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

YES Summer Academy

Applications for YES Summer Academy 2020 are now open!
Sunday, June 21 – Sunday, July 19, 2020

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Youth Employment Series (YES) is excited to announce the 2020 Summer Academy for working age blind and low vision youth. Students will have access to an unforgettable summer filled with interactive learning opportunities as they participate in work-based learning experiences. They’ll meet life-long friends, mentors and supportive LightHouse staff. Students will be immersed in a comprehensive pre-employment independence skills course which takes place at the heart of an empowering and supportive community in San Francisco. The YES Summer Academy is a four-week immersive experience for young people to gain skills which help build confidence and positive identity. They will learn to collaborate and be a team player, identify their strengths and interests, and gain a sense of direction through interactive work-based learning experiences.

By the end of the YES Summer Academy students will have expanded their web of support, explored career interests, and been equipped with vocational tools i.e. a set of professional attire, working resume, interview strategies, etc.

Further learning outcomes include:

  1. Students 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, self-advocacy and negotiating workplace accommodations, as well as communicating 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 with and support one another.
  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. Students 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. Students will have the opportunity to practice setting, progressing, and achieving professional and personal goals.
  7. Students will learn the importance of informed decision making in order to solidify and achieve their individualized projected post school employment outcomes.

YES Summer Academy’s comprehensive pre-employment transition skills curriculum: (1) Job exploration counseling (2) work-based learning experiences (3) counseling on opportunities for researching and enrollment in transition or post-secondary educational program (4) workplace readiness training to develop soft and independent living skills (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 their dream opportunity arrives. YES Summer Academy also includes a chance to attend the annual National Federation of the Blind Convention held in Houston, Texas. This exciting conference will allow students to meet thousands of blind role models engaged in a myriad of work disciplines. Students will 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 job-fair and informative seminars.

To apply, follow the steps below:

  1. Fill out our general LightHouse Student Intake Form and select YES Summer Academy 2020. 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 youth@lighthouse-sf.org by April 20, 2020.

Please note
1. Space for the Summer Academy is limited and student application, interview, and funding/authorization must be confirmed in order to be considered.
2. The LightHouse Youth Services team is also seeking several enthusiastic and confident individuals to support program objectives and join the YES Summer Academy Mentor staff. Candidates must be youth-focused, flexible, and in possession of strong interpersonal, leadership and communication skills; for more information, please contact Ann Wai-Yee Kwong at youth@lighthouse-sf.org
If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact Ann Wai-Yee Kwong by email at youth@lighthouse-sf.org or by phone at 415-694-7328.

Applicants for the Academy 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 $8,000 which is all-inclusive except transportation costs to and from the program.

Applications for the YES Summer Academy close on April 20, 2020.