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LightHouse Youth Programs

Polishing to Perfection Now Meets In-Person

Polishing to Perfection Now Meets In-Person

Over the last few years, many blind and low vision teens and young adults who attended Enchanted Hills summer camp have learned the wood crafting skills needed to polish a piece of wood into a piece of art. Throughout the pandemic, these dedicated students of the Polishing to Perfection club met virtually to keep up the hobby and stay connected with their blind and low vision friends. Now that many are feeling safe enough to gather for in-person programs, we are excited to host Polishing in the Park.
These new polishing parties in the park will take place on the third Saturday of the month from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at rotating parks around the Bay Area. Each gathering will have time dedicated to students to update each other about their projects, learn a little about that month’s mentor, and most importantly, time to hang out and polish with their blind and low vision friends. Students who sign up for the program will receive the basic materials and equipment to get started with wood polishing. Students who remain active in the program and improve their skills will become eligible for additional raw materials that they can turn into art.
So, pack up your woodworking gear and join us Saturday, September 17, for Polishing in the Park at Lake Merritt in Oakland! See full event details below:
Who: LightHouse youth who are blind or have low vision
When: Saturday, September 17, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Where: Lake Merritt Amphitheater at Lake Merritt (near the intersection of Lake Merritt Blvd and 11th St)
RSVP: Please contact Jamey Gump by email at JGump@LightHouse-sf.org or by phone at 415-694-7372. Light refreshments and polishing supplies will be provided for students who RSVP by Friday September 16.
We can’t wait to see you at the very first Polishing in the Park!

Another Great YES Summer Academy Completed

Another Great YES Summer Academy Completed

Photo 1: YES Academy students gather together at a Muni station in San Francisco. From left to right: Daisy Soto (YES Coordinator), Monse, Adam, Heriberto, Omar, Nicole (mentor), Eman, Katya, Rocco, Jisselle (mentor), Andrew (mentor), and Dlan

Photo 2:  YES Summer Academy students Rocco, Hari and Adam pose together in front of a heart sculpture at Pier 39 in San Francisco

This summer, eight high school and college students joined LightHouse for our annual YES (Youth Employment Services) Academy. LightHouse Youth Services Coordinator, Daisy Soto, recaps the experience:

This year’s YES Summer Academy students spent 28 days learning and honing skills that will help prepare them for the workforce. During their first week, students received lessons from LightHouse staff on Orientation & Mobility (O&M), Independent Living Skills, and Access Technology essentials for employment. The second week focused on community-building and navigation skills. With the support of Youth Program staff and mentors, participants independently navigated new locations such as Angel Island, San Francisco State University, and Peer 39. They had the opportunity to take a variety of public transit systems (BART, Muni, cable cars, ferry, etc.) and worked on problem-solving strategies when exploring all of these new locations.

During their last two weeks, all students successfully completed their work experience practicums, which included some working as janitorial and food safety assistants and internships at LightHouse Sirkin Center. Weekends were filled with cooking challenges, walks on the Golden Gate Bridge and around Lake Merritt in Oakland, and an abundance of karaoke nights! YES participants left the program with not only an updated cover letter, resume, and job experiences in hand, but with increased pride and confidence as they take on employment and educational goals. It was certainly a summer filled with laughter and learning for all!

Photo 3: YES Academy student Hari explores a tactile map with LightHouse Orientation & Mobility Instructor Joshua Lopez

Photo 4: YES Summer Academy students and staff member cooking dinner in the accessible kitchen at LightHouse. From left to right: Dlan, Katya, Devin Upson (LightHouse Orientation & Mobility Instructor), and Rocco

As we wrap up a successful summer, the LightHouse Youth Programs team welcomes a new season filled with an array of educational, social, and recreational programs for youth and transition-aged students. Join like-minded blind and low vision academics for College Spaces, create cool art with fellow woodworkers in-person with Polishing in the Park, or hang out with your LightHouse and EHC besties every Friday night for the weekly virtual Daredevils watch party. Also this fall, LightHouse students ages 16 – 25 have the opportunity to join the LightHouse Youth Council. Do you have an idea for future programs or want to make a positive impact in your community? Learn more about the LightHouse Youth Council here. We look forward to an awesome autumn with the LightHouse Youth Programs team!