By: Emily Johnson
November 23, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - Lighthouse of the Big Bend celebrated 30 years service to the visually impaired this Saturday with a party of food and games at their location off of Capital Circle. Lighthouse is a charitable, nonprofit group that is dedicated to guiding people through vision loss. They serve the visually impaired by providing education and training, job-readiness instruction and rehabilitation to their clients. Today Lighthouse offers five programs for more than 350 people in the Big Bend. "When I first became blind I had no direction. I didn't know anything, but to sit. Through Lighthouse I learned how to read braille, I learned assisted technology which is the computer," said Jada Michael, who was a client and is now on the Board of Directors for Lighthouse. Lighthouse would like to thank the community for its long-time support throughout the past 30 years.
Lighthouse of the Big Bend Press Release
TALLAHASSEE -Founded in 1983 as the Rural Center for Independent Living in Gadsden County, the Lighthouse of the Big Bend has provided education and training, job-readiness instruction, and rehabilitation in the Big Bend region for three decades.
To celebrate this milestone, the Lighthouse will hold a party on Saturday, November 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace in Tallahassee.
Free food and beverages will be available, a DJ will provide music, a magic show and games will entertain, and raffle prizes will include dinner for two at The Front Porch.
Executive Director Barbara Ross observed that the past directors, who include Claude Seale (1983-1993) and Skip Koch (1993-2004), successfully grew the organization from a very small group serving a few clients in one county to become a vibrant, integral part of the Big Bend community.
When Ross came on board in 2004, the Lighthouse, then the Florida Institute for Rehabilitative Education or FIRE, offered only three programs and had only seven full-time staff. Today, the Light offers five programs for more than 350 clients annually.
Ross, who also initiated the Lighthouse's hugely successful annual benefit, Dining in the Dark, said, "We are grateful for the long-time support of the Big Bend community and hope many friends will join us to celebrate our 30Th Anniversary!
Because of the support of the community, Division of Blind Services, United Way, The Able Trust and many others, we have been able to assist many individuals who are blind and visually impaired.
When people lose their vision - at age 1 or 101 - we are honored to be here to help them gain the skills they need to independently journey through life."
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist Wayne Warner, who has been on the staff of the Lighthouse since 1987, said, "One of my first Vocational Rehabilitation clients had many challenges. I helped him find a job that he still has today - and he is now happily contemplating retirement! Just like that first client, the people we serve are among the most motivated and hardworking people I have ever known. They inspire me every day."
The Lighthouse of the Big Bend offers five programs year-around for eligible individuals who are blind and visually impaired at no charge.
The Lighthouse a charitable, nonprofit organization dedicated to guiding people through vision loss.
Free services are provided to any eligible child, age birth to five, youth or adult, age 14 and up, who is legally blind and lives in Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, or Wakulla Counties.