Lighthouse Central Florida Inc.

Charting a course for Living, Learning and Earning with Vision Loss

Orlando, FL   |  www.lighthousecentralflorida.org

Mission

Charting a course for Living, Learning and Earning with Vision Loss is the mission of Lighthouse Central Florida. Since 1976, our organization has been the primary community resource for Central Floridians living with low vision or blindness. Established and developed by thousands of stakeholders over four decades, Lighthouse offers a growing menu of vision-specific rehabilitation services to people of all ages with the goal of successful independent living, academic success and meaningful and gainful careers. As stated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, professional vision rehabilitation services are the standard of care for patients experiencing visual conditions (acuity of less than 20/40, scotoma, field loss or contrast sensitivity loss) that cannot be corrected by surgery or lenses.  LCF offers an extensive menu of professional vision rehabilitation services designed to empower people living with low vision and blindness to travel safely, access text, communicate and work in typical office environments using innovative and affordable technology solutions, and participate in all activities of daily life utilizing adapted techniques. For younger clients, LCF provides specialized vision-specific training that will enable academic success, job readiness, career development and successful independent living. Lighthouse also seeks to enlighten the greater Central Florida Community to the capabilities of its residents who are living with visual impairment or blindness as active participants, consumers and employees; and the benefits of assuring universal access in its transportation systems, building accommodations, and communications and technology solutions.

Ruling year info

1984

President and CEO

Mr. Kyle A. Johnson

Main address

2500 Kunze Ave

Orlando, FL 32806 USA

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Formerly known as

CITE: The Lighthouse of Central Florida, Inc.

Friends of CITE, Inc.

CITE The Center for Independence, Technology, and Education - DBA CITE, Inc.

EIN

59-2418228

NTEE code info

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (E01)

Vocational Rehabilitation (includes Job Training and Employment for Disabled and Elderly) (J30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Early Intervention Program

Many parents feel that a diagnosis of vision impairment or blindness for their child is a punch to the stomach. Most are left feeling hopeless and uninspired in the thoughts of their child’s future and milestones from infancy to adulthood. Many questions arise including, “How do we deal with this?” “How will our child grow, learn, engage with the world?” Lighthouse Central Florida’s Early Intervention program is a true beacon of light within the darkness a parent may feel during these difficult times. Early Intervention services are provided to children from birth to age five (5). Services are provided to the child and family in the child’s home, day care, school, neighborhood or center-based setting. Learning is structured to maximize the visual and developmental progress of each child. Early Intervention services are critical in preventing unnecessary developmental delays due to vision impairment. Children and families served in the Early Intervention program are empowered to participate in and benefit from activities in the home, community and school setting. Family participation in the development and delivery of the service plan is an essential component of the Early Intervention program.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
People with vision impairments

Children who are living with visual impairment or blindness have the same goals and dreams as everyone else. Children's services provides daily-living skills training and educational support for children ages 5-13, helping foster independence and academic achievement. Children in the program will continue to develop their vision-rehabilitation, adding technology usage, increased socialization, and independent-living skills to their training. The curriculum for instruction will be the Expanded Core Curriculum for Children with Vision Impairment, an age-appropriate, culturally competent functional academic enhancement that focuses on teaching the skills determined necessary for a visually impaired child to be able to succeed in public school and become more independent within daily life, and maintain pace with their sighted peers.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Children

Transition services are provided to students age 14 through 22 that are currently being served by the school system under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Lighthouse Central Florida employs an expanded core curriculum, which compliments the IEP, but also extends into vocational training and social experiences for the student. The Transition program provides students with skills and experience to facilitate successful transition from high school to post-secondary activities, such as college, vocational school and employment. Through summer work programs to job coaching and Assistive Technology training, transition services promote personal and professional advancement and help teens compete with their sighted peers and achieve future self-sufficiency. Everyday skills to promote independence are also addressed including: cooking, future planning, learning strategies, use of remaining vision, orientation and mobility, problem solving, social skills, sports/leisure and work exploration. The transitions program engages students to go beyond their wildest expectations, which builds an “I can do anything” mindset needed given the obstacles they face. Activities such as skydiving, white-water rafting and rock-climbing are just a few of the activities our students experience further teaching them that no obstacle is too great to overcome. Group sessions occur twice per month and individualized instruction is available to students throughout the week. Transition services provide participants with the opportunity to develop positive self-esteem, independence and employ-ability skills.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Adolescents
People with vision impairments

