MCB announces summer programs for youth who are visually impaired

This summer the Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB) is offering eight programs for eligible youth who are blind or visually impaired. All of these programs are designed as opportunities to prepare for independence and the transition into postsecondary education or employment:

Summer Employment Excursion, June 6 - August 26, is a 12-week program that provides students who are blind or visually impaired in the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) with the opportunity to explore career possibilities under direction of mentors who may have similar disabilities. Training in ''soft skills'' such as appropriate attire, workplace behavior, work ethic, etc., will focus on ways to improve employability. Upon completion of soft skills training, students will be given the opportunity to gain valuable paid work experience with ongoing follow-up. This program is sponsored by the Michigan Commission for the Blind and GISD. For more information, contact Danielle Smith at (810) 760-2036.

Summer Work Opportunity Program, June 13 - August 19, is a food service and vending internship in MCB's Business Enterprise Program for youth who are blind or visually impaired ages 15-22. Participants work 20-30 hours per week at $7.40 per hour with a Business Enterprise Program food service entrepreneur. The June 13 through August 19 timeline is flexible. For more information, contact the MCB counselor in your area or Lucy Edmonds at (517) 373-3459.

Summer in the City Program, June 20-July 1, is a two-week program that will focus on pre-employment skill development for youth who are blind or visually impaired ages 14 and up in the Kent/Ottawa area. For more information, contact Michelle Visscher at (616) 356-0180.

Detroit Summer Youth Program, June 20 - August 12, will provide Detroit Public Schools students ages 14-26 who are blind or visually impaired with vocational exploration, technology training, and pre-employment and employment experiences. The participants will have an opportunity to work at a variety of organizations and agencies throughout the city. For more information, contact Gwen McNeal at (313) 456-1655 or Phyllis Njoroge at (313) 456-1646.

Career Club, June 20 - August 26, is for students ages 14-26 in Ingham and Eaton counties who are blind or visually impaired. The program includes but is not limited to job tours, job planning, interviewing activities, job shadows, job try-outs, disability rights/self advocacy, soft skills related to preparing for employment, team building activities, and goal setting. For more information, contact Elizabeth White at (517) 335-5521.

College Preparatory Program, June 30 - August 19, is a seven-and-a-half-week program held at Western Michigan University (WMU). The program is designed to allow potential college students who are blind or visually impaired an opportunity to experience campus life and take college classes in a supervised environment with support from MCB counselors. Participants are housed in a WMU residence hall. They take a three-credit WMU class and are expected to obtain a part-time job while in this program. For more information, contact Pat Angerman at (269) 337-3276, ext. 257, or Shannon McVoy at (269) 337-3449, ext 255.

Macomb Summer Transition Program, July 11-22, will provide Macomb Intermediate School District students ages 14-26 who are blind or visually impaired with an opportunity to participate in pre-employment training, soft skills development, and possible work experience. Week one will focus on academic enrichment and week two will focus on vocational enrichment. For more information, contact Tina West at (313) 456-1646.

Camp Daggett, August 15-18, is a four-day camp experience at Camp Daggett near Petoskey for youth ages 14-19 who are blind or visually impaired. The camp will provide an opportunity to gain independent living skills, learn pre-employment skills, and participate in vocational exploration. For more information, contact Julie Clark at (989) 732-5814.

Additionally, plans are being finalized for a ninth program, titled ''Blindness without Barriers,'' to take place in July. This session will take place at Camp Tuhsmeheta, a 300-acre environmental education facility for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, located in Greenville near Grand Rapids. Details will be announced soon.

For more than 30 years, the Michigan Commission for the Blind has provided training and other services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to achieve employment and/or independence in the careers of their choice, serving approximately 2,750 state residents in FY 2010. For more information about MCB, visit www.michigan.gov/mcb or call toll-free: voice 1-800-292-4200; TTY 1-888-864-1212.

The Michigan Commission for the Blind is a part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan. gov/lara. Follow us on Twitter www.twitter. com /michiganLARA, ''Like'' us on Facebook or find us on YouTube www.youtube.com/ michiganLARA.

Copyright © 2011 State of Michigan

Published: Thu, May 26, 2011

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