Youth Programs

ABVI pioneered services for school-aged, blind and visually impaired youth in its early days. Our founder, Roberta Griffith, worked with the Grand Rapids Public schools in the 1920’s and 1930’s to involve blind youth in the classroom. Even today, our program “graduates” recognize, as adults, the importance that life-skills education, such as cooking, cleaning, recreational activities, and social interaction played in their success. Without ABVI, younger children will not have the same opportunities as sighted youth. And an early start provides more confidence as they enter the 14+ year age group, where expectations become greater.

Successful Teens Exploring Positive Skills (STEPS)

The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired has successfully helped high school-aged youth gain independent living skills for ten years.   “STEPS” (Successful Teens Exploring Positive Skills), is a semi-weekly, school-year program having these key goals for success:

  • Prepare 14-26 year old youth for their first employment opportunities, college potential and independent living. Participants begin the program with limited social and mobility skills. Our Masters level, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists and Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists create and administer highly-effective programming tailored to these young people, such as independent travel/transportation, verbal and non-verbal communication, financial skills/banking, and shopping, cooking and appropriate dress.
  • We work in tandem with Kent and Ottawa County ISD’s/Teacher Consultants for the Visually Impaired (TCVI), creating life-skill development activities beyond those available in the classroom. ABVI also acts as a sub-contractor for the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons.

“STEPS Junior” program for 10-13 year old youth

Youth under age 14, who are in a critical stage of development and living with blindness, do not receive comprehensive services. ISD’s have limited capacity to provide these services, and ABVI is uniquely suited to teach critical skills for personal independence and social confidence.

All professionals agree that the sooner we help prepare these younger youth with ALL aspects of independent living, connecting activities and leadership development, the more successful they will be within higher education and/or employment.

The program meets once-monthly during the school year.Our educational goals include critical Life Skills not taught in schools, in other non-familial organizations…or even within many of their own families:

  • Personal grooming
  • Social and Communication skills
  • Basic cooking and food preparation

Summer in the City (SITC) is an extended program for our youth, during the immediate two weeks following each school year.

We continue to provide the same life skills opportunities and education so blind and visually impaired youth can continue to grow with new experiences…helping them prepare for independent and productive lives…in college and/or future employment.

ABVI is uniquely qualified for education of these key skills, based on the experience and success from our team of Masters Level, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, Certified Low Vision Therapists and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists.

Youth Peer Support Groups

Successful Teens Exploring Positive Skills (STEPS)(ages 14-26)

Grandville High School
4700 Canal Avenue, SW
Grandville, MI
First & Third Mondays of the month at 3:30 pm
Contact Nancy Misner for more information

Summer in the City (ages 14-26)

Grandville High School
4700 Canal Avenue, SW
Grandville, MI
Monday – Thursday, the first two weeks after school ends for the summer; 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Contact Nancy Misner for more information

STEPS Junior (ages 10 -13)
456 Cherry St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI
Second Monday of the month at 4:00 pm during the school year
Contact Karolina Smiley for more information