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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 2019
  • 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!

Dates to remember for LIFE

  • Application Deadline: April 12, 2019
  • Program Begins: July 7, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.
  • Program Ends: August 9, 2019 – 12:00 p.m.
  • Student and parent wrap-up meetings: August 9, 2019 - 8:15 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Graduation Ceremony: August 9, 2019 – 11:00 a.m.



Classes:

  • Braille
  • Cooking
  • Personal and Home Management
  • Travel Skills
  • Keyboarding/Computers
  • Access Technology
  • Job Readiness
  • Work Experience
  • Conversations about Blindness

Confidence Building Activities:

  • High Ropes Adventure Course
  • Improvisation training
  • Formal Dinner/Dance
  • Rock Climbing
  • Driver’s Education Experience
  • Movies
  • Grilling
  • Business and Social Networking Skills
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Swimming
  • And much more!

Work Experience

  • Students work part-time in a community-based setting during the last three weeks of LIFE.
  • In some instances staff will recommend that a student continue to focus on blindness skills (Travel Skills, Braille, Access Technology, and Cooking) during the last three weeks of the program. 

Requirements for LIFE?

Students must:

  • Be able to actively participate in all five weeks of the program (unless returning to school)
  • Be between the ages of 14 and 18 and be returning to a high school academic program in the fall of 2019 (14 years old on or before July 7 and must not turn 19 years old before August 9)
  • 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

What is the application process for LIFE?

  1. Go to https://vrcbvi.org/programs.htm
  2. Click on https://www.formrouter.net/forms@VRCB/2019LIFEApplication.html, complete application, and submit
  3. Print the https://vrcbvi.org/downloads/HealthChecklist-GeneralMedicalExamination_702070004.doc and have it completed by a medical professional (must be dated no more than one year prior to the LIFE application submission date)
  4. Print the https://vrcbvi.org/downloads/BVI_EyeExamReport_702070002.doc and have it completed by a medical professional (must be dated no more than one year prior to the LIFE application submission date)
    • (If a student attended a summer program at VRCBVI in 2018, the health checklist and eye report form submitted for that program are acceptable, provided the parent(s) submit a statement that the student’s 2018 health and/or eye report information have not changed and are still accurate)

  5. Include a copy of the student’s IEP
  6. Scan all completed forms (DBVI health checklist/general medical form, DBVI eye report form and student’s IEP) and e-mail to Rogers@dbvi.virginia.gov no later than April 12, 2019. They may also be mailed to 401 Azalea Ave. Richmond, VA 23227 – Attention: Brooke Rogers. Incomplete applications will be returned but may be resubmitted when complete prior to the deadline.
  • After the application deadline, all applications will be reviewed.  Student and parent(s) will participate in an informational interview by phone with VRCBVI staff, which will be scheduled by Greg Chittum, Coordinator for Community Engagement. 
  • All applicants will be notified by May 10, 2019 of their acceptance status.
  • Get your application in quickly, as a maximum of 22 participants will be accepted into the program. NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER APRIL 12, 2019.

For additional information about the LIFE Program, or to schedule a tour of VRCBVI, please contact:
Greg Chittum, Coordinator for Community Engagement
Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired
401 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23227
(804) 371-3151
Email: Greg.Chittum@dbvi.virginia.gov
Facebook: VDBVI
https://www.vrcbvi.org/

LIFE Testimonials

Here’s what previous participants had to say about their LIFE experience at VRCBVI:

I loved the instructors and how the classes get you to think and challenge yourself.
My favorite activities were probably rock climbing and Challenge Discovery. These activities are the ones that meant the most to me because they are the ones that really challenged me and got me out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot about myself and gained confidence during these activities.
I liked the recreational activities because they were different every day and challenged me to do things I had never done before. Orientation and mobility helped me be sure of my surroundings and helped me know I can do things non-visually or with my residual vision.
It was really awesome learning skills like slicing a tomato, which I definitely used at my job, improving slate and stylus skills, and analyzing intersections. I feel much more confident about my ability to travel independently.
Working at the job I had this year, I did stuff I never get to do such as drive a forklift and help fix an airplane.
I learned how to use my cane better. I learned how to bake and give a waitress a tip at a restaurant. I learned how to be more independent. At work, I was taught how to use many different tools for a job like using a blow torch.
I learned how to use my other senses, not just my vision, which I never really did. I also learned how to actually type, not just hunt and peck. I’ve learned how to communicate with people better, and how to cook and take care of my home.
When I return home, I will be cooking more and doing things myself, such as chopping things in the kitchen. I feel like I could live by myself and be okay.
All I have to say is that this Program was the best summer program I’ve ever been a part of. I hope to come here again in the future.

Are You Ready to LEAP Into College?

Learning Excellence in Academics Program

What is LEAP?

