Skip to Content

AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

The Hatlen Center, A Program of Junior Blind - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

The Hatlen Center, A Program of Junior Blind
2430 Road 20 #B112
San Pablo, CA 94806-5005
(510) 234-4984 (Local)
(510) 234-4986 (Fax)

Brief Description

The Hatlen Center is the first transition program and was founded in 1972 by Dr. Philip Hatlen, retired Supt. of Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The Hatlen Center is a residential program that teaches people who are blind or visually impaired to live independently by actually living independently. Since 1972, the Center's learn-by-doing apartment setting has helped to empower generations of visually impaired people to take charge of their own lives.

The Hatlen Center is located in a 76-unit apartment complex in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Center rents office/classroom space from the management, and the students live in eight, two-bedroom apartments. Each student has his/her own bedroom, and shares the dining room, kitchen, living room, and bathroom with a roommate.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 AM-4:30 PM.
Clients served on average per year: 30-35
Number of staff: 9 full time and 2 part time
Staff description: 2 1/2 mobility instructors, 2 1/2 living skills instructors, 2 adaptive technology instructor, part time Executive Director, Program Director, Program Assistant, Night Aide
Geographic area served: Nationwide
Publications: Beyond TV Dinners (cookbook) and Skills Center Curriculum Guide, published by the American Printing House for the Blind. How to Succeed in College For Those Who Are Visually Impaired; Safety Handbook, Grocery Store Curriculum. Quick & Easy Expanded Core Curriculum by American Printing House


Faith Dunham-Sims, Orientation & Mobility Instructor and Job Readiness Instructor
Rachel Feinberg, Assistive Technology and Braille Instructor
Erin Foley, Program Director, (510) 234-4984,
Joyce Lerner, Living Skills and Orientation & Mobility Instructor
Patricia Maffei, Program Director, (510) 234-4984,
Samir Shaibi, Living Skills Instructor
Lee Staub, Orientation & Mobility Instructor
Arif Syed, Coordinator of Computer/Technology Center, (510) 234-4984,
Jenna Whitelaw, Orientation & Mobility Instructor

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Offers braille instruction to its students.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Offers training in the use of other adaptive technology.
  • Counseling
    • Provides assertiveness training and referrals to community services. Refers for other counseling/social work services.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Performs broad evaluations and provides training in the following skills in client's apartment and in the community: cooking, cleaning, care of clothing, financial management and bill paying, orientation and mobility, adaptive technology, transition to college, housing, pre-vocationl skills.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Provides prevocational evaluation and training, career/skill counseling, follow-up service. Places students in part-time volunteer and/or paid positions.
  • Information and Referral
    • Provides extensive information and referral services via telephone.
  • Recreation Services
    • Offers camping, skiing, sea kayaking, shopping, hiking, regular informal exercise program, jogging, swimming, and yoga.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides orientation and mobility training.

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Students are evaluated in all the areas of the curriculum, including Living Skills, Orientation and Mobility, Adaptive Technology, Financial Management, Pre-vocational, and Braille if appropriate. An individualized program is designed to meet each student's personal needs, goals, interests and abilities.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • If appropriate, students are evaluated in Braille skills, and an individualized curriculum is designed for each student. Practical use of Braille is encouraged and fostered in all curriculum areas.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • The Hatlen Center's Access Technology Lab is located in an apartment within the complex where the students live. Individual lessons are held during the day, and the lab is also open in the evenings for students to use. Students are taught to use technology in their daily lives to communicate, access information, complete college courses, and gain information about jobs and housing. Students are invited to try out various software and hardware to determine which technologies best suit their individual needs.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Cooking: Instruction occurs in the students’ apartments. Since there is no cafeteria, students learn from the beginning to choose what they would like to learn to cook, shop for their food, cook for themselves, and learn to store their food safely.

      Cleaning: Roommates share the responsibility for keeping their apartment clean. Curriculum includes knowledge of cleaning products and equipment, cleaning skills and effective cleaning habits.

      Care of Clothing: This area involves everything from learning how to fold clothing to learning about clothing styles.

  • Employment/Job Training
    • All curriculum is ultimately geared toward employment, but no area of the curriculum is more important than The Hatlen Center's extensive FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT curriculum. The Hatlen Center has the only program where students pay their own rent and all other bills and develop very real credit reputations. Students learn organization skills, time management, communication skills, and self-advocacy.

      The Hatlen Center's Pre-Vocational program includes job exploration, interviewing skills, job applications, and resume writing. In addition, when a student has gained independence in the basics of independent living skills, each one is encouraged to move to the next step. That step may be going to school or finding part-time or volunteer work, if appropriate.

  • Recreation Services
    • The Hatlen Center believes that a wide variety of recreational activities broadens students experience and boosts self-esteem.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Students receive cane travel training in local areas and in the wider San Francisco Bay Area. Emphasis is on practical use of skills and safe, independent travel.

Ongoing Events/Programs

The Hatlen Center for the Blind Transition Program

The Hatlen Center, A Program of Junior Blind, is this page missing one of your services, events, programs, or announcements? Update your information for free.

Join Our Mission

Help us expand our resources for people with vision loss.