Blind Service Association (BSA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing an array of programs and services to people who are blind and visually impaired in the Chicagoland area.
Programs and Services at BSA include:
- The heart and soul of BSA is the reading and recording program. BSA is unique in that it is the only agency in the United States dedicated to providing such a service. Over 150 volunteers either read one-to-one to our clients or record material in the privacy of our office or other locations. We only record material not already available in audio format. Volunteers will read anything from textbooks, mail, professional journals, etc.
- The Senior Program provides education, support and social activities to help those with age related eye diseases lead more manageable lives. There is also a membership club for those aged fifty and up called The Vision Connection which offers special invitations to events and a monthly newsletter. The Vision Connection also presents an Annual Vision Expo which is a daylong event with vendors and exhibitors and features lectures from leading health care providers.
- Our Youth program, in cooperation with the Chicago Board of Education and other suburban schools, reaches out to blind and visually impaired youth with mentoring, academic track coaching, college readiness and a quarterly newsletter. During the summer children from 10 to 18 years of age have the opportunity to participate in Pathways, a six week program, where they learn daily living skills, participate in recreational activities, performing art classes and visit cultural sites in the city. We also provide glasses and vision aids to those in need.
- BSA has four separate support groups facilitated by those who themselves are visually impaired. The groups meet monthly and are categorized for older adults, mid life adults, young adults and a group strictly for men. In addition, we support our clients with various clubs that help them to remain active and involved. The clubs are: walking, short story, healthy living, knitting, guide dog, supper dining, recorder (musical instrument), stress management and story telling. We also provide individual private braille lessons and canes to those in need.
- The View (Visual Impairment Employment Waygate), BSA's employment program, is working to help alleviate the 70% unemployment figure amongst people who are blind and visually impaired. Coaching, mentoring and workshops are offered in groups and privately to help assist our clients as they work to find jobs in the community.
- A Scholarship program where up to $30,000 in scholarships are awarded yearly to legally blind students looking to advance their education whether going to college, a university or technical school.
- Information and Referral, a one-stop shop to get immediate answers for your particular needs.
- A Speakers Bureau offering information for your group about programs at Blind Service Association.
Most services at BSA are provided free of charge.
BSA serves all members of the community regardless of age, race, color, religion, creed, citizenship status, maritial status, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other protected status under applicable law.