OUR GRANT SUPPORTED Vista Center's "Youth of Tomorrow" Transition Program to build self-determination and independent living competence for youths age 14-to-24. Self-determination builds skills and attitudes that enable a person to gain more control over his/her life.
As a coordinated set of outcome-oriented activities to aid with the development of life-skills that promote independence, Vista's transition services are preparing blind and visually impaired young people with:
goal setting, timelines, and accountability partners to help achieve student and post-high school success
research assistance for college-bound youth to best understand which services are available at different campuses
pre-employment skills such as resume writing, internships and, workforce readiness, job applications, and placement
GRANT IMPACT Self-determination is emphasized in order to achieve a successful transition from school to work. Since student needs and interests are the basis for own transition planning, student selection of future goals is critical in this process. Collectively, Youth Of Tomorrow learned:
Technology and research skills: Students used technology to connect as well as their research skills to look up where to find volunteer opportunities
Social skills: Students took turns speaking and listening without interrupting
Self Determination: Students were able to set their own goals regarding when and where they would like to volunteer
In addition to its technical training and community services, Vista Center's Transition program has seen 9 out of 10 students meet or exceed their academic goals.
HOW IT BREAKS THE LINK BETWEEN POVERTY & VISION LOSS Self-determination plays an important role in shattering the pervasive stereotypes that blind and visually impaired people are unable to achieve certain careers, hobbies or lifestyles.
The single greatest element of social and economic inequity facing blind and visually impaired populations is unemployment. Studies show that as many as 70% of legally blind adults are unemployed. Nearly 25% of blind adults never complete high school, and only 15% earn a bachelor's degree or higher.