Over my years as a master blindy, I have gathered a list of resources that have proven useful to myself and many others. I will continue to update this list and welcome new additions!
Louisiana Center for the Blind: Simply dubbed LCB, Louisiana Center for the Blind is an independent living skills center funded by the National Federation of the Blind. Learn travel, financial and other fundamental independent living skills at this center during a 6 or 9 month program.
Wayfinder Family Services: Formerly known as Junior Blind of America, Wayfinder Family Services provides services for blind and multi-disabled children and families. With foster care services, their kid friendly carnivals and annual olympics, and summer camps, this organization was near and dear to my heart during my teen years. This organization also hosts an ILS program for adults. I strongly encourage everyone to check this wonderful nonprofit out!
Their ILS Center Website
The Hatlen Center for the blind: This center, commonly known in the blind community simply as Hatlen, is an ILS center partnered with Wayfinder Family Services. Located in Northern California, students live in apartments and learn valuable ILS skills, budgeting, cooking, and even attend some college classes. If you are interested in this program, please let your vocational rehabilitation counselor know about this great service!
Colorado Center for the Blind: This ILS center is another center funded by the National Federation for the Blind. Located in the beautiful state of Colorado, this training center offers international scholarships to students who want to gain the knowledge and experience to be successful but don’t reside in the United States.
Blind Inc.: The National Federation of the Blind’s third ILS center, Blind Inc is located in Minnesota and provides essential ILS tools to help you succeed.
Blind Inc’s website
Department of Rehabilitation: Known in parts of the U.S. simply as DOR or vocational rehabilitation, DOR provides students with essentials for success after high school. From help with college, textbooks, referrals and payments for ILS centers and technology, DOR is a government run program designed to help students find the right path in life.
Braille Institute of America (BIA): Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization with locations across all of California that provides resources for children and adults with visual impairments. Also home to Cane Quest, (a fun annual competition aimed at orientation and mobility skills with a white cane) and the National Braille Challenge, (A nationwide annual competition that focuses on Braille literacy), Braille Institute has been a fundamental cornerstone of who I am today. With youth programs such as choir, daytrips and activities to Cane Quest and the Braille Challenge, this nonprofit will truly make a difference in your lives. If you have recently gone blind, Braille has you covered. With classes ranging from cooking to adult choirs, Braille makes sure you continue to live your life to its fullest no matter your age.
Assistance Dogs International, (ADI): This is a coalition of not for profit programs that train and place assistance dogs worldwide. With focus on setting standards for training assistance dogs, educating the public on service dogs and even advocating for persons with disabilities and their service canines, the ADI is a wonderful organization to keep on your radar.
Looking for a list of guide dog schools in the U.S. and just not sure where to start? The NFB has you covered! The following link will provide you with a list of guide dog schools so you can click on each and make that vital first decision… where should I train with my new furry partner?
NFB’s resource list is here.
Guide Dogs for the Blind, (GDB): Guide Dogs for the Blind is a nonprofit organization that raises and trains guide dogs for blind and visually impaired individuals. With campuses located in San Rafael, CA and Boring, OR, I can wholeheartedly say that this organization gives you their all in terms of support, quality training, and forever friendships. Psst, this is also the school where I received my very fluffy and lovable Dodson!
Find out more about GDB!