Beyond Blindness receives grant from STAAR Surgical to help transform the lives of children with visual impairments and other disabilities
The donation made will help to support and expand the organization’s available programs and services
SANTA ANA, Calif., (September XX, 2021) – Beyond Blindness, formerly known as Blind Children’s Learning Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prepare children with visual impairments and other disabilities to live full and rewarding lives, has received a grant from STAAR Surgical, a leading ophthalmology company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets implantable lenses for the eye with companion delivery systems. STAAR Surgical’s grant was given in support of the core services of Beyond Blindness including Early Intervention, Education and Enrichment, and Family Support.
“The Beyond Blindness team is very grateful for the generosity and support of STAAR Surgical,” says Angie Rowe, Beyond Blindness President and Executive Director. “As we continue to push through the pandemic, the services we provide have become more crucial than ever before. Because of this grant, we will be able to reach even more children and families in need of these essential programs.”
The funding provided by STAAR Surgical will support Beyond Blindness’ Early Intervention, Education and Enrichment, and Family Support services, providing the necessary education, therapies, and support throughout each family’s entire journey of care. Beyond Blindness serves clients ages 0-22 in addition to their families who are given access to various resources through the three core areas of service.
STAAR Surgical has embraced the mission of Beyond Blindness. Caren Mason, President and CEO of STAAR Surgical, currently serves on Beyond Blindness’ Ophthalmic Advisory board, which is comprised of top medical and ophthalmic professionals.
“While serving on the Ophthalmic Board for Beyond Blindness, I’ve seen first-hand how instrumental Beyond Blindness’ services are to the families it serves,” stated Caren Mason, President and CEO of STAAR Surgical. “The wonderful work of Beyond Blindness is why we at STAAR Surgical felt compelled to provide a grant. We know Beyond Blindness is positively impacting its clients’ lives, and we feel fortunate to contribute.”
Beyond Blindness remains a key resource in serving families and children with visual impairments and other disabilities through its Early Intervention, Education and Enrichment, and Family Support services. STAAR Surgical’s donation will facilitate the work of Beyond Blindness in providing care to over 300 families as Beyond Blindness expands its reach in Orange County.
More About Beyond Blindness
Beyond Blindness, formerly Blind Children’s Learning Center, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission to empower children with visual impairments and other disabilities to achieve their fullest potential. Areas of service include Early Intervention, Education + Enrichment, and Family Support, which all aim to help children, no matter their abilities, live full and rewarding lives. The Beyond Blindness team embraces a people-first approach and values family, connection, impact, inclusion, stewardship, and optimism. For more information, please visit https://www.beyondblindness.org/
More About STAAR Surgical
STAAR, which has been dedicated solely to ophthalmic surgery for over 30 years, designs, develops, manufactures and markets implantable lenses for the eye with companion delivery systems. These lenses are intended to provide visual freedom for patients, lessening or eliminating the reliance on glasses or contact lenses. All of these lenses are foldable, which permits the surgeon to insert them through a small incision. STAAR’s lens used in refractive surgery is called an Implantable Collamer® Lens or “ICL”, which includes the EVO Visian ICL™ product line. More than 1,000,000 Visian® ICLs have been implanted to date and STAAR markets these lenses in over 75 countries. To learn more about the ICL go to: www.discovericl.com. Headquartered in Lake Forest, CA, the company operates manufacturing and packaging facilities in Aliso Viejo, CA, Monrovia, CA and Nidau, Switzerland. For more information, please visit the Company’s website at www.staar.com.
Each one is unique, but families often share the same emotions shortly before their arrival: hopelessness, fear, and confusion. “Maddie was missing all her milestones. What services would she need?” remembers her mom, Michelle. “Has anyone else gone through this? What are all these acronyms? Who can help us?”
Other parents like Chris recall neighborhood kids developing so much faster than his daughter, Sabrina. “It felt so unfair.”
Swirling emotions began for Kristin well before she learned of her son’s visual impairment. While pregnant, genetic testing confirmed Charlie shared the same rare diagnosis that proved fatal to her late brother. “Oddly, I felt hopeful because at least I had a diagnosis and treatment options.” That was before Charlie flatlined for 30 minutes during surgery and brought Kristin to her knees. “The ensuing damage left Charlie with a visual impairment and needs much greater than we had planned.”
Every child and family face different circumstances, but you can help them find the same thing at BCLC – hope for a brighter future.
Relief washed over Kristin when BCLC specialists sat down and listened to her articulate Charlie’s needs before developing a care plan. “Other places didn’t give me the chance to share that. I went from being terrified he would be left behind, to knowing Charlie would be included in everything.” With an action plan in place, Charlie, Sabrina, and Maddie could each begin a journey of their own towards a happier tomorrow:
Tickets are going fast for Vision Beyond Sight, a dining in the dark experience featuring Kodi Lee.
The most unique dining experience in Orange County is back. Vision Beyond Sight, a dining in the dark experience, will unite business elites, community members and BCLC supporters at Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin, CA on February 27, 2020.
