THE MIAMI LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED INC

Rating: 4.74 stars   19 reviews

Issues: Disabilities, Human Services

Location: 601 Sw 8th Ave Miami FL 33130 USA

Mission:

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I spent the morning observing Miami Lighthouse for the Blind's SGA program for seniors. It was amazing. The work they do, under the guidance of Program Coordinator Nelba Gonzalez, is truly "art,” in every sense of the word, with men and women creating beautiful ceramics, elegant weavings and professional quality paintings.

Nelba has taught them to use their minds, their memory, and their sense of touch, to create beauty. Most importantly, the sense of pride they take from the work they are doing goes a long way towards restoring self respect and independence despite their visual disabilities.

The smiles, the laughter and the feeling of friendship amongst the group as they worked made a deep impression on me. The classroom has seating for 50 at long tables, with 150 in the program. Although everyone I spoke to wanted to attend class more often, they are limited to two or three sessions a week because of the real need for additional funds to enlarge this very important program.



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If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to raise funds to enlarge this remarkable program

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind has received accreditation from the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC). NAC is the only accrediting body that solely focuses on standards and best practices for blind and low vision services with the consumer in mind. The Miami Lighthouse has demonstrated that it meets or exceeds the standards set by NAC for delivery of blind and low vision services. The determination for accreditation is a rigorous process that involves self-examination by the organization, an on-site peer review to verify processes and procedures by a team of professionals serving in the field and a review of the findings by the NAC Accreditation Committee. NAC congratulates The Miami Lighthouse on its accredited status.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Review from Guidestar
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As a music educator for the past 30+ years, I have taught all types of students will a myriad of disabilities but I've never seen or been a part of an organization whose dedication is at the level of the Miami Lighthouse. Every person there is committed to their mission statement. They are friendly, hard working people whose sole purpose is to make the lives of the clients a little better each and every day.

The clients receive a snack in the morning and a free lunch, if they wish. They are treated with respect and dignity. Every staff member from executive officers down to maintenance and custodial workers alike all pitch in to ensure the staff is taken care of.

Virginia Jacko, CEO and President of the Miami Lighthouse sets the finest standard she wants her staff to emmulate. It is her standard that the staff strives to live up to. I have nothing but the finest regard for the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

As the Vocal Director for the Better Chance Music Production Program and one of the co-authors of the Music Braille on line course, I feel privileged to be a part of such a magnificent organization. The scope of services which the Lighthouse offers to the clients far exceeds its expectations because the staff takes the time to provide those special personal touches which mean so much to those we serve. The Better Chance Music Production Program offers young people the chance to express themselves through music, while receiving instruction from world-class musicians. They also have the opportunity to compose and record their own music right at the Lighthouse. The Music program is unique because it is an inclusion program which combines blind, visually impaired and sighted students in a musical setting where everyone is equal and everyone is valued for their talent and expertise. The Lighthouse is very excited about our new Music Braille course! With the assistance of the Carroll center, we are about to launch a ground- breaking project wherein blind and visually impaired students can learn Music Braille independently, via the computer. This type of instruction has never been attempted before and we believe we have the key to bringing the gift of music to blind and visually impaired people.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 4 stars  

Submitted by Stephen Podley. The Miami Lighthouse is an outstanding resource for the Visual Challenged. Every type of training imaginable is available. They also have a store where I have purchased a number of items. Staff is very friendly. Their new receptionist, Angie, is welcoming and informative. John, the mobility instructor, is patient and attentive. Harold in the audio/music department is talented, informative and an excellent instructor. They have a great team, and I strongly recommend them.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 5 stars  

We Jimmy and Angelica Gomez are the parents of Melanie J. Gomez. Our daughter started at the Miami Lighthouse ever since she was a little baby, she is now 9 years old. My husband and I are very happy with our daughters progress. She is doing great and best of all she is happy. We want to thank you all at the Miami Lighthouse for the awsome job and all the great effort that you are giving Melanie. Not only we as parents of Melanie have noticed lots of changes in her but other people as well. Thank you once again.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

In 2009, I first came to the Miami Lighthouse as an intern to work in their orientation and mobility department. The Lighthouse was very generous to provide myself and another intern housing as well as a stipend for the summer while we completed our internships. The Miami Lighthouse was a wonderful place to gain experience in my field and I had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of clients of all ages and backgrounds. After completing my internship, I returned as a full-time orientation and mobility specialist and I worked primarily with the adult rehabilitation program. I recently transitioned to working for Miami-Dade County Public schools and have witnessed first hand the positive impact that programs such as the Miami Lighthouse's Saturday program in Braille Literacy and Technology as well as the Transition program have on the lives of the children I work with.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 5 stars  

