurdichian, CFRE
Director of Development and Communications

Cheryl oversees the fund-raising and communications for Second Sense.  She enjoys matching the needs of our members with our donors’ desire to make the world a better place.

“Second Sense’s size allows me to have many opportunities I would miss at a larger organization.  I not only get to know the donors, I get to interact with all the great people we serve.  So I can see the impact of my work on a daily basis — there is nothing more rewarding than that.”

Cheryl is a Certified Fund-Raising Executive, earning this designation from CFRE International in 2005.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing Communication from DePaul University and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University.