GIVE through
December 31

Vista Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Organization Mission

Vision loss affects one in eight people in Santa Cruz County. Vista Center’s mission is to empower individuals who are visually impaired or blind to embrace life to its fullest through evaluation, counseling, education and training.

The Big Idea:
Vision for Our Youth Tomorrow

Students who are blind or visually impaired face many educational challenges that put them at greater risk for school failure than their sighted peers. Most youth with vision impairments in our community don’t have access to technology outside of school, nor the training they need, and lack a connection with mentors.

New adaptive technology evens the playing field, opening doors that would otherwise remain closed, and allowing effectiveness not only at school, but in work and social interactions.

Vista Center’s training program, Vision for Our Youth Tomorrow, provides middle and high school students with visual impairments with adaptive technology, training, mentoring and support to prepare them for higher education and a career. Learning to use an iPad as a mini computer, students with vision impairments can accomplish word processing, email, web research and most importantly, read books easily. They can take notes and turn in assignments just like their sighted peers.

Vista Center offer classes, tech labs and user groups/workshops geared specifically for middle or high school students and provides each youth with an iPad upon completion of the program, ensuring continued independence.

Vista Center also partners with local technology companies to provide hands-on, real world experiences for students. Past companies and local partners include Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and UCSC.

I have gained self-confidence and knowledge about different apps that will be useful to me on a daily basis. The (Vista Center’s) program is going to make a big difference for me at school this year, especially with reading. Also knowing how to use VoiceOver will help me write papers for school. I loved meeting all of the cool people, and learning about apps I didn’t know about like Seeing AI and Swift playground.

Alma, Santa Cruz, age 14.

“I hope you are able to continue this program. I would not know how to help her. Thank you for giving her this opportunity.”

Alma’s mother, Santa Cruz.