YES Academy Student Romesha Laird smiles while learning to use a white cane on Market Street.

YES Summer Academy

Youth Employment Series (YES) Academy
June 23 – July 21, 2019

This summer, we’re offering youth ages 16 to 24 a new opportunity: to live away from home, attend the world’s largest blindness convention, and gain real work experience in a month-long program based in downtown San Francisco.

Applications for YES Academy 2019 close on April 29, 2019.

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Youth Employment Series (YES) is excited to announce our 2019 Summer Academy for working-age blind and low vision youth! Youth will have access to engaging and memorable interactive learning opportunities as they participate in work-based learning experiences while connecting with life-long friends and mentors. Prepare to be immersed in innovative and comprehensive pre-employment skills training situated in am empowering and supportive community!

The YES Summer Academy is a 4-week long immersive experience for youth to gain first-hand knowledge with building their confidence, to learn collaboration and how to be a “team player,” to identify their strengths and interests, as well as to gain a sense of direction through interactive work-based learning experiences. The YES Summer Academy will culminate with youth expanding their web of support, exploring their career interests, as well as equip themselves with tools (i.e. a set of professional attire, working resume, interview strategies, etc.) as they continue on their journeys toward competitive meaningful employment.

Learning outcomes will include:

  1. Youth will have the opportunity to conduct informational interviews with professionals resulting in relevant job exploration, counseling, and labor market information.
  2. Participants will be immersed in a variety of work-based learning experiences through paid work-based opportunities where they will be responsible for commuting to work, selecting appropriate attire, as well as communicate with their respective supervisors.
  3. Attendees will hone their workplace readiness soft skills such as practicing effective collaboration, drafting and delivering presentations, and engaging in independent living as they collaborate and support one another while they progress through their summer work-based experiences.
  4. Participants will 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. Transitional age youth will have the opportunity to elevate their attitude and confidence from 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. Youth will have the opportunity to practice setting, progressing, and achieving professional and personal goals. They will learn the importance of informed decision making in order to achieve their career aspirations.

The YES Summer Academy comprehensive pre-employment transition Skills curriculum include: (1) job exploration counseling, (2) work-based learning experiences, (3) counseling on opportunities for exploration and enrollment in comprehensive transition or post-secondary educational program, (4) workplace readiness training to develop soft and independent living skills, and (5) critical instruction in self-advocacy refinement and connection to blind and low vision mentors.

Our work-based experience component will encourage students to reflect and incorporate their Summer Academy experience on their resumes and be more prepared for when the dream opportunity arrives. The YES Summer Academy also includes an opportunity to attend the annual National Federation of the Blind Convention held in Las Vegas. This exciting conference will allow students to meet thousands of blind role models engaged in a myriad of work disciplines as they conduct informational interviews, practice their soft skills, be introduced to a wide array of products and services for the blind as they peruse the Exhibition Hall, participate in a nation-wide accessible job-fair, and an array of informative seminars.

To apply, follow the steps below:

  1. Fill out our general LightHouse Student Intake Form and select ‘YES Summer Academy 2019‘ 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. Complete the YES Summer Academy Participation Application and Short Responses. Please send your responses to by April 29, 2019.

If you have any questions regarding the YES Summer Academy, please contact Ann Wai-Yee Kwong, Transition Program Specialist, by email at or by phone at 415-694-7328.

Applicants must have an open case with their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency or other entity for funding to cover associated costs. Please note that the fee is $7,500 which is all-inclusive except transportation costs to and from the program.