May 25, 2019
Carroll Center for the Blind Gets $120K for Internship Program

May 21, 2018 — The Carroll Center for the Blind, a Newton nonprofit that provides rehabilitation, skills training, and educational opportunities to blind and visually-impaired persons, today announced it has received a $120,000 grant to fund an internship program for graduate-level students studying vision education and allied professions.

The three-year grant, from the Gibney Family Foundation, will fund the launch of the Carroll Interns program.

As many as 10 interns will participate each year in the campus-based program. Upon completion of the internship, participants will have one-year paid service obligation at the Carroll Center or at other nonprofit agencies who need vision professionals with expanded practice experience.

The Carroll Center for the Blind said Carroll Interns will provide key training and assist with the placement of vision educators whose ranks have declined even as the population of individuals who are blind or have low vision increases.

Gregory J. Donnelly, president and CEO of the Carroll Center, said ,“Our goal with Carroll Interns is to create a pipeline of skilled vision educators, who are in great demand by schools to provide direct services to students with vision loss. We are grateful for The Gibney Family Foundation’s support for this new program, which will provide university scholars with the essential experience and knowledge to prepare them for community-based services."

The Carroll Center noted it often must turn away requests from schools for vision services because it lacks adequate educational staff to meet the need, adding that the nation faces a severe shortage of teachers of students with visual impairments, as well as orientation and mobility instructors.

The grant from the Gibney Family Foundation is the most recent in its 20-year partnership with the Carroll Center for the Blind, which has included support for many programs and services that impact the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

Professionals who specialize in visual impairment attend university preparation programs and are required to participate in internships before they can be eligible for certification or licensure. The Carroll Center is partnering with several higher education institutions that offer visual education and related programs, including the University of Massachusetts Boston, Florida State University, and Northern Illinois University.

“We are so pleased to work together to develop the Carroll Interns program,” said Frank Gibney, founding member of the Gibney Family Foundation. “We collaborated to identify the needs of the Carroll Center that would also have a national impact with more effective solutions.

"The Carroll Interns program will recruit and train our future blindness and allied professionals and then support and sustain those professionals, thereby making strong progress to resolve the national shortage of vison educators."

Established in 1936, the Carroll Center for the Blind, which seeks to enable those who are blind and visually impaired to achieve independence and to lead a fulfilling life, provides services for individuals of all ages including vision rehabilitation services, vocational and transition programs, assistive technology training, educational support, services for seniors, and an optical shop.

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