One of my biggest fears after losing my sight was the inability to provide for my family, and I questioned myself: What am I going to do with my life? What’s going to happen in a year or five years? How am I going to help raise my seven-year-old son? My prayers were answers by a phone call from one of the socials worker at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. I was told not to fear, that with the proper training that they could offer I should be able to perform and carry on like any normal person. And I did. I completed the rehabilitation program and enrolled to become a Midi Music producer. Needless to say, Miami Lighthouse helped me accomplish this. Now, seven years later I’m working as the Director of the Midi Music Production program at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind helping others achieve their goals to become musicians, score writers, radio station audio engineers, pre- and post-sound producers, stage performers, studio sound recorder engineers or use their music production abilities for other sources that involve the use of access technology. All I can say is that my life is been placed back on track because of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, and I consider it my second home.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 5 stars  

Diagnosed with wet macular degeneration, I originally came to Miami Lighthouse two years ago to the Low Vision Center, but my eyes were not bad enough for me to take any classes. I came back in June, had a low vision examination, a visit from the Florida Division of Blind Services at my home, was referred to Miami Lighthouse and was accept as a client. From that moment on my life has changed.

I was one of those people that used my eyes my entire life to make my living, which I couldn’t do any more. But the Miami Lighthouse has taught me, that there is nothing that I can’t do, that my cup is always half full, never half empty, and that I have to be thankful for what I have and I don’t have. I started in Independent Living and have just been approved to transfer to Vocational Rehabilitation with the goal of returning to work. I also received Orientation and Mobility training.

I cannot tell people how passionate I am about Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and about everyone in this facility. Everyone is caring, knowledgeable, and knowing. I enjoyed to coming here on Tuesdays and Thursdays for my classes. It was a life-changing experience. At present I am a volunteer in the Independent Living Program, and I am looking forward to entering the Vocational Rehabilitation Program in the near future.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As the coordinator for the Transition Program at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, I am so grateful that the agency is deeply committed to educating and training professionals in the vision. With the full support of the Miami Lighthouse, I am enrolled The Florida State University Distance Education program and will receive a master's degree in Visual Disabilities and become a certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired Certification and Orientation & Mobility Specialist. The Miami Lighthouse are all too aware of the critical shortage of qualified, certified professionals in the field and by offer support, such as a flexible schedule and financial support, to employees that wish to further their knowledge of the field. Every child, regardless of disability, deserves the right to a quality and equitable education. I am so grateful that they have chosen to make an investment in my education and professional training and by doing so they have made an investment in the education in future generations of students with visual impairments. My education will open up endless possibilities not only for myself, but also for the students with visual impairments that I work with now and plan to work with in the future.

This semester I have taken courses in Introduction to Visual Impairments, Literary Braille, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (which is especially helpful for teachers in the South Florida area). The teens in the Transition Program find great joy in quizzing me on my braille contractions and I am glad that I can serve not only as an instructor, but as a positive role model to these young adults. Through the master’s program at the Florida State University, I have been able to connect with other dedicated professionals in the field and integrate my newfound knowledge to help improve the quality of programming and services that the Transition Program has been able to offer its clients.

The Miami Lighthouse does so much for its clients by providing the training and confidence needed to be independent, but also for employees, like me, by providing life-changing experiences. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to join the vision rehabilitation field and excited to embark on a life-long career helping to enrich the lives of others.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 5 stars  

We first discoverd the Lighthouse through a personal quest to learn more about tools and programs availalbe for our visually impaired son. While the Lighthouse's local roots are 80 years deep, we never had occasion to learn about the important role this organization plays in our community. Upon our initial meetings with Carol Brady-Simmons and Isabel Chica, we quickly realized that we had "discovered" a wonderful nonprofit which executes its mission flawlessly through a gifted and kind staff. Carol and Isabel took an immediate personal interest in assisting us with navigating the options available to our young son. Our first encounters sparked an interest in discovering ways in which our family could be more connected and supportive of the Lighthouse. We were fortunate enough to be introduced to Virginia Jacko, the CEO of the Lighthouse, who provided a tour of the facility and educated me on the various programs and services the Lighthouse provides to all sectors of the visually impaired community. From that point, we were hooked! Mrs. Jacko is an inspirational leader, unparalleled advocate and thoughtful steward of this wonderful organization. The facility is top notch and always improving. From the youngest of clients (enrolled in the "Blind Babies Program"), to the adults learning job and life skills, and all the way to the senior citizens who are look forward to spending an enriching day at the Lighthouse, our community is benefitted each day from what happens at the Lighthouse. I have been fortunate to work with the Lighthouse on various projects and events, all of which ultimatelly lead to my recent appointment to the Board of Directors. I consider this appointment a true honor. If you are truly judged by the company you keep, my reputation has been enhanced by my association with the Lighthouse, Mrs. Jacko and the incredible employees and volunteers who work miracles each day at the Lighthouse.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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