The Blind Center of Nevada assists blind and visually impaired persons of all ages in reaching their highest physical, social, intellectual, and economic potential. To achieve these objectives there are three focus areas: personal development, social interaction and meaningful employment.
Blind Center of Nevada History
Marion Keele Founder of The Blind Center of Nevada
Creating a place in Las Vegas to offer help and employment for blind people was F. Marion Keele’s dream since 1934 when he became totally blind at the age 38. After spending time at the Utah Blind Center in Salt Lake City, Marion, with his wife, Effie, learned to teach Braille, rug weaving, leatherwork and other handicrafts to their blind compatriots. In addition to teaching these valuable skills to blind people living in Las Vegas, Marion lobbied State legislators in Carson City to increase state aid to the blind which, at that time, was $20 per month. The Nevada Association of the Blind, held its first meetings in the Keele’s home.
Effie Keele, Co-Founder of The Blinda Center
Upon Marion’s death in 1955, one of his students, Audrey Bascom Tait, continued Marion’s work and on February 5, 1955 filed Articles of Incorporation for Southern Nevada Sightless. As time went on Audrey convinced the Lion’s Club to help her find a place where chair caning and rug weaving could have a permanent home and in so doing, provide steady work for people who are blind.
Fast forwarding to early the 2000’s saw the Las Vegas valley bursting with growth and opportunity. To keep pace with the valley’s growth and to better meet the needs of its growing population of people who are blind/visually impaired, the “Sightless Center” went through a tremendous metamorphosis. The renamed, “Blind Center of Nevada” brought on a community-based Board of Directors, opened an award-winning day center, began offering daily transportation, hot meals and much more—all with the mission to help persons who are blind and visually impaired reach their highest physical, social, intellectual, and economic potential.”
Blind Center's Original Building Built by The Lions Club in 1960
The Blind Center of Nevada accomplishes this through a myriad of social activities, job and life skills training, meaningful employment, and most importantly love thus creating a sense of belonging to a people who are sometimes lost and forgotten.
The Blind Center of Nevada—helping the blind and visually impaired to see both their individual worth and their amazing potential.
Meaningful social activities help our members to learn individual worth, to gain new skills, to progress and grow and to both show and recieve love. Though faced with challenges life can still be fun and full of joy. At the Blind Center of Nevada we feel that joy through some of the following activities:
Much of self-worth is built through accomplishment and self-reliance. At the Blind Center of Nevada we strive to help our members achieve desired levels of independence by providing different opportunities including . . .
People who are blind or visually impaired have an unemployment rate of over 70%. The Blind Center of Nevada provides jobs for the blind and visually impaired.
Gary is an eBay lister. Through eBay Gary sells used electronics such as printers and unused toner cartridges. Through magnification software Gary is able to read the computer screen and excel at his job.
Malia has battled vision problems in recent year. Malia performs as a "Computer Destroyer", demanufacturing aged computers for recycling
Ben Schedules E-waste Pickups and Serves as a supervisor of our telemarketing efforts.
Wayne is an E-waste Marketer at the Blind Center working with local businesses to garner e-waste pickups. Wayne who lost his sight four years ago uses "Jaws" to read the computer screen.
Ivan practices his computer skills and peruses Facebook.
Computers are a great equalizer for people who are blind or visually impaired. Magnification software and screen readers open the world of computers to the blind and visually impaired. For the newly blind, relearning how to operate a computer or even to type takes some practice and learning.
The Blind Center has computer classes offered in a computer lab that is open to members. This provides another social opportunity for our members. Further, each computer in the lab is equipped with adaptive technology–ironically adaptive software is prohibitively expensive for home computers of most in the blind community.
The Blind Center of Nevada teaches braille
Braille is a series of six bumps which represent the letters of the alphabet. The Blind Center of Nevada holds braille classes to help our members gain an extra level of independence.
It’s a happy place really. Despite the challenges people here face.
They are people like you and like me. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. Friends.
They’re workers – an Office Manager, a Chef, an Executive, a Warehouse Worker, a Stay-At-Home Mom…
Then blindness strikes; sometimes quickly, sometimes gradual. The causes of blindness vary – a car accident, a Lasik surgery gone badly, a casualty of war, or a common disease like diabetes, but no matter what the cause sight is gone or greatly diminished.
Lives change. Roles are different. Hopelessness can set in. Nobody plans on going blind.
The Blind Center of Nevada is here to help that person put their life back together, to learn the beauty of individual worth, to gain some of the independence that was lost, and to build a new circle of friends. And, most of all to rebuild hope and feel loved.
Some at The Blind Center of Nevada have experienced blindness since birth. They too face unique challenges.
But whether a person’s site is lost later in life or perhaps if it never existed, The Blind Center of Nevada is here to provide training, jobs, friendship, activities, and love.
So you see, it is a happy place, a wonderful place where people who are blind both see and reach their true potential.