Intake, Assessment, and Case Management Services: Development of an individual service plan to meet the ongoing needs of persons receiving vision-rehabilitation services. Independent Living Skills Training: enables adults with vision loss to learn how to live independently at home, or maintain responsibilities at work and take an active part in community life. Orientation and Mobility Skills Training includes critical safety procedures for moving about in one’s environment, at home, work, or in the community to maintain a busy life. Aspects of instruction include using a white cane, crossing streets safely, and utilizing public transportation. Braille provides a tactile method for reading and writing to those who are blind. Students learn readiness, reading and writing, braille for orientation, labeling, recreation and both contracted and un-contracted braille. Assistive Technology: instruction in the use of magnification or speech software to access the computer screen, and basic computer skills utilizing different software. Instruction is provided according to each client’s needs, pace, and abilities.

Population(s) Served
Older adults
Seniors
People with vision impairments

Vocational Rehabilitation:

Vocational Rehabilitation serves ages 18 and older who meet the Division of Blind Services' visual disability criteria with a goal to obtain employment. Employment is a key factor in the social integration and economic self-sufficiency of working-age people with disabilities. There is also a need to widen diversity in the overall workforce, including the hiring of underrepresented populations such as people with disabilities.

Lighthouse Central Florida provides Vision Specific Job Training to adults who are living with vision impairment or blindness (VIB). Trained and certified professionals in vision rehabilitation, orientation and mobility, and low-vision therapy provides comprehensive functional assessments (CFA) to develop individualized training plans, outlining each client's goals/benchmarks. Services are then provided in settings that maximize their potential to perform tasks they need to be independent in their homes and (re)enter the workforce with consistent independence.

Lighthouse aims to strategically support these individuals, many of whom rely on disability assistance to re-engage in the workforce, to a position of empowered independence by providing them the vision rehabilitation skills necessary for daily living, utilizing assistive technology, orientation and mobility spatial awareness and successful movement in one’s environment), job readiness and employment foundation skills necessary to maximize the adult's potential and their ability to choose a career.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) - Accreditation 2017

National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) - Accreditation 2012

National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) - Accreditation 2006

National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) - Accreditation 2001

Awards

Victory Cup 2017

Victory Cup

Community Advocate Award 2017

FL Division of Blind Services

Think-A-Thon Marketing Creative Award 2017

Think Creative, Inc.

#Florida Gives Community Volunteer Award 2017

Florida Blue Foundation

Hope Award 2021

UCF Nonprofit Management Advisory Board

Affiliations & memberships

National Industries for the Blind - Associated Agency 2008

United Way Member Agency 1980

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2000

Alliance for Technology Access 1984

Chamber of Commerce 2000

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

1) Provide vision-specific educational and vision rehabilitation services to at least 600 Central Floridians whose vision loss affects their daily life; that will lead to age-appropriate school readiness and lifelong learning of young children graduating from our early intervention programs; academic success and mastery of core life skills for children ages 6 - 13 moving onto high school; graduation with a regular high school diploma, mastery of technology, social and core life skills, ready for college or work for teens and young adults graduating from our Transition program; attainment of their individual goals related to technology , mobility and independent living skills for clients participating in our Adult Program Services; gainful competitive employment for adults graduating from our vocational rehabilitation programs and employment services. We are seeking to double the number served to at least 3000 annually within the next three - five years.  2)  While our primary strategy for this impact is education, counseling and training focused on individual living with blindness and low vision and their families (comprehensive professional vision rehabilitation services), we are also working to change the attitudes of community employers, policy makers and community planners to better understand and value the inclusion of our client population and universal accessibility of all systems (transportation, education, digital communication, community design, etc.) As the most common eye diseases are age-related, and our population continues to live longer, we will have dramatically larger numbers of Americans living with significant vision loss. It is important for all of to understand the simple accommodations that will make this societal transition less burdensome, more manageable for all.

