Preparing youth who are blind and visually-impaired for adulthood.
The Vision Forward school-age program positively impacts the lives of children with vision loss by building resiliency and developing skills in line with the Expanded Core Curriculum through a wide range of social engagement opportunities. The school-age program encourages children with vision loss to interact with peers and learn through meaningful life experiences. Our program serves as a critical connection for teachers, paraprofessionals and parents of elementary, middle and junior high school students and after high school graduation transitions. In addition, our program provides training and educational opportunities for parents and school professionals so they feel confident in their ability to support school-age students with vision loss.
Upcoming School Age Programs
Due to the on-going COVID-19 situation, Vision Forward is currently only offering virtual program opportunities. We will continue to closely monitor and follow guidelines presented by the CDC. Please see below for virtual youth program opportunities and registration information.
The following are free virtual opportunities for youth to learn new skills, make new connections and have fun!
Zoom or Facetime
One thing that continues to connect us during this time of unprecedented change is music. Engaging in active music making can help develop confidence and self-esteem, social emotional skills, motor skills, self-expression, social skills, and positive recreation and leisure skills. Emily Zajork, board certified music therapist, is offering free virtual guitar or ukulele lessons during the months of January – March 2021. Space is limited – register early!
Contact Emily Zajork at or 414-615-0179 to register.
Dare2tri Virtual Strength Training
Every Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 pm (CST)
Dare2tri is currently offering a virtual functional strength training practice for all athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairments. In this 30-minute session, we will be completing a high intensity interval session, which incorporates cardiovascular activity and strength training. For more information and to register, follow this link: https://dare2tri.org/programs/virtual-strength-training/
“Let’s Play with Work” Virtual Transition Program
The Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss in Duluth, Minnesota is offering a virtual training program for transition-aged youth, ages 14-21. Together, youth will explore different aspects of work and career related topics while practicing skills in technology, orientation and mobility, and cooking and other daily living skills.
The program will take place one weekend per month during October through June. It includes weekly individual or small group Zoom training sessions on Fridays starting at 3:00 pm and running 2-3 hours, and eight one-day, remote mini camps on Saturdays throughout the year. Visit Lighthouse’s website at www.lcfvl.org/transition to learn more about the program. For more information and to register, contact Chris Correia, Youth Transition Program Manager, at or call 218-624-4828.
Virtual Cane Quest – grades 3rd – 6th
Remote Testing Window: February 1 – 28
Students, grades 3-6, are invited to show off their orientation and mobility skills and travel techniques as part of our Cane Quest competition. Vision Forward is proud to host Cane Quest in partnership with the Braille Institute of America, Inc., virtually this year. Interested in how your child or student can participate.
Braille Challenge – grades 3rd – 12th
Practice your braille skills and compete in a national competition!
Virtual Testing Period: January 11—March 4, 2021
Virtual Kickoff Event & Closing/Awards: Ceremony: Dates TBD
The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired. Braille Institute developed The Braille Challenge to motivate students to practice and hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success.
Vision Forward and the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired are teaming up to provide a virtual Braille Challenge event for students around the state. Teachers of the Visually Impaired will register their students and proctor the tests (in-person or virtually) during the remote testing window of January 11-March 4.
Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired has a variety of fall semester virtual short course programs which will be available through Google Classroom/Meet. Please see the link below for more information and to register. https://www.wcbvi.k12.wi.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/SC-Flyer-2020-1.pdf
Vision Forward Scholarship
Vision Forward has scholarship opportunities to benefit blind and visually impaired students in Wisconsin. Scholarship money must be used for tuition. All tuition payments will be sent directly to the selected educational institution. Please check back for the application which will be released in January 2021.
2021 Calendar of Events
Vision Forward will have more information regarding opportunities for youth in 2021 as the year progresses. Below is what we know and hope to be able to offer in the new year. Please check Vision Forward’s Facebook and webpage for any updates and details as they become available.
Braille instruction is offered for those parents/guardians with children who are braille users. Instruction will be taught by Steve Mcauliff, COMS/CVRT. Session are specifically tailored towards each learner’s individual needs. Contact Eli Smith to schedule your session at 414-615-0127 or .