This is a full-time, six to nine month training program for adults who are blind or have experienced recent vision loss. This program focuses on the pre-employment and daily living skills essential for personal independence.
There is no such thing as a “typical” day at BLIND, Incorporated. We have a class schedule with a curriculum for each teaching area:
- Cane Travel,
- Home and Personal Management,
- Industrial Arts,
- Career Exploration, and
- Seminars on Blindness.
Our primary goal is to integrate what is being taught in the classroom into each person’s everyday life so he/she gains experience using each skill, becomes comfortable using that skill, and comes to understand that blindness need not be a barrier to personal success in life.
A day at BLIND, Inc. begins at about7:35 when students leave their apartments and take a city bus to the center. Morning announcements start at 8:00. Everyone is informed of the events of the day, tours of the program by prospective students, friends or families of students coming to visit, students serving their small or large meals, etc. Our main goal is to get students revved up so that they can take on the rigorous class schedule before them.
There are two class periods in the morning and two more in the afternoon; each class period is 100 minutes long. Sometimes, however, our day-time schedule is altered. Challenging activities are planned so that students can get out into the community and use the skills that they are learning. Apple-picking, rock climbing, hiking to Minnehaha Falls, going out for lunch, canoeing, snow tubing, cutting down Christmas trees to decorate the Center, participating in Martin Luther King Day marches, attending the Minnesota State Fair , celebrating Valentine’s Day, and touring area museums are just a few of our many options.
We sometimes take extended trips which may take two or three days. We go dog sledding in northern Minnesota. We may take a three-day camping trip to a state park to do our own outdoor cooking and experience travel outside the big city. Students are permitted to attend National and State Conventions of the National Federation of the Blind to become familiar with the organized blind movement in action. We also travel to Washington, D.C. for the National Federation of the Blind’s annual Washington Seminar where we check out the sites of interest in our nation’s capital, ride the Metro Transit System, and meet with our elected officials in Congress.
Every day in the life of a BLIND, Inc. student is filled with exciting adventures. Change is a normal part of life, and challenges must be welcomed and not feared due to blindness. Students come to understand themselves and their potential as they learn alternative techniques for completing the daily tasks they once thought required eyesight. They come to realize that they can deal with blindness and they refuse to let it stop them from following their dreams.
Most students in this program receive assistance through their state vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs. By law, an eligible VR client from any state can choose to come to BLIND, Inc.