Our primary strategy is the provision of comprehensive professional vision rehabilitation services, which includes specialized vision-specific education services and functional low vision training, to individuals living with low vision and blindness to assure they have the skills and tools necessary to live healthy, integrated productive lives. We employ nationally certified, credentialed vision rehabilitation clinical and educational professionals and utilize assessments, curricula, programs, activities and technology that has been developed over decades by universities and national accreditation bodies. Through a collaboration with Ophthalmologists and Optometrists, we are implementing a functional low vision service to reach people whose vision loss may not yet reach the threshold of legal blindness. We are active members, serving in leadership positions, of several national and state organizations dedicated to the rehabilitation and employment of people who are living with vision impairment or blindness, in order to remain current with best practices and collaborating with innovative models and organizations.Our secondary strategy, of equal importance, is to change community attitudes about people who are living with vision impairment or blindness. Through marketing and public awareness campaigns, community education events and more, we seek to enhance the understanding and value of Central Floridians who are living with vision impairment or blindness amongst employers, educators, policy makers and community planners. Intentional inclusion of the VIB community through universal access to transportation, digital information, community events, employment and community design is good business and enhances the quality of life for all.

Lighthouse has 40+ years of growth and experience in serving the community of people whose vision loss is affecting their daily life. Our implementation of the Traction/Entrepreneurial Operating System as our "way of doing business" (now in our sixth year) has given Lighthouse the organizational horsepower and tools for sustainability it needs to grow well throughout the 2000's. Lighthouse has a leadership team with strength, experience and dedication in every aspect of organizational operations and vision rehabilitation, a great Board of Directors which understands its roles, financial stability and a clear vision for developing innovative services and scaling these - in order to dramatically extend our reach throughout the community. While we are well known throughout the human service community and serve clients referred by others, we are actively working to build our partnerships with the medical and educational community and with employers. We partner with all local VIB consumer organizations and the State's Division of Blind Services, Advent Health University, Career Source and the Dept of Economic Opportunity.  We are active members of the National Industries for the Blind, headquartered in Alexandria, VA; VisionServe Alliance, headquartered in St Louis, MO; Florida Agencies Serving the Blind - our CEO, Kyle Johnson, and our VP and Chief Programs Officer, Mike Walsh,  serve on committees and in leadership positions for some of these.

Lighthouse has made tremendous progress in the lives of thousands of people of all ages who are living with vision loss or blindness. As a result of our programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, many more children enter kindergarten ready to learn and on track or above their peers. Our Children's Program has enabled much greater academic success as public schools are limited in the amount of vision-specific services they can provide. Teens have benefitted from our Transition program by having years of paid work experience, graduating with regular high school diplomas (as opposed to certificates of attendance as was the norm in past decades); many more are going on to higher education or vocational training. Adults and seniors, most of whom had sight the majority of their lives and now having to make drastic changes to maintain lifestyle, safety, security, etc.are much better able to live independently, reducing the negative impact of their blindness upon themselves and family members and avoiding premature institutionalization. Adults are getting and keeping better jobs following the training they receive at Lighthouse.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

Lighthouse Central Florida Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Lighthouse Central Florida Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/30/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Paul Prewitt

Ameriprise Financial

Term: 2017 - 2021

Paul Prewitt

Ameriprise Financial

Katrina Guensch

Retired Attorney

Doug Weiner

SeaCoast Bank

Kathryn Ennis

Withum Smith & Brown

Cathy Matthews

Matthews Systems Engineering

Dan Spoone

Retired / Siemens Mgr.

Andrew Holland

Regions Bank

Emily Reardon

Joseph Down

Polaris Technology

Sarah Neely

Rollins College-Crummer Graduate School of Business

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/30/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability