About the Lighthouse
Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind
As the Executive Director of the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind I wanted to share with you what our agency, and those like ours, does. The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind that I have the honor to be the director of provides vision habilitation and rehabilitation services to individuals in Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties in Florida. This is large area, with a total population of about 800,000 persons. It is a very large geographical area, with much of it being rural.
We provide programs and services/training to individuals from babies to seniors-right now our youngest baby is 7 months and oldest is 1,176 months.
History and Description
The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind is a non-profit 501c3 organization that has been providing vision rehabilitation since 1983. The Lighthouse provides vision habilitation and rehabilitation and adjustment to blindness services to people of all ages who have experienced vision impairment. An estimated 20,000 persons have received some type of service since its incorporation.
The Lighthouse has two permanent locations, located in West Pasco and Hernando (Brooksville) counties. Independent Living Skills classes are held at both permanent locations, as well as in Zephyrhills, Dade City and Lecanto. In addition, home based training is also provided to many individuals.
The mission of the Lighthouse is to provide blind and visually impaired persons with the skills needed to achieve their maximum independence. Individuals and families who experience blindness or loss of vision often experience a loss of hope and self-confidence. Through individual adjustment to blindness counseling, participation in support groups, Independent Living classes, orientation and mobility training, job readiness training, Braille, adaptive computer training, and recreation activities, persons who are visually impaired are able to find possibilities in what seemed an impossible situation.
Programs and Services
The “Little Lighthouse” Program provides early intervention for babies born with a visual impairment. The Lighthouse provides services to parents, professionals and children in an effort to ensure the children are as prepared as they can be for school and life. In addition, the Lighthouse provides a one week summer program and quarterly activities for children aged 6 through 13. The Children’s program is designed to provide children with social and recreational opportunities to increase their confidence, social skills development, and introduce independent living and movement skills.
The School to Work Transition Program provides year around training and services to teenagers who are visually impaired. The goal of this program is to provide opportunities and training to teens to prepare them to make that critical transition from high school into the workforce or college. The program includes participation in recreational activities, a real work experience in the community, volunteer work, and computer and daily living skills training.
The Vocational Programs (Job Readiness) provides individuals who are blind and visually impaired with training and skills that will enable them to confidently and effectively acquire and retain competitive employment. National statistics indicate that there is an over 70% unemployment rate among individuals with visual impairments. Through training and public awareness/education efforts the Lighthouse is working to ensure individuals have opportunities to engage in employment.
The Independent Living Skills Program provides individual and group vision rehabilitation to adults to promote optimal independence in all activities of daily living, and includes assistance with coping and adjustment to vision loss. Vision rehabilitation consists of providing individuals with training in sensory skills development and the use of adaptive skills and techniques to function independently in their daily life, including medication management, money identification/management, personal management, meal preparation, home care, fall prevention and safe movement/travel skills, and the use of assistive technology.
The Computer Technology Program covers screen magnification and/or speech access that enables persons who are visually impaired to use the Internet, to e-mail family and friends, and develops basic, intermediate, and advanced computer skills. This training provides those interested in returning to work or maintaining their current employment with the opportunity to develop the skills in a variety of assistive technology that will enable them to work.
The Low Vision Program provides free screenings to the community in an effort to help those having difficulty accessing print learn about assistive technology, such as magnifiers, video-magnification devices, talking and tactile devices and other adaptive items to maximize remaining vision
The Lighthouse has a highly qualified and specialized staff of dedicated professionals who have completed University degrees in Visual Disabilities and Vision Rehabilitation, including Social workers, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, Teachers of the Visually Impaired, and Certified Rehabilitation Counselors . Also, the Lighthouse has many wonderful and dedicated volunteers who help with driving clients, doing clerical tasks, helping with events and more.
Funding and Support
A portion of funding comes from the State of Florida’s Division of Blind Services and United Way of Pasco County. In addition, the Pasco site is provided by Pasco County and is located in the Social Services complex. The Lighthouse also depends on donations from individuals, service clubs, gifts from corporations, foundations and bequests/legacy gifts. All donations and funding provided to the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind go directly to programs and services for individuals who are visually impaired in Pasco, Hernando and Citrus Counties.
The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind is committed to ensuring access to high quality services for all blind and visually impaired persons in the area, providing community awareness and education about visual impairment, and continuing to ensure the funding and support needs are met.
To learn more or to donate,
please visit our website at: www.lvib.org