This year's event features a musical performance by the remarkable Kodi Lee, BCLC Alum and America's Got Talent Champion. Vision Beyond Sight is an immersive evening that provides a glimpse of what a child who is blind or visually impaired experiences every day while illuminating a hopeful path forward. By dining together, we create hope for hundreds of children who are blind and visually impaired and their families!
Marconi Automotive Museum
1302 Industrial Dr, Tustin, CA
5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Immersive lights out dinner
Blind wine tasting
Musical performance by Kodi Lee
In the Community
This past month, Blind Children's Learning Center was honored to receive a multi-year pledge from the Pacific Life Foundation. The foundation and the Pacific Life Good Guys continue to enable our children and families to overcome barriers posed by visual impairments and other disabilities.
The Center is grateful to receive recent support from the following institutional partners:
O.L. Halsell Foundation – early intervention services and family counseling
The Sunshine Foundation – early intervention services and family counseling
Wallace Air Cargo Group – general operating support
Crean Foundation – general operating support
Thanking our 2020 Vision Beyond Sight Sponsors
The Thompson Family Foundation
You are cordially invited to Blind Children's Learning Center's third annual Vision Beyond Sight, a dining in the dark experience.
Featuring a musical performance from Kodi Lee,
America's Got Talent 2019 Champion and Blind Children's Learning Center Alum
Thursday, February 27, 2020
5:30 pm to 8:30 pm*
Due to high demand for this event, we highly encourage a prompt RSVP.
The third annual Vision Beyond Sight is an immersive evening that provides a glimpse of what a child who is blind or visually impaired experiences every day while illuminating a hopeful path forward. By dining together, we create hope for hundreds of children who are blind and visually impaired and their families!
Marconi Automotive Museum
1302 Industrial Dr, Tustin, CA
Enjoy the stunning $30 million classic car collection!
5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Dinner begins at 6:30 pm
Immersive lights out dinner
Blind wine tasting
Tickets: $150 each
February 18, 2020, or until maximum capacity is met.
*VIP Reception, Meet-and-Greet Opportunity with Kodi Lee at 5pm
Ticketed guests who have contributed $5,000 and above since July 1, 2029, and everyone who fulfills a new pledge of $5,000 or above by the time of event check-in will receive two tickets for this exclusive opportunity. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Thank you to our Vision Beyond Sight 2020 sponsors!
The Thompson Family Foundation
The Konopisos Family
Sponsorship opportunities still available.
Please contact Kevin Fuhrmann, Director of Development, at email@example.com
or (714) 573-8888 ext. 4122.
Thanks to you, we exceeded our holiday giving goal by raising over $130,000!
Thanks to supporters like you, all three of the Jaber children are living life to the fullest. This remarkable family credits Blind Children's Learning Center for giving their three children with visual impairments a strong start in life.
The parents never thought their three children would do activities like skiing, swimming and traveling, but thanks to the strong foundation they gained at Blind Children's Learning Center, they can!
“We’ve been strong. With the support we’ve had here, everything is possible."
-Omar Jaber, father
Your Holiday Gift Strengthens
Children and Families All Year Long!
- In-home intervention for newly-diagnosed babies and toddlers
- One-on-one instruction in Braille and Mobility training
- Occupational therapy to solve day-to-day problems
- Speech and language pathology to expand communication skills
- Physical therapy to increase balance and strength
- Counseling services for the whole family to build resilience and hope
You are helping families like the Jabers to overcome the obstacles of vision loss and build full, happy lives. Your gift provides practical tools and a specialized education so every family can #seestrong.
This holiday season, we hope to raise $100,000 so we can give more children with visual impairments the ability to persevere and thrive.
Throughout December, we will be sharing lots of inspiring stories of how our families #seestrong because of your generous support.
Thank you for making #GivingTuesday a success and for helping families be STRONG!
Free Holiday Event Thursday, November 21
Special Holiday Performance
The American Pacific Ballet Company
performing songs and pieces from Frozen!
November 21, 2019
Hosted at Blind Children's Learning Center
18542 Vanderlip Ave Ste B, Santa Ana, CA 92705
Your entire family is welcome to join us for this special evening which includes a full Thanksgiving dinner and dance performance.
Space is limited. Please RSVP by November 15, 2019
RSVP by replying to this email or texting Dalit Bruchstein at (714) 642-7057
with the size of your party.
YPO Members Face Fears for Children Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired
Executives and their spouses then put concept into action by rappelling down the 17-story Marriott Irvine Spectrum. In partnership with Blind Children’s Learning Center, participants celebrated by personally donating over $10,000 to help children with visual impairments and their families in Orange County face their own fears.
Ivo Tjan, CEO of CommerceWest Bank, explained the collaboration: “As YPO members, it is our belief that the world needs better leaders and we strive to make meaningful impacts on lives, businesses, and the world. We had the opportunity to help make an impact by facing fear and rappelling for a good cause. We wanted to support Blind Children’s Learning Center because they help so many families face the fear of the unknown about their child’s visual impairments.”
