A Story of Great Vision

History_insetThroughout its 72-year history, Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey has been a thought leader in the programs and services offered to those with profound vision loss. What began as a summer residential camp for blind women has grown into an organization that offers unique state-of-the-art programs. Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey has been ahead of its time every step of the way.

Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey traces its origins to 1943, when a group of individuals met in a Newark basement to address societal bias against people who, like themselves, were blind or had profound vision loss. They formed the New Jersey Association for the Blind and started the state’s first summer residential camp program in Denville, NJ, offering respite to women who were blind. The founders focused on women’s needs because they had fewer options for leading an independent life at that time. Under the name NJ Foundation for the Blind, the summer camp expanded its offerings to provide life-skills training to help those with profound vision loss live more independent lives.

Focusing on Essential Life Skills
Over time, it became evident that providing tools to promote independence was key to helping individuals with profound vision loss. Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey recognized this growing need, and in the 1990’s expanded its mission from just providing care, to focusing on teaching basic and essential life skills, as well as providing health and wellness activities year-round. While the residential camp still ran in the summer, a day program that fostered independence and self-sufficiency was established during the remainder of the year. It remains the only day program of its kind for individuals with profound vision loss in the state of New Jersey.

In 2005, Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey made the decision to focus solely on its mission of helping individuals with profound vision loss continue to live active and independent lives. To improve access to its programs, they sold their large property, de-centralized its program model, and in 2010 opened program locations in additional counties. Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey now offers a full continuum of programs in Denville, and select programs in Montclair, Ridgewood and Sparta.

A New Phase of Growth
Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey has begun a new phase in its growth, and now approaches the future with renewed determination to remain a leader, offering innovative programs as well as expanded accessibility to individuals affected by profound vision loss.

Looking to the future with optimism, Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey will continue to provide a lifeline to all those with profound vision loss, and a safe haven where their needs are understood and their dignity is acknowledged as we guide them through programs that will help them lead a more independent life.

“I made so many friends here, and we all help each other. It’s like my second home.”

Rebecca, Program Participant