The Lighthouse was established as a not for profit agency in 1985 by a group people who themselves, were visually impaired. Together with the support of area eye specialists and community donors, these volunteers spent countless hours to secure funding and the 501(c) 3 status for the agency originally known as Mana-Sota Lighthouse for the Blind.
Starting small, the first classes were held in donated church space in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, with training provided by community volunteers. As the agency grew, the need to expand facilities emerged. In 1990, the board of directors authorized the purchase of a small office building located near the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport on North Tamiami Trail. While convenient to clients in both Manatee and Sarasota counties, the building needed significant structural changes in order to properly serve the blind and visually impaired community. To that end, the Lighthouse applied for and received a grant from the State of Florida allowing for the installation of an elevator and upgrades to both the interior and exterior of the building. Furniture was donated by the local Barnett Bank and volunteer drivers were enlisted to provide transportation to clients seeking services at the "new" Lighthouse of Manasota.
At that same time, the first paid Executive Director and university trained instructors were hired. Initially, the Independent Living Adult Program was the main course taught. Several years later, Orientation and Mobility training, the Summer Kids Camp, Early Intervention Blind Babies Program and Computer training with adaptive software were added to the overall client curriculum. With the expansion of the programs offered and new staff added, the Mana-Sota Lighthouse for the Blind adopted a new name, logo and byline, Lighthouse of Manasota -- Shining new light on living with vision loss to help increase community awareness.
Lighthouse of Manasota is the only nationally accredited, private, non-profit agency providing rehabilitation training to blind and visually impaired individuals of all ages residing in a five county region that includes Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, Charlotte and Highlands. The communities we serve include the cities of Sarasota, Bradenton, Palmetto, Ellenton, Osprey, Nokomis, Venice, Englewood, North Port, Arcadia, Sebring and Avon Park.
Our programs offer a holistic approach by providing training and rehabilitation to foster independence, productivity, and improved quality of life. Based in Sarasota, Florida, the Lighthouse provides free, professionally taught classes and sponsors support groups across five counties. Through interview and assessment, classes and resources are carefully chosen to provide each client with skills to live independently and with confidence to undertake activities. The Lighthouse offers education, support and motivation within an environment that is enriching for individuals with vision loss.
The Lighthouse of Manasota exists to advance the individual growth and independence of adults and children with vision loss. We are committed to extend our educational and training resources in the community and to promote advocacy of and for adults and children with vision loss.
The Lighthouse supports and participates in White Cane Day activities and Florida State Legislature's Annual Vision Summit. The Lighthouse is a member of the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind (FAASB). The Lighthouse promotes all efforts that support people who are blind or have limited vision.
We extend our education into the community through presentations, speaking engagements and mini-courses. Call the Lighthouse today for a presentation to your retirement community, church or civic group. Speakers are available by calling:
(941) 359-1404 or Toll Free 1 (877) 770-1404
The Lighthouse of Manasota is fully accredited by The National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC), and is a member of the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind (FSSAB). Funding is partially provided by the State of Florida Division of Blind Services. Additional funding required to meet the Lighthouse of Manasota's annual budget is provided through endowment funds, individual donations, corporate and foundation grants. Find out more about how you can help support the organization's important mission.
The Board of Directors advocates for high quality training and education for adults and children with vision loss. Each member is committed to expanding independent living and vocational opportunities for our clients.
Josh Kollman, President
Josh D. Kollman is Vice President of The Northern Trust Company responsible for Lending and Banking in Pinellas County.
Josh attended the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1998 with a BS degree in Business Administration majoring in Economics and Finance.
Josh lives with his wife Dana, a school teacher, and daughter Allison, in Sarasota, FL.
Robert Stroud, Vice President
Robert Stroud is a partner in the law firm Blalock Walters, P.A. and is based in the Firm's Sarasota office. Robert's practice encompasses the full range of corporate and real estate matters.
Robert has received the AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell. AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment and a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of ethical and professional excellence. He was selected as a 2010 "Rising Star" by Florida Super Lawyers magazine, a listing that includes no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in Florida. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida (B.S.B.A., Finance and Economics), 2001 and furthered his education at Stetson University College of Law (J.D., cum laude; Certificate of Concentration in Health Law), 2004.
Andy Reeves, Secretary/Treasurer
Andy Reeves is a career Banker starting in London, England with HKSBC before moving to Florida. He has spent the last 4 years with BB&T and recently became Manager of a new BB&T banking center on Fruitville Road in Sarasota, Florida.
Actively involved in the community, Andy has served as President of the Siesta Key Kiwanis, Sarasota British American Club, Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of the Venice Chamber of Commerce and served on the Advisory Board for Senior Friendship Center.
Living in Sarasota County, he is married to Jane, and they share their home with two dogs, four cats and a large number of other rescue animals.
Scott B. Han, O.D., Board Member
Dr. Han attended the University of Florida for his undergraduate studies before going on to earn his Doctor of Optometry from the New England College of Optometry in Boston. He completed an accredited residency in ocular disease in Maryland, and has served on numerous research teams conducting FDA clinical studies on dry eye syndrome and glaucoma. His unique skills contribute much to the high quality of care The Eye Associates is committed to providing for patients. Dr. Han's professional memberships include the American Optometric Association, the American Academy of Optometry and the International Academy of Sports Vision.
Dr. Han was raised in Tampa, Florida, and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and daughters.
Jared Hermann, Board Member
Jared Hermann is in his 13th year as a financial advisor. He started his career in 2001 at Merrill Lynch and joined Morgan Stanley in 2008. He is a principal of the Bassett, Vita, Vining & Hermann Group. Jared graduated from Liberty University with a bachelor's degree in Finance. He is a Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM and Chartered Retirement Plans SpecialistSM, specializing in wealth planning and asset protection strategies, longevity planning, corporate retirement plans and alternative investments.
Jared is actively involved in the community serving on the board for the Lighthouse of Manasota and the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch and is very active in his neighborhood's social committee. Jared is from Lawrence, Kansas and currently lives in Lakewood Ranch with his wife Aimee and three children: Makenna, Weston and Charleston LeRoux. His passion is fly-fishing and also enjoys basketball, golf, and tennis.
Josh Kitchner, Board Member
Josh Kitchner is the Senior Vice President of Kitchner & Pierro company, Inc. since 2005 and has been with the firm since 1995.
Josh has worked in the employee benefits consulting industry for over 15 years. Leader in customer relationships and in representing the group's best's interests, he holds valuable relationships with his clients in the community and explores innovative ways to customize the employers benefit needs and plan designs to optimize its clients budgets.
Josh served in the U.S. Navy for 5 years and is local to Sarasota, FL.
Lighthouse of Manasota | 7318 N Tamiami Trail | Sarasota, FL 34243 | (941) 359-1404