Our Programs

Since 2008, Blind Beginnings Society has envisioned a world where seeing things differently inspires limitless possibilities for BC’s blind and partially sighted children. Through educational and experiential workshops, pre-employment training, summer camps, recreational activities and individualized counselling, Blind Beginnings offers these youth opportunities to develop skills, confidence and independence.

Our programs are divided into four key program areas:

Youth Leadership & Pre-employment Program

A first-of-its-kind in BC, the Youth Leadership & Pre-employment Program helps blind and partially sighted youth prepare for their future transition to work and adult life.

Through a 3-day Leadership Training weekend, 12-month practicum, vocational counseling, and a 5-day Advanced Life Skills training, the program offers youth direct skills training and practical experience in leadership, team building, public speaking, communication, life skills, personal budgeting, and career planning.

While the youth build employable and life skills, they also learn to see their true abilities and not be held back by limits set by others.

Program/activity When/where offered Who benefits and how
Leadership Training Every year in May

Duration: 4 days

Youth 13-19 increase employability through skill-building in teamwork, conflict management, public speaking and more.
Leadership Practicum Every year June through April

Duration: 10 months

Youth 13-19 who complete Leadership Training volunteer running Blind Beginnings committees and events to increase employability through skills development.
Advanced Life Skills Training Every year in July

Duration: 5 days

Youth 18-25 complete a 5-day live-in life skills training to learn cooking, budgeting and household management skills to prepare for the transition to adulthood.
Vocational Counseling All year long as required Youth 16-19 receive individualized counseling to aid in career selection and during search for successful employment.

Adventure Camps & Active Lifestyle Program

When most people think about children who are blind or partially sighted, they lower their expectations of what is possible. As a result, these children often grow up underestimating their abilities and not participating in physical activities, directly impacting their health and social connections.

Through our Adventure Camps & Active Lifestyle Program, children who are blind or partially sighted challenge personal limits, develop new skills and increase physical activity. By learning to see their child’s true capacities, parents allow their child to develop undiscovered talents and lead an active life.

Program/
activity
When/where offered Who benefits and how
Family Adventure Camp Every August in varying locations throughout BC over 4 days By experiencing outdoor adventure sports, such as kayaking, rock climbing, and swimming, children begin to lift personal boundaries and set higher expectations for themselves. Parents also remove unnecessary limits as they begin to see their child’s true capacities.
Camp Hornby Every July on Hornby Island over 5 days Youth have the opportunity to attend camp on their own, or accompanied by their parents. While increasing self-confidence through individual and group activities, they also build friendships.
Do the Grind Blind Challenge September 2017 This new event offers youth 16-21 the opportunity to challenge themselves physically and mentally. Through participation in pre-event training, youth will take their self-confidence to a new level and believe in their own limitless potential.
Kootenay Project Adventure Various communities in the Kootenays Through experiential learning activities, this project promotes and encourages life-long outdoor activity among children and youth who are blind or partially sighted.

Educational & Experiential Learning Program

Through educational workshops, recreational clubs and community outings, blind and partially sighted children are exposed to skill-building activities and experiences that support cognitive and motor development, communication, independent travel, social networking and career development. While children increase independence and self-esteem, parents access resources to help their child discover and develop their true capacities.

Program/
activity
When/where offered Who benefits and how
Junior Explorers Club Monthly at rented space in Surrey Children up to 12 years are exposed to hands-on learning activities in a group setting, where they can learn with their peers and alongside their sighted siblings. Yoga, arts & crafts, martial arts, snack making and music classes are just a sample of the kinds of experiences we offer.
Community Discovery Outings Monthly in varying locations throughout Greater Vancouver Through family-focused recreational outings, children are given hands-on learning opportunities that teach them about how beehives work, how to pick a pumpkin, what farmers and firefighters do, and more.
Creating Confidence Workshop Annually at Blind Beginnings Office Through hands-on learning, children learn to develop verbal communication and social skills to build confidence and self-esteem. For older youth, workshop topics address self-image, how to dress and groom oneself, how to disclose blindness at work, and more.
What Happens after Grad Workshop Annually at Blind Beginnings Office The goal of this workshop is to help guide youth in their career choices and search for employment. Topics include: career planning, job application preparation, networking, how to convince a prospective employer they can do the job, and more.
Echolocation Workshop Annually at Blind Beginnings Office or rented space in varying communities By teaching a sonar-like technique, children and youth learn to navigate their surroundings with greater ease and confidence, thus reducing reliance on sighted guides and increasing independence.
Parent Workshops 3-4 times per year at Blind Beginnings Office Workshop topics address a variety of issues relevant to parenting a child who is blind or partially sighted: braille and early literacy, social skill development, orientation & mobility, daily living skills, sports & recreation, assistive technology, and more. Parents also meet other parents and build an essential network of support.

Early Intervention, CounselLing & Family Support Program

Our Early Intervention, Counselling & Family Support Program offers support groups and individual counseling for children, youth, and parents, as well as early intervention retreats for families with pre-schoolers. Information, resources, and emotional support are provided to families by registered clinical counsellors and by other parents.

Program/
activity
When/where offered Who benefits and how
Early Intervention Retreats 3-4 times per year at varying locations

 

Designed for parents new to raising a child who is blind or partially sighted, these weekend retreats offer a comfortable environment to be introduced to the world of blindness. Parents learn important tools and tips to help them support their child to reach developmental milestones.
Seeing Things Differently Parent Support Group Annually for 8 weeks at Blind Beginnings Office As parents transition toward acceptance of their child’s blindness or visual impairment, they are given a safe, supportive environment to be able to express feelings of grief, loss, fear, and hope. It is a place to gain information and understanding while connecting with other parents who have a first-hand understanding of what they are going through.
Individualized Counselling As needed at Blind Beginnings Office Children, youth and parents can access one-on-one counseling services with Registered Clinical Counsellors. As with all Blind Beginnings programs and services, counseling support focuses on helping the child overcome barriers to reaching his/her full potential.

CoNTACT

To register for any of Blind Beginnings programs and services, or for more information, please contact us at:

Toll free: 866 736 8620

Phone: 604 434 7243

Email: info@blindbeginnings.ca