Three youth appear in front of a heart shaped structure at Pier 39 in San Francisco

2023 Summer YES Academy

Sunday, July 2 through Sunday, July 30, 2023

The LightHouse for The Blind and Visually Impaired Youth Employment Services (YES) is excited to offer the return of our Summer Academy for transition-age blind and low vision youth! Transition-age is between the ages of 16 and 24.

This year, the YES Academy will be hosted at LightHouse headquarters in San Francisco, where youth will have opportunities to hone independence and pre-employment skills while surrounded by supportive mentors and peers. Youth will have the opportunity to fill their summer with engaging and valuable learning experiences as they participate in independent living trainings, employment readiness seminars, work-based experiences, mentoring conversations, and memorable social activities, all while connecting with life-long friends and mentors as well as supportive LightHouse staff. Prepare to participate in an innovative and comprehensive pre-employment and independence skills filled summer connected to an empowering and supportive community!

The YES Summer Academy is a 4-week long immersive experience for youth to gain first-hand knowledge with building confidence and positive identity, to learn collaboration and how to be a “team player,” to identify strengths and interests, as well as to gain a sense of direction through interactive work-based learning experiences. The three core components are:

  • Week 1 – Your Skills, Your Goals Bootcamp growing your employment knowledge, and networking with peers and professionals
  • Week 2 – Expanding your network, cultivating community
  • Weeks 3 and 4 – Growing Your Resume, and Work Experience Practicum

The YES Summer Academy will culminate with youth expanding their web of support and exploring their career interests.  They will also come away equipped with tools such as a working resume, interview strategies and a strengths profile. 

Learning outcomes based on the nationally recognized Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (pre-employment transition skills) include:

  1. Conduct research and informational interviews with professionals resulting in relevant job exploration, counseling, and labor market information.
  2. Take part in a variety of work-based learning experiences through paid work-based opportunities where they will gain an increased understanding of important topics related to the world of work including:
    1. Professional presentation and first impressions
    2. Understanding employer expectations
    3. Orientation and mobility skills needed for community inclusion
    4. Self-advocacy and negotiating disability accommodations, and assistive technologies for the workplace.
  3. Hone their workplace readiness soft skills such as practicing effective collaboration, drafting, and delivering presentations, and engaging in independent living as they work as a team to support one another as the summer job exploration experiences progress.
  4. Increase their understanding of resources, services, and knowledge in the areas of self-advocacy, requesting accommodations, college education necessary for certain career paths, financial literacy including benefits planning, as well as legal rights and responsibilities of blind and low vision individuals.
  5. Elevate their attitude and confidence through meeting with successful blind and low vision peer mentors and professionals pursuing various careers as well as cultivate community with peers who have similar interest or transition aspirations.
  6. Practice setting, progressing, and achieving professional and personal goals. They will learn the importance of informed decision making to solidify and achieve their individualized projected post school employment outcomes.

If you are ready to attend or have any questions, please contact Daisy Soto, Youth Services Coordinator, at or 415-694-7328.

To join the YES Summer Academy as a participant, follow the steps below:

  1. Complete the LightHouse Student Intake Form and select “YES Summer Academy” under the Program Interest section. If you have participated in LightHouse Youth programs within the last year, please skip this step and go directly to Step 2.
  2. Contact to receive and complete the YES Academy application and short responses form. In your interest email please include: your name and preferred email address, name of current DOR counselor, and names of current or recent TVI (teacher for the visually impaired) and O&M (orientation and mobility) instructors. 

Please make sure all steps are completed by May 15 2023.


Due to the popular nature of the YES Summer Academy coupled with physical distancing safety measures, be sure to complete all application and health/safety materials prior to the deadline to be considered. Applicants for the YES Summer Academy must have an open case with the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) or other entity for funding to cover associated costs. Please note the fee is $7,000 for the entire four-week program.

Commitment to Health and Safety

The YES Summer Academy is, and will continue to be, in strict accordance with agency local, state and health recommendations and guidelines.