To enable infants, children, teens, and adults who are blind or visually impaired to achieve independence and self esteem. The Foundation for the Junior Blind provides programs and services for children, adults, and their families.
Founded in 1953 by a dedicated group of volunteers, the foundation was built on the simple idea that youngsters who are blind deserve access to the same recreational opportunities as their peers who are able to see. The group began by holding weekend dances and expanded to offer activities such as horseback riding and river rafting. After more than fifty years, the foundation has grown to serve more than six thousand individuals each year with six programs that provide education, recreation, training, and rehabilitation.
For children, teens, and young adults who are blind or visually impaired, the foundation offers a number of programs, including Camp Bloomfield in the mountains of Malibu, California. Campers and their families enjoy a range of outdoor activities while learning independence skills and self-advocacy. Another foundation program that empowers visually impaired youth is Visions: Adventures in Learning, which provides unique experiences to children between the ages of thirteen and eighteen that teach them how to overcome physical and emotional obstacles, achieve goals, and develop self-confidence.
Through its Special Education School, the foundation offers individualized instruction for students ages three to twenty-one. With a high staff-to-student ratio, instructors work with students to develop independent living skills and achieve their greatest level of educational ability and independence. Young people between the ages of five and twenty-one can also experience group living with trained counselors through the foundation's Children's Residential Program.
Families with infants and children under age three can turn to the foundation for infant development therapy, family support, vision services, professional consultations, and counseling in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Ventura counties. And for adults who are newly blind or visually impaired, the foundation's Davidson Program for Independence is a comprehensive rehabilitation program that provides life skills for community and home living, pre-vocational training, preparation for employment, self-advocacy, and independence.
In response to an unemployment rate of 80 percent for blind individuals, the foundation launched the Student Transition and Enrichment Program (STEP) last year to provide career exploration and job training to teens and young adults in Southern California. STEP participants craft resumes, participate in mock interviews, learn from professionals who are blind or visually impaired, interact with their peers, and enjoy a weeklong internship. The program allows students to gain a better understanding of the issues faced by the blind or visually impaired in the workplace.
The foundation's award-winning Web site, available in Spanish and English, provides information about the group's programs, news, and other opportunities to sighted individuals, as well as those who are blind or visually impaired. The site is equipped with text-only and font-size adjusters and is formatted to function with screen-reading software that reads content aloud to the user.
The foundation receives private contributions from individuals, groups, and corporations, as well as some government funding. To discuss corporate giving campaigns, please contact Marcia K. Salvary at (323) 295-4555, ext. 220, or via e-mail.