STEP - SUMMER Transition and Empowerment Program

Since 1985, the Louisiana Center for the Blind has been changing what it means to be blind for adults from across America. In 1990, a program was created to address the needs of blind high school students. The Summer Transition and Empowerment Program (STEP) is designed to introduce blind teenagers to positive blind role models and to provide them with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for living the lives they want.

Students engage in interconnected activities designed to foster confidence through vital skills acquisition. Classes in Braille, Cane Travel, Technology Literacy, and Home Management are taught by qualified blind instructors. In addition, seminars will be conducted in the areas of workplace readiness (including social interaction, self-advocacy, and other critical “soft skills”), job interviewing Dos and Don’ts, resume writing, and employee rights and responsibilities.

The second phase of STEP will continue all aspects of training and expand to include an employment dimension. Students will have the opportunity to participate in 40 hours of internship experience--for which they will receive the Federal minimum wage. They will be introduced to a broad spectrum of career possibilities as they explore postsecondary options including guidance with regard to applying for and beginning their higher education journey.

The combination of workplace readiness activities, internship experience, and blindness skills--along with fun-filled activities such as cookouts, swimming, community service projects, mall excursions, and various other outings--will cultivate and strengthen self-confidence and independence in blind teens and better equip them for life now and after high school.

From July 7-12, students will attend the national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Las Vegas, Nevada. This exciting conference will allow them to meet thousands of competent blind people from across the country including educators and career mentors. The students will also have the chance to participate in a wide variety of informative seminars and youth-oriented social and life skills activities.

August 9 and 10, parents will be REQUIRED to attend a Parents’ Weekend which will enable them to discover how much their children have learned throughout the summer. STEP is designed to provide invaluable internship experience, friendships, opportunities for personal growth, and cherished memories.

Training will begin June 16 and conclude August 10. We recognize that there may be some overlap between the start and/or conclusion of our program and school district dates. If accepted, we are happy to coordinate with a student’s school district in this regard. 

Due to limited space, we cannot guarantee that every applicant will be granted enrollment, and applicants must have an open case with their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency or other funding entity to cover program costs.

 Questions? Please call our Director of Youth Services, Eric Guillory at 800-234-4166. You may complete an application.

 "Together, we are changing what it means to be blind." Check out STEP and find out how.