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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
2500 El Camino Real
Suite 100
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 858-0202 (Local)
(650) 858-0214 (Fax)

Brief Description

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 9:00 AM-4:30 PM.
Clients served on average per year: 2400
Number of staff: 20 FTE
Staff description: Staff includes living skills specialists, O&M specialists, computer instructor, counselor, social workers, low vision optometrists, a low vision assistant, two community outreach coordinators, health library volunteers, and management staff.
Geographic area served: San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties
Publications: Insight (newsletter); Shared Visions (client newsletter).


Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Santa Cruz
3315B Mission Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95065


Pam Brandin, Executive Director
Kristin Green, LCSW, Social Services Supervisor, (650) 858-0202 115,
Sharon Hudson, Associate Director, (650) 858-0202 111,
Paul Raskin, Supervisor of Rehabilitation Services, (650) 858-0202 112,
Garlyn Serame, Low Vision Clinic Director, (650) 858-0202 121,

Services Offered

  • Services for Students
    • Youth Group provides recreational as well as educational opportunities for developing and improving social and living skills. Also provides TVI, O&M and ADL to the school districts in Santa Clara and San Benito Counties.
  • Services for Adults

    • Assessment
      • Provides initial assessment in client's home to determine needs.
    • Assistive Products
      • Low vision devices and canes. Store on site at both Palo Alto and Santa Cruz offices.
    • Community Outreach Programs
      • Speakers give presentations about agency services to other organizations and classrooms.
    • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
      • Computer training is offered to students of all ages and at all levels of competency, using access technology.
    • Counseling
      • Offers individual and peer counseling and support groups.
    • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
      • Provides training in personal management, medical management, home management, recreational, social, daily living, and communication skills, including braille.
    • Information and Referral
      • Provides information and referrals to other sources in the community.
    • Library Services
      • Maintains the Health Library at Vista Center, a branch of the Stanford Hospital Library, with books about scientifically based information about vision loss and rehabilitation. Volunteers do online searches for medical information for those who are blind or visually impaired.
    • Low Vision Services
      • Provides low vision evaluation with demonstration of optical aids and referrals to other Vista Center services. Prescribes and orders low vision devices and provides training in their use. Offers a low vision education class, "Choices and Changes."
    • Services for Seniors
      • Vista Center provides a full range of programs for seniors including Low Vision exams, Orientation and Mobility training, Living Skills training, computer training, counseling and support groups, I&R, and a store.
    • Support Groups
      • Offers support groups for seniors and people of working age and Spanish speaking clients.
    • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
      • Provides orientation and mobility training for all ages. Contracts with school districts to provide individual O&M instruction to students.
    • Volunteer Services
      • Trained volunteers provide one-on-one assistance to clients.

    Services for Children

    • Braille and Reading Instruction
      • Offers instruction in contracted and uncontracted English Braille. Instruction can be provided individually or in classes. Instruction prepares the student to read and emboss the type of braille that is commonly used in the community. Both visually impaired and sighted students are welcome to attend our braille classes.
    • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
      • Presents an overview of many devices and tools that make everyday tasks and information accessible to visually impaired people.
    • Information and Referral
      • Offers comprehensive information and referral services about local community, state or national resources available for individuals who are blind and visually impaired.
    • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
      • Teaches adults and children who have vision impairments the specific skills needed to find their way through their environment and to travel safely and efficiently at home, school, work, and through the community.

    Services for Professionals

    • Professional Training
      • Offers in-service professional training and internships for master's degree program participants desiring credentials in orientation and mobility or daily living skills.
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