Mission: To empower people impacted by vision loss to live with independence and dignity.
About the Organization: Founded in 1962 as Community Services for the Blind, which then merged with the Metropolitan Atlanta Association for the Blind in 1973 under the name Atlanta Area Services for the Blind, the Center for the Visually Impaired was renamed again in 1987 to reflect the wide range of services it provides to blind and visually impaired individuals in Georgia. Today, the organization provides rehabilitation and educational services to more than four thousand individuals, including low vision clinics, support groups, and services customized for different age groups.
Current Programs: CVI's Florence Maxwell Low Vision Clinic — named for the philanthropist who in 1980 donated the building CVI had been leasing since 1974 — provides children age 5 and older with evaluations, tools, and resources at several locations in addition to the main clinic in its Atlanta headquarters building. The organization's community-based services are designed to promote self-sufficiency and self-esteem for blind and visually impaired adults and include mobility training, medication management, the labeling of food and other household items, money management, home maintenance assistance, and case management services.
Programs for specific age groups include the BEGIN Infancy, Early Childhood & Preschool Services program, which provides assessments, specialized classes and individual visits, training, and short-term counseling and support for parents of blind or visually impaired children; the STARS (Social, Therapeutic, Academic and Recreational Services) program, which offers afterschool enrichment, summer camps, mentoring, and weekend recreational events focused on supporting functional academic, social interaction, independent living, and recreation and leisure skills, as well as career education and the use of assistive technology; and the New View Adult Rehabilitation Program, which provides classes, both at CVI headquarters and in the community, focused on traveling safely and independently, taking care of oneself and one's home, and using technology, as well as career services and support groups designed to help the blind and visually impaired cope with the emotional, practical, and social aspects of vision loss.
Website: Visitors to the CVI site can learn about the organization's services, apply to one of its programs, or refer a blind or visually impaired individual to the organization; browse an FAQ; or explore the personal journeys of extraordinary individuals who have faced vision loss with courage and determination, shared via personal stories and videos. They also can check out the CVI blog; browse the VisAbility Hub store for assistive technology devices, Braille items, canes and accessories, and various other aids; and/or learn more about supporting the organization's work through planned giving, by making a donation, or by volunteering. In addition, all pages on the site offer a "Listen" option via ReadSpeaker.
Funding: The Center for the Visually Impaired is funded by the United Way of Greater Atlanta (5 percent), other public charities, foundations, corporations, and individuals.