Teen LIFE— Learning Independence From Experience for youth ages 13 through 21
Learning Independence From Experience is a transition program for youth ages 14 through 21 that is offered year-round after school and on weekends plus as a 6 week, intensive summer program for planning post-high school life.
College preparation and/or job readiness skills are emphasized in group classes and field trips: safe outdoor travel skills, cooking and self-care techniques, Braille or use of magnifiers and other low vision devices to read and write efficiently, use of computers and other high-tech assistive devices, polite social interaction and self-advocacy, resume-writing, networking and interviewing, guidance in understanding vocational interests and values, and actual on-the-job experiences. Adults who are blind or visually impaired are role models. Fun recreational activities are also included.
VITAL LIVING skills training and counseling support, for adults 21 and over
"I want to Thank you for your support and opening your hearts, welcoming me to the Lighthouse. Being with the staff and meeting others have helped me grow and become confident within myself and know that I can be successful. I am proud to be part of the Lighthouse family." -- Elizabeth, December 2011
Group and individual instruction at the Lighthouse of Broward’s main facility is designed to enable a person with vision impairment to live independently, return to a full role in the family, to work and participate in the community. All services (except beginning computer instruction) also are offered in the individual’s home or at senior centers and other group locations. Adults who have become blind or visually impaired address personal needs and goals through specific training in one or more of the following areas:
Orientation and Mobility—training in safe and independent travel in the home, on the job and out in the community, to the mailbox, the bus stop, the social center, the mall.
Activities of Daily Living—techniques for money management, household maintenance, personal grooming, record keeping, organization, and medication management. Training includes use of Talking Books, tape recorders, electronic organizers, check-writing and signature guides, talking watches and calculators, tape recorders, and magnifying devices for reading and writing. Skills are developed in labeling cans, medication bottles and clothing, using the microwave and cooking safely, applying make-up, cutting meat, pouring coffee and so much more.
Computers and Technology—assistive technology including speech output and large print displays make computer word processing, e-mail, and Internet accessible. Scanners, Braille printers and specialized laptop note-taking devices help make competitive work and school participation possible. An adaptive technology bank provides high tech equipment on a loan basis to students demonstrating commitment to practicing skills and responsible care of technology devices.
Counseling and Support Groups—adults who have become blind or visually impaired and their families may need help adjusting to living with vision loss. Counseling, both individual and group, shares resources and information, and teaches self-advocacy skills and ways of coping with the many changes that come with vision impairment.
JOB READINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP—for individuals seeking to return to competitive work
"You are such a dynamic organization and the best that I have ever experienced in networking the public with persons who have a disability." -- John, November 2011
Tracks to Success: It is difficult to re-invent oneself and find a way to apply past skills to the new realities of being a visually impaired person. Experience shows that neither supportive counseling nor skills training as it usually is provided is sufficient for most people which is one of the key reasons why the unemployment rate among blind persons is still so high despite great improvements made in the quality of professional training, program design, availability of technology and service delivery measurement. For this reason, Lighthouse of Broward initiated a new program in March, 2010 to teach skills related to identifying personal vocational goals, understanding the expectations of the workplace, building confidence, writing resumes, completing job applications and basic interviewing. Also included are details of addressing barriers to employment success: proper dress, achieving on-time arrival despite the vagaries of public transportation (or making other arrangements for “wheels”), managing Social Security benefits and health insurance, and the social skills of working in a sighted world. Job shadowing is arranged as a practicum in which to gain practical knowledge of the workplace.
Community Outreach: Lighthouse staff are creating social change and a more friendly employment environment by reaching out to local organizations, including religious institutions, to increase awareness of our services and educate leaders on how to accommodate people who are blind or visually impaired. Clients become more job ready by participating fully in their communities and developing comfortable social relationships that lead to successful networking for job leads and offers.
Rose completed her Job Prep class. You can visit her at the Broward County Government Center Cafeteria:
LIFETIME LEARNERS, for adults who have completed training in the VITAL LIVING Program
Monthly meetings led by Lighthouse of Broward professionals and volunteers offer brief refresher courses in skills, introduce new assistive devices or technology, bring speakers on interesting topics and provide opportunities for social interaction and leisure activities.