Programming for Children and Youth Ages 11-21

All programming is free of charge to individuals sponsored by the New York State Commission for the Blind

All in-person services are subject to COVID-19 regulations. Some programs may be offered partially or in whole through a virtual format.

A staff member (left) and participant (right) sit with their legs crossed and play a game of giant Jenga.

Programming for Children and Youth through Age 21

All programming is free of charge to individuals sponsored by the New York State Commission for the Blind

All in-person services are subject to COVID-19 regulations. Some programs may be offered partially or in whole through a virtual format.

General Programs

WET (Nakia) assisting Ted Carl with an Art Project

In-Home Training

All services are provided by Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Licensed Social Workers and Occupational Therapists based on need.

Two participants on a giant raft float in a pool toward the camera and smile.

Family Weeks at VCB

Groupf of one-week-long, Short-term Residential programs with rehabilitations services provided by professionals. Family Weeks take place during the summer months.

Summer Pre-College Programs

Summer Transition Program

The Summer Transition Program (located at VISIONS VCB in Spring Valley, NY) is designed to build independence skills, as well as explore college and employment options in a residential program setting. Students will refine their skills for independence and work readiness, including the use of technology, orientation & mobility, social interaction, fitness and recreation. Self-advocacy and accessing the community will be promoted throughout the program. Participants will go on field trips and practice budgeting their weekly allowance. Participants who successfully complete the program can keep the iPad that they use during the program. Round trip transportation is provided between VISIONS at Selis Manor and VISIONS VCB.

A group of youth participants stand next to each other, smiling and posing for the camera.
In a classroom, a group of cheerful smiling participants sit at group desks.

Pre-College Program at Manhattanville College

The goal of the Pre-College Program is to provide high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to refine their academic, social and independent living skills before commencing full time college studies. They are enrolled in a non-credit “Introduction to College Life” course provided by Manhattanville College and a Developmental Writing/Technology Seminar where students focus on developing technology and writing skills for college. Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT) provide remote instruction on independence skills like clothing maintenance, cleaning and organizing a workspace or bedroom. A Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) will discuss cane skills and a variety of apps to increase independent travel. To foster camaraderie in a virtual world, there will be game tournaments, movie nights, karaoke and talent shows throughout the program. Participants who successfully complete the program can keep the iPad that they use during the program.

Work Experience Training Programs

VISIONS provides a wealth of opportunities to help teens flourish in high school and make the transition to higher education or employment. All programs are sponsored by the New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB). Most programs are for participants age 14 and older.

Pre-Voc Enrichment Program

The VISIONS Prevoc Enrichment Program (PEP) is a three-part program which prepares students and youth to function more independently in their communities and to eventually enter the workforce. From an early age, children are encouraged to think about what they want to be when they grow up. The same isn’t always true for youth with vision loss. It’s never too early to start thinking and planning. This extended virtual prevocational training will use technology to introduce and reinforce skills needed for future employment and independence. Sessions will include career exploration, resume prep, job seeking, and workplace behavior. A huge part of finding a job starts with honing independence skills such as work appropriate dressing and grooming and learning how to manage money and access community resources.

Snack Bar After School Program – October through June

A work experience training (WET) program for high school students located at VISIONS at Selis Manor. Participants learn how to run a snack bar using a talking cash register, sell a variety of labeled snacks, use a microwave and serve hot beverages. In addition to the work based learning skills, there are rehabilitation lessons too. A Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT) provides weekly group sessions on skills such as cleaning, using small appliances, clothing maintenance, personal care and money management. Participants must be able to travel independently or use Access-a-ride paratransit.

Prevocational Day Program at VISIONS at Selis Manor – President’s Week

The focus of prevocational training is career exploration, independence skills (making lunch and personal hygiene), interviewing, volunteering, and creating résumés. There are also sessions with a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT) including lessons on budgeting and business attire. This session is specifically for participants unable to attend a residential session (i.e. cognitive delay, medical concerns, etc.).

Tween Prevocational training at August family session at VISIONS Center On Blindness (VCB)

The family sessions at VCB are for children with legal blindness and their family including parents, siblings and other significant caregivers in the child’s life. The Pre-Vocational program offers career exploration and the social skills needed to help tweens develop their goals in life.

Prevocational Training at VISIONS VCB – New York City Department of Education Spring Recess

This residential prevocational program takes place at VISIONS VCB for high school students. The curriculum contains information on interview skills, team building, budgeting, communication, mock interviews and career exploration. There are also sessions with a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT) including lessons on meal management, clothing maintenance, and personal care. A Certified Orientation and Mobility Instructor (O&M) will provide orientation to the dorms and facility. In addition to work skills, the participants take advantage of the 37 acres of VCB with activities such as tandem biking, mini golf and nature walks.

Work Experience Training Program – Year Round

Internships for high school, college and out of school youth are provided at VISIONS at Selis Manor, VISIONS VCB (over age 18), and in a variety of community settings including senior centers, day care, and offices. Participants receive a financial reimbursement to cover the cost of transportation, lunch and other expenses. For summer experiences, participants should attend prevocational training before going to their worksite.

Exterior shot of VISIONS Vocational Rehabilitation Center, a large red and white barn-shaped house, surrounded by grass and trees.

VISIONS Vocational Rehabilitation Center (VRC)

VISIONS VRC is a 16,000 sq. ft. dorm-style, wheelchair accessible building with single and double rooms, with in-room bathrooms. The two-story building was designed especially for residential programs for youth and adults with vision loss, including those who have other disabilities. The VRC also has a technology center, training kitchen, dining hall, small and large meeting spaces, and a fitness center.

Pre-Employment Training Services (Pre-ETS)

For students age 18 up to their 22nd birthday that have completed high school, are unsure about vocational training, and/or have chosen not to pursue college, this program conducted at VISIONS Vocational Rehabilitation Center teaches the skills necessary to search for, obtain and maintain employment in their chosen occupation. In addition, they will have the opportunity to obtain a certificate directly related to occupations, such as Nurse’s Aide, Teacher Assistant, Administrative Professional, Web Developer, etc.

Ready to Get Started?

VISIONS youth services programs are free to individuals sponsored by the New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB). To request information on how to register with the NYSCB to begin taking utilizing these programs, please contact Melissa Phipps, Senior Director of Youth Services by e-mail (mphipps@visionsvcb.org) or by calling 646-486-4444, ext. 212

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