Summer Independent Living Skills Creating Confidence Workshop for Teens!

Blind Beginnings is pleased to announce our Summer Independent Living Skills Creating Confidence Workshop for Teens!

July 16, 23, and 30, and August 6, 13, and 20, 2020 

For youth who are blind or partially sighted from 13 to 19 years of age.

Please register no later than Thursday July 9

In addition to the scholastic curriculum that all youth must learn, teens who are blind or partially sighted also have to spend time working on things like braille, technology, and orientation & mobility during their school week. This doesn’t leave much time to learn independent living skills like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Even if there is time for these things, many parents feel unequipped; they may not know how to mark appliances to make them accessible, or aren’t sure how to teach a child who is blind to use a stove or chop vegetables without getting hurt.

The result is often a young adult who is heading off to university, but does not know how to cook, clean, or do their own laundry. This can be frustrating and embarrassing for the youth, whose sighted peers are doing all of these things independently.

That’s why we have created the Summer Independent Living Skills Creating Confidence Workshop for teens. Each week participants will come together in our Blind Beginnings Zoom Room to learn a variety of vital independent living skills that will include such topics as:

  • How to make hot and cold drinks such as pouring hot and cold liquids, making smoothies, tea, and hot chocolate
  • Marking appliances such as microwave, stove, washer/dryer
  • How to organize your closets & kitchen, and how to label foods, medicine, books, etc.
  • Preparing snacks independently
  • Cooking in the microwave
  • All things laundry: sorting, separating delicates, keeping socks together, removing stains and tips for remembering colours
  • And everybody’s favorite – cleaning up: emptying garbage cans, recycling, wiping tables and other surfaces, sweeping verses vacuuming, etc.

The program will run for 6 weeks, from July 16th to August 20th, and will be run by Shawn Marsolais and Jill Sloane, one of our Blind Beginnings Youth Mentors. After losing all of her remaining sight at age 15, Jill had to learn how to do everything all over again, from pouring a glass of water, to organizing her clothes and telling them apart, to cooking, cleaning and all the other life skills that are necessary to be able to live independently. Jill has direct experience on how vital these skills are, as she tells us:

“I always had plans to move to Vancouver and attend university, and without these life skills there’s no way that would have happened. In my opinion life skills are one of the main things needed to become independent, plus they’re a really great way of showing family and friends that you’re capable and can do anything you put your mind to! I was so grateful to have the instructor I did teach me all of these things, and I am so excited to be able to lead the Blind Beginnings Independent Living Skills Creating Confidence program.”

Jill is a 4th year university student and is also starting up her own freelance independent life skills lessons this fall.

You might be wondering how we will teach these skills virtually when hands-on learning is so important for children and youth who are blind or partially sighted? We have considered that and have come up with some work arounds to make this possible virtually.

Workshop participants will be mailed an ILS Kit which will include items such as stickers, elastics and other independent living aids that will assist in the skills we are learning. Each week, prior to the workshop, youth will also receive an email with items to gather from around the house prior to the workshop so that when we are talking about a kettle for example, you will have one in front of you to explore.

When: Six consecutive Thursday afternoons:  July 16, 23, and 30, and August 6, 13, and 20, 2020.

Where: The Blind Beginnings Zoom Room – so from the comfort of your home!

Time: 3:45 – 5:00pm

Cost: There is no cost for this workshop; however, all participants must be members of Blind Beginnings. To become a member, please visit

To register for the Independent Living Skills Creating Confidence Workshop, please contact Carrie no later than Thursday July 9, at: or by phone at: 604-434-7243 or toll free 1-866-736-8620. Please include:

  • Youth’s full name and age
  • Parent’s name, phone, and email address
  • Mailing address so we can send you your ILS Kit
  • The email address we can send the Zoom link to for your youth to participate
  • The top 3 topics you are most interested to learn

Space is limited so register now to confirm your spot.

If you have any questions or would like more information about this workshop, please contact Shawn at: 604-434-7243 or toll free 1-866-736-8620 or Email