George Wurtzel shows two male students the difference between Phillips-head and slotted head screwdrivers.
George Wurtzel shows two male students the difference between Phillips-head and slotted head screwdrivers.

Youth Programs

At LightHouse, we know that blind kids and young adults can accomplish all the same tasks as their sighted peers. Getting through school, having a social life and finding a great job are all attainable goals, especially with enrollment in LightHouse’s Youth Programs. Our dynamic Youth Programs offer year-round social, recreational and educational opportunities for blind and low vision youth of all ages and we welcome participation from around the Bay Area, state, and beyond. These enjoyable and practical experiences provide positive role-modeling, foster creativity, and build self-esteem and ambition in your blind or low vision students. Our current offerings are hosted virtually and once safe we will combine these virtual experiences with in-person programs hosted at our downtown San Francisco headquarters or at our 311-acre camp in Napa.

Read on to learn about our different youth tracks!

Youth Social and Recreational

Middle and Highschool

Many of the youth we work with may be the only blind or low vision students in their school or district and many of them can feel alone. Lighthouse Youth Programs have always tried to provide programs and activities for youth that are blind or have low vision for them to connect with their peers in a variety of activities. Many of these programs incorporate opportunities to learn or develop important skills such as independent living, orientation and mobility and many other skills covered in the Expanded Core Curriculum. Past outings have taken us to sports events, local seasonal attractions such as Winchester Mystery House and a white-water river rafting trip. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic started we have taken our programs online via Zoom.

Transition Programs

High school and post-secondary

LightHouse’s transition programs offer experiences for young adults who are enthusiastic about realizing their dream careers through programs that focus on the vocational enrichment of low vision and blind youth. We provide access to a multifaceted array of mentorship, employment readiness skills, and alternative accessible techniques. These engaging programs and immersive weekends provide students with opportunities to expand their knowledge through self-advocacy, assistive technology, living skills, and soft skills curricula empowering them to strive toward future employment or post-secondary educational success.

Students have had the opportunity to attend national conferences, participate in hands-on activities expanding their independence, hear from a variety of blind and low-vision mentors, and prepare for future employment by participating in interactive internships and paid work-based experiences. Although programming has gone virtual for the moment, transition programs still offers a variety of activities for students to connect with peers and engage and learn from mentors, some of which include monthly Zoom gatherings for blind and low vision college students, informational and social hours for high school youth, as well as for Spanish-speaking families and students.

Annual Youth Employment Services (YES) Summer Academy

The popular annual YES Summer Academy is designed for working-age blind and low vision youth and young adults. Students have access to an unforgettable summer filled with interactive learning opportunities as they participate in work-based learning experiences. They meet life-long friends, mentors and supportive LightHouse staff. To hear from previous students on how the Academy has impacted them, visit their blog series from the Blog of the Conclusion of the 2019 YES Summer Academy:

Reflections from the YES Academy Class of 2019

Reflections for the 2020 Virtual YES Summer Academy

Applications for the 2021 YES Academy are NOW OPEN. Please visit the link for more information and the application form.

Family Programs

For all families with at least one blind or low vision family member

We have found through our Family Camp sessions at Enchanted Hills Camp that so much of our students’ support networks revolve around their families, and as much as we know the youth need to have a community, we recognize that the families are also in need of the same. To help the families of youth we work with stay connected, informed and have fun, LightHouse Youth Programs host family activities year-round. Families have been lost in corn mazes, learned to ice-skate in the San Francisco annual Holiday Ice Rink, or gained insight into how to resolve ongoing access problems and other issues, through presentations about student rights. All families with at least one blind or low vision parent/guardian or child are welcome to join.

Get Involved and Get Updates

For more information about the youth program or to sign up for our monthly LightHouse Youth and Family Events List, please reach out to a member of the Youth Services team by email at youth@lighthouse-sf.org or subscribe to our weekly E Newsletter 



 If you wish to speak with one of our Youth Services team members over the phone, please call 415-431-1481. We ask that those interested in joining our programs who are not registered as a student of the LightHouse to please start the process by completing the student intake form to apply for LightHouse Youth Programs.

Applications for the 2021 YES Academy are NOW OPEN. Please visit the link for more information and the application form.