2015 BUDDY and STEP Programs

From the mailbox:

BUDDY PROGRAM 2015
Putting the Pieces Together

Come and join us for a summer of fun and learning!

Since 1989, the Louisiana Center for the Blind has offered an innovative summer program for blind children in grades four through eight. This summer, the Buddy Program promises to be full of learning opportunities, new friendships, and fun-filled activities.

Many blind children have misconceptions about their blindness due to the lack of positive blind role models and to the negative stereotypes about blindness in society. Unlike other summer programs for blind children, the Buddy Program is directed and staffed by competent blind adults. Classes in cane travel are taught to instill independence and self-confidence. The knowledge of Braille enables the blind child to compete on terms of equality with sighted peers in the classroom and provides a solid background in spelling and other grammatical skills. Computer literacy classes expose a blind child to available adaptive equipment. Classes in daily living skills promote equal participation in household duties such as cooking, shopping, and cleaning. In addition to learning valuable alternative techniques of blindness, children will enjoy participating in a wide variety of exciting activities such as swimming, camping, bowling, roller skating, and field trips.

Title: Ethan on cane travel

The combination of hard work and fun activities will provide a rewarding experience that children will cherish. Involvement in the Buddy Program helps blind children realize that it is not blindness that holds them back. Rather, it is the negative attitudes and misconceptions about blindness that may prevent blind children from reaching their potential. At the close of the program, parents are REQUIRED to attend a Parents’ Weekend. This weekend will allow them to interact with other parents of blind children and to learn what their children have discovered about their blindness and themselves. Friendship, training, fun, growth and interaction between blind children and positive blind role models is how the Louisiana Center for the Blind is “changing what it means to be blind.”

The Louisiana Center for the Blind will sponsor two sessions of the Buddy Program in 2015–from June 7-27 and July 19-August 8 respectively.

Perhaps we will have the opportunity to work with your child this summer. We know it will be a memorable experience for both you and them. All interested families should visit www.louisianacenter.org for more details and to apply. Please also feel free to contact our Director of Youth Services, Eric Guillory before April 13. Please email Eric at eguillory@louisianacenter.org or call 800-234-4166.

Due to limited space, we cannot guarantee that every applicant will be granted enrollment. Please note that the fee for students not from Louisiana is $1,000­which is all-inclusive save for transportation to and from the program. The fee for Louisiana students is $500.

Aunya at graduationTitle: Aunya at graduation

Title: Greg climbing toward zipline

2015 SUMMER TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT PROJECT (STEP) Program
STRIVING FOR SUCCESS

Since 1985, the Louisiana Center for the Blind has been changing what it means to be blind for adults from across America. In 1990, a program was created to address the needs of blind high school students. The Summer Training and Employment Project (STEP) Program is designed to introduce blind teenagers to positive blind role models and to provide participants with summer work experience.

The eight-week summer program will consist of two components. During the first part of the program, competent blind counselors will instruct the students in the alternative techniques of blindness. Classes in Braille, cane travel, computer literacy, and daily living skills will be taught by qualified blind instructors. In addition, seminars will be conducted in the areas of job readiness, job interviewing skills, resume writing and job responsibilities. The second part of the program will continue all aspects of training and expand to include an employment dimension. Students will have the opportunity to work fifteen to twenty hours a week at a local business for which they will receive the Federal minimum wage. The staff will attempt to meet the job interests of the students. Instructors from the Louisiana Center for the Blind will be available to provide on-the-job assistance as needed.

Title: Katie grilling up burgers             Title: Animal groomers work experience

The combination of work experience and blindness-related skills–along with fun-filled activities such as cookouts, swimming, and various other outings–will foster self-confidence and independence in young blind teenagers. During the week of July 5th through July 10th, students will attend the national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida. This exciting conference will allow them to meet thousands of competent blind people from across the country. The students will also have the chance to participate in a wide variety of informative seminars. At the close of the program, parents will be REQUIRED to attend a Parents’ Weekend which will enable them to discover how much their children have learned throughout the summer. The STEP program is designed to provide invaluable work experience, friendships, opportunities for personal growth, and cherished memories.

Training will begin June 14 and conclude August 8. Please visit www.louisianacenter.org to learn about more program specifics and to complete an application.

Due to limited space, we cannot guarantee that every applicant will be granted enrollment, and applicants must have an open case with their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency or other funding entity to cover program costs.

Questions? Please call our Director of Youth Services, Eric Guillory at 800-234-4166 or email him at eguillory@louisianacenter.org. “Together, we are changing what it means to be blind.” Check out STEP and find out how.

Title: graduation ceremony

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