Youth Transitions programming launches in Glenview

The Chicago Lighthouse North started two exciting new Youth Transitions Programs in June of 2016 – The First Jobs Program and Summer in the City – with the goal of helping youth who are blind or visually impaired successfully develop into independent, confident and capable young adults.

The First Jobs Program is a nine-week intensive training and internship course that combines classroom learning, on-site orientation and paid work experience for students who are blind or visually impaired ages 15-24. Students attend classes on resume writing, career planning, disability disclosure, nonverbal communication skills, self-advocacy, conflict resolution and mock interviewing. They also  learn how to navigate independently within the worksite and travel to and from job sites.  Following a week of training and for the next eight weeks, students work at their designated sites as paid interns. They tested these skills by filling out their first job applications and participating in their first real job interviews. The Glenview Mariano’s grocery store partnered with us to make this a reality. In fact, they hired four of the students permanently!

Summer in the City is a five-day residential program designed to help blind and visually impaired young adults learn life skills. The students spent the week at ICRE-Wood (Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education) in Chicago. Students attended classes in technology, mobility, communication and daily living skills. They spent the evenings exploring all the excitement that Chicago has to offer, like experiencing a Lake Michigan boat cruise, a White Sox game, Navy Pier and downtown restaurants. These experiences allowed the students to enjoy trying out their new skills and independence for the first time.

In both programs, nearly every student showed improvement in all areas.  One participant, Justin, was a quiet youth who was previously afraid to leave the house alone. To him, the program was about “learning how the world works.” Now, he is not only working part time at Mariano’s, he is attending classes at Northeastern Illinois University!

Leave a comment

Back to top