VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

General Information

VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
500 Greenwich Street
Third Floor
New York, NY 10013-1354
(212) 625 1616


Brief Description

VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides services free of charge for people of all ages who are legally blind or severely visually impaired. Service areas include children and youth, adults, seniors, employment and job placement, healthy living, volunteer services, social networking, senior center, caregiver support program, in-home vision rehabilitation, residential rehabilitation center and community outreach and training.
VISIONS provides outreach, information and services in low income, ethnic minority communities and in buildings with concentrations of frail, low income elders throughout New York City.


Diane Weiss, Chief Program Officer,, 212 625 1616 ext.125

Carmen Thorne, VCB Co-Administrator,, 212 625 1616 ext.107

Ruben Coellar, Chief Program Officer,, 212 625 1616 ext.124

Ann DeShazo, Director, VISIONS at Selis Manor,

Services Offered

  • Counseling
    • General social services including short-term counseling, information, referral and direct services. Support groups including co-ed, men only and women only. Crisis management. Adjustment to blindness. Caregiver supports.

  • Information and Referral
    • Public education forums and group education borough-wide. Blindline, a New York State call center for information on products and services for people with vision loss staffed by blind operators. (212) 625-3301 or toll free 1-888-625-1616.

  • Employment/Job Training
    • Career awareness, pre-vocational and job placement. Summer employment and paid internships for people who are blind, visually impaired, or multi-disabled. Assist with finding jobs for legally blind teens, adults and seniors. Vocational training for call center operator, reception, I&R specialist.

  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Individual instruction in personal management, communications, housekeeping, computer training and occupational therapy in the client's home and community. Provides in-home vision rehabilitation therapy for legally blind people of all ages including training in independent daily living skills, mobility and mainstreaming into local community. Employment and Training services including residential institutes (conferences) throughout the year.

  • Assessment
    • Intake and referral. Vocational Training Assessment. Independent Living Assessment. Computer skill assessment. Job Readiness Assessment. Social Work Assessment.

  • Audiodescription
    • Center for Independent Living (CIL) publications--audiotapes cover indoor mobility, personal management and sensory development.

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Training for staff in senior centers, senior housing and adult day programs to identify and better serve adults and elders who are blind or visually impaired. Provides training to staff in adult homes, group homes, home care agencies, schools, after school programs, etc. Consultation to businesses.

  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Educational forums in communities with populations at risk for vision loss such as ethnic minorities or low-income groups. Group programs and social services in neighborhoods, senior and community centers (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan) to promote integration of elders who are visually impaired into community life. Self-study audio books for learning daily living skills. Staff Training to identify people with vision loss. Technical assistance to modify environments to make them user friendly for people with vision loss. VISIONS at Selis Manor community center, located on West 23rd Street in Manhattan in an apartment building for low-income people who are blind and/or otherwise disabled. offers a variety of services for tenants as well as blind community users of the facility from throughout the New York metropolitan area:
      • Social services including benefits assistance and individual and group counseling to adjust to and cope with vision loss.
      • Individual and group vision rehabilitation training including learning Braille and a cane clinic.
      • Senior services including Senior Speak Out, a weekly seminar that includes speakers on topics of interest to blind seniors, a hot dinner meal, peer networking, and the opportunity to make use of volunteer readers. Senior Speak Out meets Mondays from 2:00-5:00 PM
      • Wide variety of adapted classes and wellness programs including photography, fitness, computers, walking club, yoga, bowling, ceramics, quilting, nutrition and health workshops, etc.
      • Volunteer readers and shoppers.

  • Professional Training
    • Provides publications in rehabilitation teaching and orientation and mobility. Provides staff training for working with legally blind or visually impaired persons.Offers internships for graduate students in vision rehabilitation therapy, orientation and mobility and social work graduate programs.

  • Recreation Services
    • VISIONS VCB near Spring Valley, New York, in Rockland County. Five summer sessions and special winter weekends and a full range of activities with adapted facilities. VISIONS at Selis Manor offers adapted recreation and fitness classes for legally blind youth, adults and seniors.

  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides orientation and mobility training for all ages by certified orientation and mobility specialists.

  • Low Vision Services
    • Provides low vision services as part of organization's vision rehabilitation services.

  • In-Home Services
    • Vision Rehabilitation services (O&M, VRT, OT, etc.) provided in the person's home. Sighted youth visit blind elderly persons in their homes.

  • Support Groups
    • Support groups for blind adults and seniors meet at VISIONS at Selis Manor 135 W. 23rd Street, NY, NY. Co-ed, men only and women only groups available based on demand. Family support groups and after school program for blind youth.

  • Advocacy
    • VISIONS sponsors a weekly session for seniors called Senior Speak Out teaching seniors with vision loss how to advocate on their own behalf and how to interact with elected and appointed public officials.

  • Accessibility
    • Support group for parents with their blind children age 10-14 years living in Westchester and Hudson Valley of New York State (virtual and in person on weekends)