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Are You Ready for the Adventure of Your LIFE?

("Learning Independence, Feeling Empowered")

What is LIFE?

  • 5 week residential training program for students between the ages of 14-18 years old who are returning to a high school academic program in the fall of 2022
  • Provides basic training in the skills of blindness and advocacy skills
  • Helps students become responsible for their lives
  • Provides students with opportunities to explore employment and college goals
  • Provides an opportunity to gain real-world work experience or additional skills of blindness training
  • Affords opportunities to participate in physical fitness and confidence-building activities
  • Offers opportunities to network with successful mentors who are blind or vision-impaired
  • Helps students develop positive strategies for dealing with misconceptions about blindness
  • Provides daily opportunities to have LOTS of fun!

Important Dates for LIFE

  • Application Deadline: midnight, May 8, 2022
  • Program Begins: July 10, 2022 - check-in - 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
  • Program Ends: August 12, 2022 - 12:00 p.m.
  • Graduation Ceremony: August 12, 2022 - 10:00 a.m.
  • Student/parent meetings with staff via Zoom: August 15-18, times will be scheduled



Classes:

  • Braille
  • Personal and Home Management – cooking, cleaning, and organizing
  • Independent travel skills using a long white cane
  • Keyboarding/Computers
  • Access Technology
  • Job Readiness
  • Work Experience
  • Conversations about Blindness

Confidence Building Activities:

  • Improvisation Training
  • Formal Dinner/Dance
  • Rock Climbing
  • Drivers Education Experience
  • Movies
  • Grilling
  • Business and Social Networking Skills
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Swimming
  • And much more!

Work Experience

  • Students who are 16 to 18 years old will work part-time in a community-based setting during the last three weeks of the LIFE program. In some instances, staff and/or parents will recommend that a 16 to 18-year-old student continue to focus on blindness skills (Travel skills, Braille, Access Technology, and Cooking) during the last three weeks of the program. 
  • Students who are 14 to 15 years old will not participate in a work experience. However, they will participate in the full five weeks of blindness skills training. This will benefit those students who do not have the opportunity to receive continuous blindness skills training during the school year.

Requirements for LIFE?

Students must:

  • Actively participate in all five weeks of the program (unless returning to school during the last week of the program)
  • Be between the ages of 14 and 18 and returning to a high school academic program in the fall of 2022 (must be 14 years old on or before July 10, 2022, and must not turn 19 years old before August 12, 2022)
  • Be blind or vision impaired and interested in acquiring blindness skills
  • Be able to participate in a group structured program
  • Be able to take care of personal care needs independently, including managing and self-administering medications
  • Have a valid government-issued photo ID card
  • Have an open or be willing to open a Vocational Rehabilitation case with DBVI

What is the application process for LIFE?

  • Go to 2022 LIFE application, complete, and submit
  • Print and complete the DBVI Health Checklist Form and sign as parent/guardian where it says counselor signature. Then, attach the completed form to the DBVI General Medical Examination Form and take to the student’s physician or another medical professional to complete (must be dated not more than one year prior to the LIFE application submission date).
  • Print the DBVI Eye Exam Report and have it completed by a medical professional (must be dated not more than one year prior to the LIFE application submission date)

*If a student attended a summer program at VRCBVI in the past, the health checklist and eye report form submitted for that program is acceptable, provided the parent(s) submit a statement that the student’s health and/or eye report information has not changed and is still accurate.

  • Include a copy of the student’s current IEP
  • Scan all completed forms and send to Brooke Rogers, Rogers@dbvi.virginia.gov or mail to 401 Azalea Ave., Richmond, VA 23227 – Attention: Brooke Rogers.

Please note:  Only complete applications received by midnight May 8, 2022, will be considered. VRCBVI will not accept forms piecemeal; please submit your forms all attached to one email or all in the same envelope.

Here is a checklist of forms to be submitted once all are complete:

  • DBVI Health Checklist Form,
  • General Medical Examination Form,
  • DBVI Eye Exam Report,
  • student’s current IEP
  • After the application deadline, all complete applications will be reviewed.
  • All applicants will be notified by May 25, 2022, of their acceptance status.
  • Students accepted into the LIFE program and their parent(s) will participate in an informational interview by phone with VRCBVI staff, which will be scheduled by Greg Chittum, Coordinator for Community Engagement.
  • Get your application in quickly, as a maximum of 22* participants will be accepted into the program. NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER MAY 8, 2022.

For additional information about the LIFE Program, please contact:
Greg Chittum
Coordinator for Community Engagement
Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired
401 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23227
(804) 371-3204
Email: greg.chittum@dbvi.virginia.gov

*Subject to change due to COVID protocols