Mission Vision Values

Our mission, vision, and values: how The Iris Network serves the blind and visually impaired


  • Helping people who are visually impaired or blind attain independence and community integration.


  • Building a world where no person is limited by visual impairment or blindness and everyone is an advocate for eye health and the needs of people who are visually impaired or blind.


  • The Iris Network recognizes the diverse aspirations and abilities of people who are visually impaired or blind.
  • Our services are based on respect for each individual’s right to self-direction through informed choices.
  • We believe that the education and integration of all individuals will result in a stronger society.

Believing in Tomorrow

The great actress Audrey Hepburn once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

Picture: Mollie MooreMollie Moore was on holiday, touring the gardens of England with her husband, Wells, when she came down with a cold. The cold turned into pneumonia, and finally meningitis. By the time she got to a hospital, she could no longer see or walk. Her doctors didn’t expect her to survive. It was the worst case they’d seen in 10 years. She was in the hospital for three weeks. “But I’m a tough old bird,” she said. “We eventually were able to fly home.”

Her doctor referred her to The Iris Network, and within 48 hours, she got a phone call setting her up with a vision rehabilitation counselor. “The counselor was wonderful!” Mollie said. “She came out once a week for 2-3 hours for 9 months to help me get through all of this. She was helpful for my husband, too, because it was something he had to deal with, as well. I really can’t speak highly enough about The Iris Network.”

After her in-home counseling, she attended mobility instruction at The Iris Network for four months. “They also taught me the braille alphabet, and I learned how to touch-type on the computer with a talking program.”

“The Iris Network has given some wonderful talks to our support group,” she said. “We have 16 members. It’s a very active group and we’re very successful.” The VIP Group is dedicated to the belief that there is life beyond blindness.

“My husband and I used to own an English tearoom in Boothbay Harbor,” she said. “Fortunately, we decided to retire and smell the roses at the end of 1999, and it was just as well, because four months later, I had no vision.”

But she does smell the roses. She and her husband share a passion for gardening, and are very active charter members of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. On that holiday trip to England in 2000, they were actually on a mission to help determine how wide the garden paths should be. They decided on 3-8’ — wide enough for a wheelchair.

After losing her vision, Mollie became interested in sensory gardens, and that started her and Wells down a new path. They spearheaded a committee to research and design a sensory garden. “We wanted it to be exceptional — a garden for everybody. We decided to call it: The Garden of the Five Senses. It even has a horticultural therapy program, so that no matter what someone’s disability, they will still be able to garden.” The gardens attract visitors from all over the world.

There is life beyond blindness. To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. Although blindness took Mollie’s sight, it only improved her vision. And everyone is the better for it.


189 Park Avenue
Portland, ME 04102
(207) 774-6273

The Iris Network is a community-based, Maine nonprofit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation. Our vision is to build a world where no person is limited by visual impairment or blindness. The Iris Network is accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Blindness and Low Vision Services.

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