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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Independence for the Blind of West Florida - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Independence for the Blind of West Florida
3107 North Davis Highway
Pensacola, FL 32503
(850) 477-2663 (Local)
(850) 479-4025 (Fax)

Brief Description

Independence for the Blind of West Florida serves persons who are blind or visually impaired in a ten county area in Northwest Florida. The service area includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Bay, Jackson, Washington, Calhoun, and Gulf counties. Services are provided to clients free of charge.

The mission of Independence for the Blind of West Florida is to teach independent living skills, computer and adaptive technology, and provide vocational assessments, training, and employment-related services to people who are blind or visually impaired so they can achieve maximum independence.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Clients served on average per year: 250
Number of staff: 11
Staff description: 9 full-time employees; 2 part-time employee; volunteers assist agency
Geographic area served: The following 10 Counties in Northwest Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Bay, Jackson, Washington, Calhoun,Gulf
Publications: Newsletter(s)


Lindy Brown, AssistiveTechnology Instructor,
Mary Colston, Director of Independent Living Program Quality, (850) 477-2663,
Jason Grills, Director of Operations, (850) 477-2663,
Becky Kirsch, Executive Director, (850) 477-2663,
John O'Dillon, Director of Vocational Rehabilitation Program Quality, (850) 477-2663,
Shonda Walker, Case Coordinator, (850) 477-2663,
Shuntay Williams, Finance Specialist, (850) 477-2663,

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Participates in expos and health fairs to collect information regarding people who need services and referrals through other agencies and telephone community contacts.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Offers training for clients on a vocational tract and for others seeking an additional means of communication. The program includes basic computer operation, standard business software, and the use of computer-related adaptive software and technology.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Provides training in, including but not limited to, personal grooming, housekeeping skills, meal preparation, money identification, record keeping, labeling and organization, orientation skills, sighted guides and cane techniques, use of special adaptive devices, family education and support, and reading and writing to include braille.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Offers vocational training, including, but not limited to, resume writing, interviewing techniques, job seeking, work skills, and job coaching.
  • Information and Referral
    • Refers to other agencies as needed.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Provides low vision assessments to determine magnification strength and training in the use of CCTVs, lamps, and nonoptical aids.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides training for home and business travel, use of travel aids, and sighted guide skills.

Services for Children

  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Provides instruction in Grade 1 and Grade 2 braille reading and the use of Perkins Brailler and slate and stylus.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • The Children's Program assists blind school-aged children in using computer and gaining independent living skills.
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • Early Intervention serves visually impaired babies and pre-school aged children, enhancing all areas of child development with cognitive, daily living skills, orientation and mobility, and sensory and motor skills training, while supporting and educating their families.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Summer Transition prepares high school students for college and the workforce through computer and adaptive software training, socialization and recreational skills, and vocational training such as resume preparation, interviewing skills and internships.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Works with vision teachers in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties to keep them current with technological advances.
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