"We pride the Marriott Irvine Spectrum hotel for being in the center of the action in Orange County, “ said hotel owner Bob Olson, Founder and CEO of R.D. Olson Development. “Bringing YPO and Blind Children's Learning Center together was an additional opportunity to be at the center of innovation, conquering fears, and making a positive difference in the community."
Thank you, YPO Members, for helping our students and families build brighter futures!
Celebrating Brave Steps of Independence
We are so proud of senior high school student Jasmin for meeting her goals in her Orientation and Mobility (O&M) sessions. She and her O&M specialist Mari have been building independence one step at a time by practicing at school and out in the community.
“With her mobility cane, Jasmine is now able to walk independently for about four to five blocks,” celebrates Mari. “I’m so encouraged to also see her using skills we have worked on to safely cross high-volume signal-light intersections.”
It takes years of practice, patience and a whole lot of bravery before these young students are ready to navigate new environments like this on their own. Way to go, Jasmin!
The tournament raised more than $86,000 to provide Braille and low vision instruction, white cane mobility training, and individualized academic support to preschool through 12th grade students in Orange County.
More Support for our Students
- The UPS team (and our very own board member Rosia Bruno) spent a morning at BCLC creating portable light-boxes for in-home families and brightening the executive office with a fresh coat of paint.
- Experian and Fluor employees helped Braille early childhood books at their home offices, providing our students with a wider range of reading material.
“We are proud to be making UNO more accessible and inclusive to even more families,” said Ray Adler, Global Head of Games at Mattel. The game is being sold at local Target stores.
Blind Children's Learning Center hosted "White Cane Safety Day" at Pretend City Children's Museum of Orange County on October 15. Children enjoyed trying a mobility cane to explore a small area of the museum with their eyes closed. The activity built empathy, increased understanding of the challenges our students face, and was also fun!
We were delighted when young sisters Cammy and Lily (along with their mom Marcie) stopped by our office with a small donation they had earned by baking cookies and selling them to neighbors. The girls also brought hand-made friendship bracelets to give to students. So sweet!
Congrats to BCLC Alumnus and America's Got Talent Champion,
1 million prize on September 18.
His mother Tina was instrumental in his victory, and says the competition was truly a life-changing opportunity for Kodi and their whole family.
So what's next for the talented performer?
"Kodi would love to have a grand piano in every color possible," says Tina. "But more importantly, he would love to collaborate with other great musicians and bring love to the world through music and entertainment ... he would continue to achieve his lifetime goal of being a professional musician for as long as he can."
- "This is what I call fighting against all odds and emerging victorious, you are a role model for millions and millions....."
- "Kodi is teaching everyone not to judge the outside and listen and think with our hearts."
- "Standing ovation to the work, dedication, patience involved by Kodi and all family members. They all deserve this win."
A group of Blind Children's Learning Center supporters gathered on September 19 to celebrate program highlights from the past year and meet new Executive Director, Angie Rowe. Hosted by CBRE Newport Beach, guests had time to mingle before hearing powerful parent testimony from Jackie and Zach Mullins on how services have helped change the course of their two-year-old daughter Zoe's life.
We're so thankful for all of our supporters! Together we truly make a difference to children who are blind and visually impaired in Orange County.
BCLC in the Community
Join us this weekend at the Festival of Children at the South Coast Plaza. The Festival of Children showcases more than 70 children’s charities that offer support, services and volunteer opportunities to the community. BCLC has been a proud participant in this month-long celebration since the beginning.
The BCLC booth will offer a textile matching activity to give children a chance to play a game relying on touch and sound instead of sight. Many thanks to the National Charity League - Monarch Beach volunteers for staffing the booth!
Days: Saturday and Sunday
Time: 11am to 2pm
BCLC Location: Booth 15 (located next to Banana Republic)
Free access to arts, cultural and,educational opportunities.
Schedule of Events
We hope all of you with young children can join us at Pretend City on October 15 from 11am - 2pm!
Golf, Shop, and Win at the Dr. Frank Villalobos Fall Golf Classic!
Dr. Frank Villalobos
Fall Golf Classic
Monday, October 14, 2019
Yorba Linda Country Club
12:00 pm - Golf Start
4:30 pm Social Hour, Speaker & Auction
2 Premier Tickets to the BNP Paribas Indian Wells Tennis Tournament Finals on Friday and Saturday
2-Night Stay at the Marriott Renaissance Esmeralda Resort
Thanks to our wonderful Golf sponsors!
Dr. Frank and Jeanette Villalobos
St. Andrews Sponsor
Pebble Beach Sponsor
Yorba Linda Country Club Sponsor
Legacy of Independence Society
There are now more ways to create a lasting legacy during your lifetime.
Stable, long-term support helps children like Jack (pictured) gain self-sufficiency from birth to age 22.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.