Organizations: Center for the Visually Impaired
Charles Thomas, 74, felt like a prisoner in his own home.
Because of his declining vision, he had to rely on others for transportation. Then he discovered the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI), where he practiced orientation and mobility skills with a newly acquired white cane. He learned how to cross streets safely, climb stairs and conquer escalators. Today, Thomas mostly travels on his own and walks to church.
“Charles has only just begun his journey with CVI and describes what he has already learned as life changing,” says Fontaine Huey, the center’s president.
CVI, founded 50 years ago, is Georgia’s largest comprehensive, fully accredited private facility providing rehabilitation services for the blind and visually impaired.
“Our mission is to empower people impacted by vision loss to live with independence and dignity, to learn new skills and enjoy life to the fullest,” Huey says.
The Atlanta-based organization serves around 4,000 clients a year of all ages and degrees of impairment, from low vision to total blindness. It has a staff of 53 and a budget derived from a mix of individual, foundation and corporate gifts and grants, government contracts, private pay and medical billing. At CVI, services are never based on a client’s ability to pay.
“When CVI was founded, at the time, rehabilitation services for people with vision loss were just beginning to be developed in a systematic way,” Huey says. “The growth of our organization over the years represents more than an expansion of services – it also reflects the organization’s leadership in working with occupational therapists and other specialists to find new ways to help people live more independently.”