Steven is Second Sense’s chief executive officer. He 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 be part of this incredible organization as the executive director. I am extremely impressed by the board and staff’s dedication to the mission. The staff treats each person’s needs individually, and that is one of the foundations of our 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 24 years.
Polly Abbott, CVRT, OMS
Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist
Polly is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. She meets with clients on an individual or small group basis at Second Sense or in the community. Polly works with clients in the areas of independent living skills and assistive technology. She also leads our RP Support Group and 1Touch training.
“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. This allows me to be very flexible and organic — without barriers of paperwork for clients to hop through. Our focus on building connections offers me the chance to connect my clients with other resources and other people. This enlarges the world that gets so much smaller when vision loss closes them in.”
Polly has been a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist for over 18 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 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. She coordinated Second Sense’s process to earn designation as a Service Enterprise organization — the first in Chicago.
Cody Froeter, CVRT
Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist
Cody Froeter is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. He 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. My position not only allows me to meet with clients at Second Sense, but also to travel out into the community. This allows 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.
Eleni Gaves, COMS
Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist
Eleni provides orientation and mobility training to our clients both at Second Sense and in their communities.
Eleni earned her Bachelors Degree in Orientation and Mobility from Western Michigan University.
Coordinator, Consumer Product Center
Brian works with clients 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.
Assistive Technology Instructor
Joe provides individual instruction on technology that can enhance the lives of our clients. He teaches screen-reading and screen-magnification software, as well as common applications, navigating the internet and using email. He also covers how to use the accessibility tools on smart phone and tablets.
Cheryl 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.