The Florida Center for the Blind, Inc. (FCB) is a non-profit organization that teaches alternatives to performing daily living skills with a minimum of inconvenience to the individual. This is accomplished through taking classes at the center, through an outreach program in the community run by staff from the center, or through one-on-one training in the client’s home. Our goal is to help each client adjust to be successful regardless of their visual impairment. The Florida Center for the Blind, Inc. also aids its clients in locating and qualifying for services available to them. The blind person and their sighted family members are counseled to understand and accept their blindness, in addition to providing educational programs for the general public. The Florida Center for the Blind serves the following counties: Marion, Alachua, Dixie, Levy, Gilchrist, Bradford, Union and Columbia.
Representatives from Florida Center for the Blind, both staff and volunteers participate in community health fairs, and public speaking engagements. Our Rehabilitation Teacher and Orientation and Mobility Instructor also provide training courses for professionals in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and community centers in regards to how to best work with patients and clients with visual impairments.
FCB has three main programs. Independent Living Adult Program, Vocational Rehabilitation Program, and the Transition Program. The training is offered at the center, at the home, and in the community. The ILAP program is for those individuals who need helping adjusting to vision loss in order to remain safe and independent in the home. The VR program is for those who are working and need adaptive equipment to help them maintain their job, or for those who are interested in finding a job. The Transition program is for ages 14-21 who are making life changes and deciding to pursue college, or a career upon graduating high school.
Education and training are provided at the center in Braille, mobility skills, daily living skills, cooking, and leisure time activities, computer, and exercise. Independent living skills, and Orientation and mobility are the foundation for safety and comfort for people adjusting to their visual impairments. Florida Center for the Blind, Inc. also provides training in technology skills, such as, typing, introduction to computers and the use of assistive technologies, and specialized software to assist the blind person in the operation of the computer. Included also is the use of peripheral devices such as printers, scanners with speech synthesizers and more. Upon successfully demonstrating competence with the equipment and software, the individual can continue training in word processing, spreadsheet and database applications, in addition to becoming skilled in the use of the Internet.
The Florida Center for the Blind, Inc. provides a class for group support. The Center is not just a place for information or training but much more. We understand the needs and desires of the blind person. This understanding comes from 40% of the members of the Board of Directors, some support staff and many volunteers who are blind. We are committed to the belief that with a positive attitude and training blindness can be reduced to a "mere inconvenience", allowing the individual to lead a normal, productive life.
The Florida Center for the Blind, Inc. offers its services at NO CHARGE to any blind or visually impaired person.
The mission of the Florida Center for the Blind, Inc. is to facilitate the complete integration of blind and visually impaired people into society on a basis of equality. The specific and primary purpose of the Center is to develop and administer programs for people who are either totally or legally blind. The Florida Center for the Blind is focused on the rehabilitation and assistance to those as they adjust to their environment. The Florida Center for the Blind, Inc. is committed to a positive and progressive philosophy about blindness. Our focus is on rehabilitation, or the learning of new methods or techniques to accomplish the same tasks that are accomplished with vision.
The Florida Center for the Blind, Inc. is a non-profit agency funded though the Division of Blind Services and community contributions. The Center was founded in 1987 under the name Citrus Center for the Blind by a small group of blind people who realized that thousands of blind residents had virtually no services available to them. Our experience supports the belief that blindness can be reduced to a "mere inconvenience." Given the proper training and opportunity (and these are important), the average blind person can lead a normal, independent life. In 1992, the name was changed to the Florida Center for the Blind, Inc.
- Robin Whiteley, Executive Director, M.S. CVRT
- Maureen Hoth, Administrative Assistant
- Susan Bradley, M.S. CVRT
- Rebecca Budzinski, Administrative Manager, Assistive Technology Specialist
- Sally Newton, COMS
- Jackie Mayberry, Assistive Technology Specialist
- Jennifer Nisbett, Transition Coordinator
- Kevin Bailey, Braille Instructor
- Charlene Henry, Public Relations
- Edward Brewer, MS, President
- Robert Waas, Vice President
- Wendy Phillips, MS, Secretary
- Dolores Francis, Treasurer
- Winona Wilson, Director
- Robert Caruana, MSW, Director
- Patty Blackmier, Director
- James Davis, Jr., BBA Director
- Kay McGregor, Director
- Edina Allen, Director