WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has announced VISIONS Executive Director and CEO Nancy D. Miller will receive its Lifetime Achievement Award for her decades of work helping thousands of people in New York who are blind or visually impaired live active, independent lives.
“Ms. Miller is a powerful social worker and advocate who has shown the public that people who are blind or visually impaired can make tremendous contributions to our society,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “She has also been an advocate for members of this community, ensuring that they get the services they need to live fulfilled lives.”
Miller, LMSW, has led VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, for 35 years. The nonprofit organization, which has more than a hundred employees and $10.7 million budget, provides programs to more than 7,000 children, youth, adults, and older adults living with vision loss and their families in New York City, Long Island, Rockland County, and the Lower Hudson Valley.
Miller is known for designing, implementing, and sustaining innovative and cost-effective programs for people who are blind, including after-school programs for young people; exercise and healthy living programs for older adults; and camping services for families who have children who are blind or visually impaired.
Miller advocated for competitive, paid employment programs for adults who are blind and job training and paid and unpaid internships, and job placement services to dozens of Tri-State New York area college students who are blind and receive annual Lavelle Fund scholarships each year. She also partnered with the New York City Department for the Aging to create the nation’s first comprehensive-service senior center for older adults living with vision loss.
And Miller launched an initiative to train VISIONS vision-rehabilitation professionals in providing therapy and support for children cortical visual impairment and their parents. At least half of all functional blindness in American children is caused by cortical visual impairment.
The NASW Lifetime Achievement Award goes to social workers who, among other things, have demonstrated repeated outstanding achievements; garnered recognition beyond the social work profession; made contributions of lasting impact and shown outstanding creativity.
“Ms. Miller has devoted her career to helping a community that is often marginalized and underserved in creative and resourceful ways,” McClain said. “She has shown how the social work profession can help individuals and families surmount challenges and reach their full potential and help our society be a better place for all, including people who are blind or visually impaired.”