  • Three week collaborative program between Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired (VRCBVI)
  • Opportunity for rising high school juniors and seniors and high school graduates from spring 2019 to assess college-readiness skills, enhance awareness of the academic and blindness-related demands of college, and evaluate ability to manage time and priorities
  • Classes taught on the VCU campus by college professors and/or graduate students
  • Classes graded according to collegiate standards (not reflected on transcript)
  • LEAP participants housed in the VRCBVI dormitory
  • SPACE IS LIMITED FOR THE LEAP PROGRAM – APPLY NOW!

Dates to remember for LEAP

  • Application Deadline: Monday, April 15, 2019
  • Program Begins: 1:00 p.m., Sunday, July 7, 2019
  • Program Check-in: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Sunday, July 7, 2019
  • Graduation Ceremony: 11:30 to 1:30 p.m., Friday, July 26, 2019 (VCU Larrick Center)
  • Students must depart the LEAP Program residence no later than 3:30 p.m., Friday, July 26, 2019

LEAP Overview

Explore STEM-H Majors and Careers - see Sample Schedule below:

Times Monday @ VCU Tuesday @ VCU Wednesday @ VCU Thursday @ VCU Friday @ VRCBVI
9:00-11:00 am Academic Writing 9:00-10:30 Intro to Science 9:00-12:00 Academic Writing 9:00-10:30 Intro to Science 9:00-12:00 Academic Writing 9:00-10:30
10:30-12:00 pm Library Time   Library Time   Library Time
12:00-1:00 pm Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1:00-2:00 pm Intro to Engineering VCU 101* Intro to Engineering VCU 101* Intro to Engineering
2:00-2:30 pm Break Break Break Break Break
2:30-3:30 pm Intro to Engineering VCU 101* Intro to Engineering VCU 101* Intro to Engineering

LEAP Assessment Feedback

In addition to VCU grades, feedback will be provided to students and parents after the completion of the LEAP program. Students will be able to meet by teleconference with their VR Counselor, designated VRCBVI staff and parents to discuss assessment results and recommendations.

Requirements for LEAP

  • Be blind or vision impaired
  • Be a rising junior or senior in high school or have graduated from high school during the spring of 2019 and plan to attend college
  • Have an existing personal e-mail account (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.)
  • Bring a laptop, Mac or Chromebook with access technology (JAWS, Zoomtext, or equivalent) to participate in classes and complete assignments
  • Have a method for taking written notes during class
  • Be able to participate in a full three-week program
  • Be able to participate in a program that is group structured
  • Be able to travel independently, crossing controlled and uncontrolled intersections
  • Be able to take care of his/her own medical and personal care needs
  • Have a valid Commonwealth of Virginia ID card

What is the application process for LEAP?

Complete the online LEAP application at this link: LEAP Application
The first question asks you which organization you are affiliated with. Please select “Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI).”)

The following documents must be submitted by the April 15 deadline to complete the LEAP application:

  1. Documented GPA of 2.5 or above (unofficial transcripts are fine)
  2. Two letters of reference (one must be an academic reference)
    For your references, please use the recommendation form located within the online LEAP application
  3. The DBVI General Health Form signed by a doctor (unless submitted for a VRCBVI program in 2018; if so, send a note indicating no change in health)
  4. The DBVI Eye Report Form signed by a doctor (unless submitted for a VRCBVI program in 2018; if so, send a note indicating no change in vision)

Please mail, fax, or email the academic transcript and letters of reference to VCU, Division for Academic Success:

  • VCU, Division for Academic Success
  • ATTN: Debbie Roberts
  • Box 980124
  • 1000 E. Marshall St.
  • Richmond, VA 23298
  • Fax # 804-828-4609
  • dlroberts@vcu.edu

Please mail, fax or email the DBVI General Health Form and DBVI Eye Report Form to VRCBVI:

  • Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired
  • ATTN: Brooke Rogers
  • 401 Azalea Ave.
  • Richmond, VA 23227
  • Fax # 804-371-3092
  • brooke.rogers@dbvi.virginia.gov

Hurry! Applications will only be accepted until midnight on April 15, 2019.

  • After April 15th, complete applications will be reviewed and interviews will be scheduled with those applicants chosen for an interview. Final decisions on acceptance will be made by early May.
  • If the applicant has a DBVI VR counselor, he/she will be notified of the applicant’s acceptance into LEAP, and the counselor must complete and submit a DBVI Service Authorization.
  • Upon acceptance into LEAP, additional forms will be required. These will come from VCU and must be signed and returned for program participation.

For additional information or to tour VRCBVI, please contact Greg Chittum:
Phone: (804) 371-3151 Email: greg.chittum@dbvi.virginia.gov


For additional information about the LEAP program, or to schedule a tour of VRCBVI, please contact:

Greg Chittum, Special Projects Coordinator
Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired
401 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23227
(804) 371-3151
greg.chittum@dbvi.virginia.gov

Facebook: VDBVI
www.vrcbvi.org