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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 2018
  • 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 6, 2018
  • Program Begins: 1:00 p.m., July 8, 2018
  • Program Ends: 12:00 p.m., August 10, 2018
  • Student/parent meeting with staff: 8:15 - 9:30 a.m., August 10, 2018
  • Student and parent wrap-up meetings: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., August 10, 2018
  • Graduation Ceremony: 11:00 a.m., August 10, 2018



Daily Life

Classes:

  • Braille
  • Cooking
  • Personal and Home Management
  • Travel
  • Keyboarding/Computers
  • Access Technology
  • Physical Fitness and Wellness Instruction
  • College 101
  • Job Readiness
  • Work Experience
  • Conversations about Blindness

Confidence Building Activities:

  • High Ropes Adventure Course
  • Improvisation training
  • Formal Dinner/Dance
  • Rock Climbing
  • You “Auto” Know
  • Movies
  • Grilling
  • Hiking
  • 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, Braille, Access Technology, and Cooking) during the last three weeks of the program. 

Requirements for LIFE?

Students must:

  • Be between the ages of 14-18 years old and be returning to a high school academic program in the fall of 2018
  • Be blind or vision impaired and interested in acquiring blindness skills
  • Be able to actively participate in all five weeks of the program
  • 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?

  • Click on 2018 LIFE application, complete and submit (have a parent or DBVI VR counselor assist if needed)
  • Print the DBVI health checklist/general medical form and have it completed by a medical professional (must be dated no more than one year prior to the LIFE application submission date)
  • Print the DBVI eye report form 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 2017, the health form submitted for that program is acceptable, provided the parent(s) submit a statement that the student’s 2017 health information has not changed and is still accurate.
  • Get a copy of the student’s IEP
  • Scan all completed forms (DBVI health checklist/general medical form, DBVI eye report form and student’s IEP) and e-mail to Brooke.Rogers@dbvi.virginia.gov no later than April 6, 2018. 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 15, 2018 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 6, 2018.

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?

  • Five week collaborative program with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the Capital Area Health Education Center (CapAHEC) 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 2018 to assess their 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: Sunday, April 15, 2018
  • Program Begins: 1:00 p.m., Sunday, July 8, 2018
  • Graduation Ceremony: 11:30 to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, August 9, 2018 (MCV campus of VCU)
  • Students must depart the VRCBVI campus no later than 12:00 p.m., Friday, August 10, 2018

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 9:00-11:00 Intro to Science 9:00-12:00 Academic Writing 9:00-11:00 Intro to Science 9:00-12:00 VRCBVI Blindness and Access Technology Skills** 8:15 - 12:00
11:00-12:00 pm Library Time   Library Time    
12:00-1:00 pm Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch at VRCBVI
1:00-2:00 pm Intro to Math/Coding Intro to Math/Coding Intro to Math/Coding Intro to Math/Coding VRCBVI Blindness and Access Technology Skills** 1:00 – 5:00
2:00-2:30 pm Break Break Break Break  
2:30-3:30 pm VCU 101* VCU 101* VCU 101* VCU 101*  

** VRCBVI Blindness and Access Technology Skills

On Fridays at VRCBVI, LEAP students will take skills of blindness classes (e.g., cane travel, access technology, personal and home management, braille). Students are encouraged to use the skills they learn in their Friday classes throughout the LEAP program.


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 and VCU 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 2018 and plan to attend college
  • Have an existing personal e-mail account (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.)
  • Bring to the program a laptop, Mac or Chromebook with access technology (JAWS, Zoomtext, or equivalent) in order to participate in college classes and complete assignments
  • Have a method for taking written notes during class
  • Be able to participate in a full five-week program
  • Be able to participate in a program that is group structured
  • 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 the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VCULEAP18 (The first question asks you which organization you are affiliated with. Please select “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)
  3. For your references, please use the recommendation form at this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzeVh104voG0LVNHQW8ta3pUeTA/view
  4. Personal statement of 250-500 words (with your full name and the words “VCU LEAP” as the heading). Include information on your academic/career goals, your interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and health (STEM-H), and why you are applying to this program.

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

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


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