Serving the blind

-A A +A

Non-profit agency provides services in eight counties

By Laura Smith
and Jessica Nisbette

Florida Center for the Blind a non-profit organization that serves eight counties and is one of Marion County’s treasures as it is located in Ocala. This article is being written to clear up misconceptions of just who is serviced by this center. When I visited it recently with Ted Warner, known as the “blind dancer” I was so impressed that I really wanted others to know more about it. In sharing my visit with Dr. Kennedy, my eye doctor, she agreed it was a great facility for many visually impaired individuals and she has recommended patients.
My writing partner for this article is Jessica Nisbett, Director of Development and Public Relations for the Center and the following programs’ information in place at the center is from her:
1. The Children’s Program, for ages 5-13, supplements skills the child is learning in school in order for the students to obtain academic excellence and personal development.
2. Transition Program, ages 14-22, focuses on college or job preparation.
3. Vocational Rehabilitation, ages 22-100+, focuses on readiness skills for the work force or higher education including assistive technology training, orientation and mobility, and communication skills.
4. Adult Program, ages 22-55, and the Older Blind Program, ages 56+, focuses on independent living skills within their homes and community.
The Florida Center for the Blind (FCB) believes that loss of sight does not mean loss of independent. FCB offers more than training; we provide hope and a sense of security for our clients as they lead quality, productive and independent lives. Ted Warner, the President of the Board of Directors and alumni client, is a perfect example of this mantra.
Ted Warner contributes involvement in community activities to the Center. It wasn’t until a teacher from the Center visited him at his home a number of times, introducing him to technology that he felt able to live a fairly normal life. He will tell you he can live with blindness because of the Center.
It is my hope that this article will encourage those who are finding a loss of vision through one of the eye diseases, especially age related, that they will make an appointment to visit, meet a wonderful staff and find that there is program to help you cope.
I am going to be an ambassador for the Center, would you like to join me? All you have to do is encourage a friend, family member or neighbor to get some help for their vision loss by contacting the Florida Center for the Blind.