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Vision-loss counseling added
by Quincy's Interfaith Social Services

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 12, 2011 02:15 PM

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Kerry and Zephyr.JPG

Loss of vision counseling specialist Kerry MacDonald with her guide dog Zephyr. (Photo courtesy of Interfaith Social Services)

Interfaith Social Services will offer counseling for those facing the prospect of vision loss, with the hiring of Weymouth resident Kerry MacDonald.

MacDonald, who is blind, will bring a renewed sense of purpose to the role, Interfaith administrators said, especially after accomplishing so much in her own right.

Not only is she a mother of two, but MacDonald completed her education as a licensed social worker and has experience facilitating groups for individuals coping with vision loss. She also has experience counseling individual clients.

“She truly understands the experience of a blind person learning to function in a sighted world,” said Claire Hagan, Interfaith’s Social Services’ counseling coordinator. “Kerry will be able to help a lot of people as they cope with the life-altering effects of blindness in their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones.”

It’s a new direction for the Center, which until now has not catered to the many people facing this challenging and potentially frightening time.

Despite the newness of the program, Interfaith has assured residents that they have not left their primary mission behind.

Part of the New Directions Counseling Center, which has been around since 1947, the vision-loss counseling will be available to residents with insurance or to people who lack health insurance or lack adequate coverage under their existing insurance.

According to a release, a study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts found that upwards of 130,000 people in the state remain uninsured, despite laws requiring residents to carry health insurance.

In addition, more than 75 percent of those who are uninsured have incomes less than three times the federal poverty level.

“More families are slipping into low-income status, seeking counseling, and increasingly rely on our sliding fee scale,” Hagan said. “In the past two years we have had to set up three additional counseling offices to handle the demand for our services.”

In this way, everyone is able to get the coverage and counseling that they require.

“Our Counseling Center is a safety net for many individuals without insurance, or without adequate coverage, who would otherwise fall through the cracks,” said Rick Doane, Interfaith’s executive director. “We try to get people the help they need, when they need it.”

Hagan agreed that the new counseling aspect would only further the concept Interfaith hopes to promote.

“Our mission is to compassionately listen to all of our clients, we are here to help them work through their problems, regardless if they have insurance or not,” Hagan said.

The counseling center is only one aspect to Interfaith Social Service, which also has a food pantry, career closet, and homelessness prevention program.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of New Direction’s counselors call 617-773-6203 or email

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