Introduction to Blindness Group Hits the Streets of Napa

Bill Cody [Brooklyn sweatshirt] of Eureka and George Montag from Elk have had initial mobility training but they both felt they needed extra work in a larger city setting. Bill wanted to gain the skills needed to be eligible for a dog guide while George wanted more experience in downtown settings and street crossings. Here they discuss crossing a busy street with Orientation & Mobility instructors Katt Jones and Terry Wedler.In the last three years, the LightHouse has connected folks who are blind or low vision with each other through our novel week-long Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion Training at Enchanted Hills Retreat in Napa. Participating students have goals that range from independent living skills and learning Braille, to getting back into the workforce.

“Kate Williams, our Employment Immersion Program Leader, was able to spend some quality time with students whose vision has changed mid-career. She reinforced the idea that what you’re doing here and now in gaining your skills will get you back into the working world.” – LightHouse Director of Rehabilitation Services Kathy Abrahamson.

During our April session we did something brand-new. In addition to the wide breadth of instruction offered on our retreat site, we trained students in downtown Napa, specifically focusing on cane travel skills on city streets.

Our staff is always excited about connecting students to their path of independence and we’d love to see you in our next session which runs from Sunday, June 14 through Friday, June 19. We even have special funding for folks 55 and over who live in San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Humboldt and Del Norte counties. But anyone who is blind or visually impaired may be eligible. Give us one week and you will change your life!

Just call or email Debbie Bacon at 415-694-7357 or for more information. We look forward to seeing you at Enchanted Hills.

Students gather in our comfortable and intimate Yurt structure to talk about their changing vision

Students newer to Orientation & Mobility training took to the streets of downtown Napa utilizing the new cane skills they learned throughout the Immersion week. Here the group maneuvers under scaffolding set up around buildings that were damaged during the recent Napa earthquake.

Employment Immersion Program Leader Kate Williams meets with students Ola Jozwiak and Dennis O’Hanlon who will be looking towards employment options after securing essential skills such as Orientation & Mobility and Access Technology.


Orientation & Mobility Specialist Terry Wedler works with Bill Cody on best ways to descend a concrete staircase above the Napa River Walk.

“You don’t leave camp alone even if you’re returning to a different part of California,” said LightHouse DOR Kathy A. Students George Montag, Bill Cody and Dennis O’Hanlon soak in the last moments of comradery before returning to their homes for the next phase of one-to-one training.

All immersion weeks have to end with a group shot to remind us where our new path to independence began. Here the entire group of students and staff pose on a bright, sunny day.