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Empowered vision

Lighthouse for the Blind creates opportunities for independence

The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. provides jobs and empowerment to the blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities. Photo credit: The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.

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Mary Helen has worked at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. for over 40 years.

"I am one of the small percentage of people who are blind and who are employed," she said.  

Nationwide, 70 percent of those who are blind are unemployed.

"My steady employment at The Lighthouse has provided the money needed to become a homeowner, a taxpayer, and a productive citizen of the local community, like any other person."

Since 1918, The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. -- a private, nonprofit social enterprise -- provides employment, support and training opportunities for individuals who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities. Currently, more than 260 of the Lighthouse's employees are blind, Deafblind or blind with other disabilities.

The enterprise is a successful manufacturing operation with over half-a-century of experience in producing machined parts and plastic injection molding for various aerospace manufacturers, as well as a host of office products and hydration equipment sold to the federal government and the military.

It also manufactures empowerment.

"Many individuals who are blind or DeafBlind and blind with other disabilities begin employment at the Lighthouse with minimal job experience," wrote Cindy Van Winkle, development and community outreach coordinator, in an email.

"By providing jobs for people who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities, and then providing the necessary accommodations and training for each employee to do their work well and to be independent in their employment and personal lives, is nothing short of empowering."

The Lighthouse provides on-the-job accommodations, interpreter services and specialized training in braille, assistive technology, safe travel, American Sign Language, English as a Second Language and more.

Van Winkle also pointed out that the training and services provided to employees is not without costs, and she underscored the point that 100 percent of all donations to the organization goes to offset the expenses related to their employment training.

The organization's Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) donation number is 33997.

"Every employee at the Lighthouse relies on and appreciates our greater community which ensures that the specialized training and support for those who need it is made available," concluded Van Winkle.

"Thank you for being a part of that community!"

For more information, please email CVanWinkle@seattlelh.org.

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