‘The Blind Leading the Blind’ Indeed

As part of our curriculum, students often venture out in public to train. We’ll practice our cane travel skills in the heart of Victoria’s busy downtown core, for instance, so we become accustomed to heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. It’s a thoroughly positive experience, as our blind training staff are experts and well equipped to handle anything that comes their way.

Unfortunately, we do sometimes encounter people who are skeptical about our method of training.  Some have even been known to make derisive comments about ‘the blind leading the blind,’ as if a sighted person could be the best option to teach blindness skills competently.  Instead, we’d argue who is better to teach a blind person how to make their way from one side of town to the other or cook a four course meal for eight people, than someone who performs these tasks competently on a regular basis without the need for sight?

It is for this exact reason that the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind exists. Through our programs, we will bring an end to these misconceptions. In truth, blind people are every bit as capable as sighted people and there is no one better to teach them that than another blind person. The proof can be found in our students who, through direction from our blind training staff, reach new heights of achievement every year.

Urgent need for Home Stay Hosts

Want to make a difference? Have a spare room in your home? Then consider becoming a Home Stay Host with the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind.

The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind, located in Victoria, provides job readiness training to blind adults — such as Braille literacy, cane travel and life skills— so that they may live independently and pursue their goals.  Until recently, this training was offered only to local residents. Our programs, however, have received a lot of exposure of late which has increased demand. We are, therefore, extremely excited to expand our program and accept students from outside the Greater Victoria area. In fact, we now have a wait list.

Of course, students who come to Victoria will require a place to live for the duration of their training. That is why we started our Home Stay Program, where we match students with hosts that will support them on their journey. If you have an available room in your home and can accommodate a blind adult for 3 to 6 months, we want to hear from you. You would take in one student, offer them a room of their own, and provide meals. The student would pay you room and board and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind would provide the formal blindness skills training.

This is a great way to make a real difference in someone’s life. Sound interesting? Please contact The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind for more details.  info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca or 250-580-4910.

What does a sailboat have to do with blindness skills training?

We’re sometimes asked why the Pacific Training Centre’s logo is a pictorial of a sailboat. Fair question. After all, we don’t teach sailing skills. So what does a nautical vessel have to do with blindness skills training? There are several reasons we chose to go this route.

First, sailboats are awesome and fun, just like our students and staff.

Secondly, the sailboat acknowledges where we work and play, which is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. For those who may not be aware, we are completely surrounded by water here so nautical references are ingrained in the local culture.

The third reason, however, is the most important one. We identify with the sailboat because people associate terms like discovery, exploration, and freedom with them. We feel that it is these same terms that describe the journey taken by each of our students. They set a course to discover their abilities, explore all they can accomplish, and achieve freedoms that they might not have otherwise thought possible.

This is also why each student receives a small nautical bell upon graduation. The bell is a reminder that all blind people have the right to freedom and can access those freedoms with the proper training.

Congratulations to our student who graduated from the Blind People in Charge Program last month.

We are proud of all of our students and everything that they accomplish. We’d like to highlight one student in particular who worked so hard and accomplished so much during his time at the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind.

His accomplishments included:

  • Learning to walk with a long white cane.
  • Using public transit to travel independently.
  • Completing a ‘Drop Route’ — which is where we take students to an undisclosed location and ask them to find their way back to the centre using non-visual cues in the environment.
  • Planning and preparing a three-course meal for ten people.
  • Mastering level one Braille.
  • Learning to use a screen reader and computer.
  • Finding employment.

Congratulations to all our students. The photograph to the right shows our student holding his graduation Braille plaque and Freedom Bell.

Want to work with us? We’re seeking a Blindness Skills Instructor.

Independent Contractor Position: Blindness Skills Instructor

Location: Victoria, BC

Reports To: Program Coordinator

Dates of Contract: January 9, 2018 to June 29, 2018

Hours: up to 12 per week (number of days and hours are somewhat flexible).

Hourly Rate: $20

We are looking for someone who is passionate about teaching, excited by new challenges, and interested in working as part of a small, energetic, grassroots organization.

Services to Be Performed:

  1. Provide individualized and group instruction to blind adults in all areas of the alternative techniques of blindness, such as Braille, talking computers, travel with the long white cane, cooking, home management, job readiness etc.
  2. Work / train part of the time under sleepshades / learning shades, if not totally blind, and use a long white cane at all times during the program.(guide dogs are of course welcome to be at the centre, but the expectation is that the individual will use a long white cane when actually teaching.
  3. Help students become independent by adopting the structured discovery / problem-solving method of teaching used at the centre.
  4. Help to plan programs and program activities.
  5. Provide community outreach and help to identify the needs of blind individuals; Propose ways to meet these needs. Assist in the recruitment of new students.
  6. Provide services as part of a multidisciplinary team through group and one-on-one lessons.
  7. Link clients with formal and informal resources, and help individuals develop their skills and ability to use their own resources and those of their community to solve problems and find solutions.
  8. Support the Program Coordinator and other staff in the management of client files and demographic reports.
  9. Assist in the submission, writing and compilation of student reports to ensure student requirements are being met.

