ORANGE COUNTY, CA — July 5, 2017 — Braille Institute announced plans to expand its free services in Orange County with the construction of a new $10 million Anaheim Regional Center project. The announcement comes on the heels of building approval by the City of Anaheim to replace the current, aging Braille Institute Anaheim facility. The construction project is the most significant component of a larger four-part, multi-year campaign to cement the future of Braille Institute services in Orange County for the next century. Other areas of focus for the new Braille Institute vision for Orange County include the opening of a Neighborhood Center in Laguna Hills, enhanced In Home Services and an expansion of public education and outreach.
With more than half of the funds already raised, there is significant local momentum in support of the Anaheim Center construction project thanks to lead gifts from the Henry L. Guenther Foundation and the Don & Lorraine Freeberg Foundation. Additional generous funding has been provided by the Ann Peppers Foundation, as well as local residents Mr. and Mrs. Rick Nelson and Mr. and Mrs. David Wiegand.
“When we first opened our Anaheim Center in 1971, the population was smaller, needs were different and the incidence of visual impairment due to conditions like macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy was lower,” says Peter Mindnich, President, Braille Institute. “There are nearly 170,000 people in Orange County experiencing sight loss and that number is expected to grow significantly in the next 30 years. As we embark on this expansion, we will make our services more accessible so that low vision is no longer a barrier to individual happiness, success or community connections.”
Construction for the new center will begin, at the same location as the current site, following demolition of the current Braille Institute Anaheim Center (527 N. Dale Avenue, Anaheim). Demolition is slated for late Summer 2017. The new center is scheduled to open in 2019, in conjunction with Braille Institute’s 100th Anniversary. The 14,735 square-foot building will blend state-of-the-art technology with hallmark personal services to meet the needs of blind and visually impaired children, adults and seniors for decades to come.
To ensure uninterrupted services to its students during demolition and construction phases, Braille Institute has partnered with the Anaheim Christian Reformed Church (across the street from the center) to continue its complete schedule of free programs and services in their facilities.
Highlights of the new Anaheim Center campus include:
- A welcoming Pathway to Independence into the center which represents the countless stories students share about the dreams realized once they pass through the doors at Braille Institute
- A comprehensive Learning Resource Center that will act as a hub integrating some of the organization’s most important core services. The Learning Resource Center represents a new model of services for Braille Institute that integrates technology training, low vision rehabilitation, library services, braille literacy, and counseling.
- An engaging Student Activity Center and Student Services Pavilion to be the heart of shared experiences which are the foundation of people served by Braille Institute both on campus and in the community
- Inviting spaces for Daily Living Education and Creative Arts Classrooms and Studios that provide space to explore, learn and reinforce daily living skills and activities of self-expression.
“We are proud to re-invest in our community. Our staff and volunteers are thrilled to be able to demonstrate that with the benefits of our free programs and reimagined services there are virtually no limits, no barriers, to what someone with a visual impairment can achieve,” says Lisa Jimenez, Executive Director, Braille Institute Orange County.
Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss. It serves thousands of adults and youth each year through a broad range of educational, social and recreational programs designed to help people with vision loss lead enriched and fulfilling lives. Services are provided through six Southern California centers and hundreds of other community locations. Additionally, Braille Institute’s national programs encourage school age students to pursue braille literacy and orientation and mobility skills. Funded by private donations, all services are free of charge. For more information, visit: BrailleInstitute.org, Facebook.com/BrailleInstitute or on twitter @BrailleInst.