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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 2021
  • 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: May 8, 2021
  • Program Begins: July 11, 2021 - 1:00 p.m.
  • Program Ends: August 13, 2021 - 12:00 p.m.
  • Graduation Ceremony: August 13, 2021 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Student/parent meetings with staff via Zoom: August 16-18, times will be scheduled



Classes:

  • Braille
  • Cooking
  • Personal and Home Management
  • Travel skills using a long white cane
  • 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
    • Drivers 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 the LIFE program.
  • 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:

  • 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 2021 (must be 14 years old on or before July 11, 2021 and must not turn 19 years old before August 13, 2021)
  • 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 2021 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 student’s physician or other 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 are 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 (DBVI Health Checklist Form, General Medical Examination Form, DBVI Eye Exam Report, and student’s current IEP) and e-mail to Brooke.Rogers@dbvi.virginia.gov or mail to 401 Azalea Ave., Richmond, VA 23227 – Attention: Brooke Rogers.
    Only complete applications received by May 8, 2021, will be considered. VRCBVI will not accept forms piecemeal; please submit your forms all attached to one email or all in the same envelope.
  • After the application deadline, all complete applications will be reviewed.
  • All applicants will be notified by May 29, 2021, 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 Amy Phelps, Assistant Director for Instruction.
  • Get your application in quickly, as a maximum of 15 participants will be accepted into the program. NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER MAY 8, 2021.

For additional information about the LIFE Program, or to participate in a LIFE Program FAQ session (6pm to 7pm on March 2 or April 1) please contact:
Amy Phelps, CRC, NOMC
Assistant Director for Instruction
Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired
401 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23227
(804) 371-3052
Email: amy.phelps@dbvi.virginia.gov

**If the 2021 LIFE Program is unable to proceed in-person, it will take place virtually. Parents and students will be notified as soon as possible.


VRCBVI's STEPS to Success!

What is the VRCBVI STEPS to Success program?

VRCBVI’s STEPS to Success (Strategies & Techniques for Enhancing Performance & Skills) is a three-week virtual collaborative program between the University of Richmond’s School of Professional & Continuing Studies and the Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired (VRCBVI).  Our innovative program introduces valuable skills, techniques, and strategies to help maximize success in preparing for college or careers.  This year, we are pleased to make this program available to more students by offering a virtual program.

Specialized classes taught by highly experienced and enthusiastic teachers include:

  • Common Application and Supplemental Essay Writing
  • Preparation for the English portion of the S.A.T. test
  • Standardized Test Taking Tips
  • Self-advocacy in college and career
  • Public speaking
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Leadership
  • Time-management and mindfulness
  • Selecting colleges/career paths

Attending the VRCBVI STEPS to Success program will give rising high school juniors and seniors and high school graduates from spring 2021 the opportunity to assess their college-readiness skills, enhance awareness of the academic and blindness-related demands of college, and evaluate their ability to manage time and priorities.

Dates to Remember

  • Application Deadline: Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Classes begin July 5, 2021
  • Closing Ceremony: Friday, July 23, 2021 =

Requirements for the VRCBVI STEPS to Success

  • Be blind or vision impaired
  • Be a rising junior or senior in high school in the fall of 2021 or a spring, 2021 high school graduate planning to attend college
  • Have reliable internet access
  • Have during the STEPS program a laptop, Mac or Chromebook with appropriate access technology (JAWS, Zoomtext, or equivalent) and working audio/video to participate in virtual classes and complete assignments
  • Have an existing personal e-mail account (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.)
  • Have a method for taking written notes during class
  • Be able to participate fully in all three weeks of the virtual program
  • Be able to participate in a program that is group structured
  • Have an open or be willing to open a Vocational Rehabilitation case with Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)

What is the application process for the VRCBVI STEPS to Success program?

The following steps must be completed by the April 30, 2021 deadline.

  1. Complete the online VRCBVI STEPS to Success application (upon completion, you will receive a confirmation email indicating that step 1 of your application has been received)
  2. Submit transcripts documenting GPA of 2.5 or above (unofficial transcripts are acceptable) to Brooke Rogers (see mail, fax and email info below)
  3. Submit two letters of reference (one must be an academic reference) to Brooke Rogers (see mail, fax and email info below)
  4. 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 VRCBVI STEPS to Success application deadline).* Once completed, please send to Brooke Rogers (see mail, fax and email info below).

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

Please mail, fax or email the above to:

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

STEPS to Success Feedback

Feedback will be provided to students and parents after the completion of the program. Students will be able to meet by teleconference with their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, designated VRCBVI staff, and parents to discuss assessment results and recommendations.

Hurry!  Applications will only be accepted until midnight on April 30, 2021.

  • After April 30, complete applications will be reviewed and final decisions on acceptance will be made by May 14.
  • If the applicant has a DBVI VR counselor, he/she will be notified of the applicant’s acceptance into VRCBVI STEPS to Success program, and the counselor must complete and submit a DBVI Service Authorization.
  • Upon acceptance into the VRCBVI STEPS to Success program, students will receive a VRCBVI welcome packet, which provides additional information regarding the class schedule for the virtual program as well as required forms which must be signed and returned by June 18, 2021, in order to confirm acceptance.

For additional information about the LIFE Program, or to schedule a tour of VRCBVI, please contact:
Amy Phelps
Assistant Director for Instruction
Email: amy.phelps@dbvi.virginia.gov
Phone: (804) 371-3052