Qualifications:

  1. Candidate must be legally blind.
  2. Strong belief in and understanding of the structured discovery model of blindness skills training taught at the centre, and the centre’s positive approach to blindness.
  3. A degree or diploma in a Human Services, Social Work, or Community Social Services, or experience in a relevant field of knowledge with blindness experience preferred.
  4. Experience in teaching adults and an understanding of the unique needs of adult learners.
  5. Working knowledge of Braille, adaptive speech and Braille technology, travel with the long white cane, and other aspects of blindness skills.
  6. Experience working with people who have various disabilities in conjunction with blindness such as physical challenges, learning disabilities, brain injuries and mental health issues.
  7. Must be detail oriented and possess effective organizational and research skills.
  8. Must have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  9. Have experience in developing and organizing lesson plans.
  10. Possess the ability to work with a variety of people in a diverse range of situations.
  11. A willingness to be flexible.
  12. A willingness to help out occasionally during extra activities such as conventions and recreational activities.
  13. Punctual, reliable and dependable. Work requires high degree of emotional intelligence and intuitiveness.

Please email a cover letter and resume to Elizabeth Lalonde, Executive Director, at Elizabeth@pacifictrainingcentre.ca no later than December 15, 2017.

For more information about the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind, please visit our Website at www.pacifictrainingcentre.ca or contact us info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca 250-580-4910
About the Centre

The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind (PTCB) teaches blind adults in Canada independence skills and a positive approach to blindness.

Its Vision Statement is:

Blind people empowering blind people to be employed, independent and free.

Its Mission Statement is:

The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind is committed to empowering its students to achieve independence, employment, equality and first-class citizenship by offering cutting edge blindness skills training based on a positive, proven, world-renowned model. Project leaders instill a belief in blind people’s own capabilities and in the limitless possibilities open to them by adopting a non-custodial approach (i.e. it is not about sighted people doing things for the blind; it is about blind people doing things for themselves, and it is about blind teachers working with blind students to increase skills and confidence).

The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind was established in July of 2011 and began running its signature program, Blind People in Charge, in the fall of 2013. The centre serves blind adults in Greater Victoria and other areas of all ages from young adults to older seniors.

The Blind People in Charge Program is the only program of its kind in Western Canada that offers regular, intensive rehabilitation to adults who are blind or who are losing their vision; it is also the only program that uses an empowering, problem-solving model of instruction, where blind people are the teachers, planners, directors and administrators.

Blind instructors and mentors teach non-visual independence and literacy skills such as Braille, adaptive technology, cane travel, cooking, cleaning, organizational skills, home and financial management, job readiness and other life skills, and develop positive strategies for living without sight; they provide training one-on-one and in group settings.

The program provides participants with the skills and confidence they need to improve their income and quality of life, take part in their community, and find gainful employment.

The PTCB Is Expanding!

The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind (PTCB) is expanding its Blind People in Charge Adult program to include students from outside of Victoria.

Staff at the centre will work with an out-of-town student to find appropriate and viable housing options for these students such as billeting, homestay or other affordable accommodation while they are training.

Students will be expected to attend the training centre three-days-a-week. A firm commitment to training is expected.

If practical, and the student doesn’t live too far away, students can also travel to Victoria each week for training and return home later in the week.

Through its Blind People in Charge Program, the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind teaches blindness / independence skills including Braille, travel with the long white cane, talking and Braille adaptive technology, cooking, cleaning, sewing, job readiness, organizational skills, financial management and other lifeskills. The PTCB uses a positive and empowering method of teaching that encourages students to problem solve and take charge of their own lives. All instructors and mentors at the centre are blind.

If you wish to learn more, or register, please contact us.

Interested in becoming a trainer at the PTCB?

Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Train the Trainer Workshop

Date: Tuesday September 5 – Friday September 8 2017.

Time: Tuesday and Wednesday – 10:00am – 4:00pm, Thursday and Friday 3:00pm – 7:00pm.

Location: Victoria Disability Resource Centre, 817a Fort Street.

This four day workshop, offered free of charge, is for individuals interested in becoming an instructor at the PTCB.  We are looking for blind or partially sighted adults who have independent blindness skills in at least two of the following areas: Braille, travelling with a white cane, accessing technology through a screen reader and independent life skills.

The workshop will include:

  • The Foundation: including founding principles of the PTCB, its philosophy and code of ethics
  • Training Basics: including the structured discovery model, use of sleep shades, peer trainers, the long white cane and problem solving.
  • Assessment and Goal Setting
  • Lesson Planning
  • Specific Training Techniques and Tools
  • PTCB Policy and Best Practices

It will include discussions, demonstrations, hands on exercises and assignments.  Participants will be expected to attend all Train the Trainer sessions and will be evaluated throughout the week.

For more information please call: 250-580-4910 or email:

lbartram@telus.net  or info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

We’re now accepting students from outside Victoria

The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind (PTCB) is expanding its Blind People in Charge Adult program to include students from outside of Victoria.

Staff at the centre will work with an out-of-town student to find appropriate and viable housing options for these students such as billeting, homestay or other affordable accommodation while they are training. PTCB will be accepting new students to start in the fall. Students will be expected to attend the training centre three-days-a-week. A firm commitment to training is expected.

If practical, and the student doesn’t live too far away, students can also travel to Victoria each week for training and return home later in the week.

Through its Blind People in Charge Program, the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind teaches blindness / independence skills including Braille, travel with the long white cane, talking and Braille adaptive technology, cooking, cleaning, sewing, job readiness, organizational skills, financial management and other lifeskills. The PTCB uses a positive and empowering method of teaching that encourages students to problem solve and take charge of their own lives. All instructors and mentors at the centre are blind.

If you wish to learn more, or register for the fall, please contact us.

Elizabeth Lalonde, Executive Director
Pacific Training Centre for the Blind
Phone 250-580-4910
info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

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