Education Programs

East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind (ETLB) offers educational programs designed to prepare teens and young adults for life beyond high school. Through our college preparatory program, scholarship program, and annual summer camp, teens and young adults who are blind or have a visual impairment have the opportunity to equip themselves with the skills necessary to conquer their transition goals.

Camp Lighthouse

 

We believe summers should be full of fun, friends, and fearlessness! In 2022, ETLB launched “Camp Lighthouse” to ensure high schoolers who are blind or have visual impairments have an opportunity to safely experience a week of independence, confidence-building, and connections with friends like them.

 

During this six-day camp each June, students stay overnight on the University of Texas at Tyler’s campus and participate in fun and educational activities around the Tyler area. Activities are designed to incorporate the Expanded Core Curriculum and focus on skill development in the areas of independent living, orientation and mobility, recreation and leisure, self-determination, and social interaction. Campers can expect to engage in many indoor and outdoor activities, including cooking, team building, ropes courses, climbing, horseback riding, goal ball, and much, much more!

 

This year’s program is offered June 23 – June 28. The Summer 2024 Camp Lighthouse application will be open February 16, 2024 – April 12, 2024. Please note that space is limited, and camper approvals are completed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Camper Requirements

 

  • Campers who are blind or have a visual impairment.

 

  • Campers must be 14 to 18 years old and enrolled in high school. Campers must be 14 years old by June 23, 2024.

 

  • Camper must be a resident of Texas.

 

  • Campers must complete a Camp Interview as well as Orientation & Mobility (O&M) and Activities of Daily Living Skills (ADL) assessments with ETLB staff PRIOR TO May 3, 2024. Interview and assessments are used to determine camper eligibility.

 

  • Campers must be able to stay in dorm environment with 24-hour supervision and must be independent in their dressing, eating, toileting, hygiene, and communication abilities.

 

  • Campers must have the ability to fully participate in on and off-campus activities and events.

 

  • Minimal physical and social/behavioral support requirements. All participants must have the social and physical ability to engage in this program.

For more information about the program content or application process, please contact MK Kahrhoff, ETLB College and Career Readiness Counselor at 903-590-4335, or by email at mkahrhoff@etxlighthouse.org.

Summer College Preparatory Program

 

For students with low vision, moving out and heading to college is a big step, and can be even more daunting without a local network. The ETLB College Prep Program allows recent high school graduates to experience college firsthand while receiving ongoing transition support and training from its staff.

 

During this five-week summer program, College Prep participants enroll in a three credit hour Learning Frameworks course at Tyler Junior College (TJC) and live independently on TJC’s campus while receiving skills training at ETLB in the areas of O&M, ADL, assistive technology (AT), and postsecondary education and career preparation.

Scholarship student right during graduation ceremony, standing with Educational Services Manager, Lori Arteaga

Students will also get the opportunity to explore the Tyler area and participate in recreational and leisure activities.

Student Requirements

 

  • Students who are legally blind or have a visual impairment.

 

  • Applicants must be recent high school graduates (within the last three years).

 

  • High school GPA of 3.0 or higher.

 

  • Must meet all Tyler Junior College eligibility requirements.

 

  • Students should be able to live independently/without supervision in student housing and must be independent in their dressing, eating, toileting, hygiene, and communication abilities.

 

  • Completion of College Prep Interview and AT, O&M, and ADL assessments with ETLB staff PRIOR TO May 3, 2024. Interview and assessments are used to determine student eligibility.

 

  • Completion/submission of all necessary academic and financial documents, including College Prep application; high school/postsecondary transcripts; reference letter, current low vision exam/eye report; statement of interest; completed FERPA waiver; TJC Summer 2 housing application; TJC acceptance letter; proof of completed FAFSA; tuition waiver, if applicable; and Texas Workforce Commission tech package, if applicable PRIOR TO May 17, 2024.

Student Expectations

 

  • Students are expected to complete all ETLB and TJC assignments and homework in a timely manner.

 

  • Students are expected to adhere to all ETLB and TJC Student Handbook Policies and Procedures, including but not limited to any policy regarding academic and/or non-academic conduct and all absence policies.

 

  • Students are expected to participate in all required ETLB and TJC learning activities.

 

  • Students are expected to use a cane for mobility at all appropriate times, if applicable.

 

  • After training, students are expected to independently use Tyler paratransit services for transportation to and from the TJC and ETLB campuses as well as coordinate their own weekend transportation.
client in Microsoft Office classroom with enlarged print on the computer screen

For more information about the program content or application process, please contact MK Kahrhoff, ETLB College and Career Readiness Counselor at 903-590-4335, or by email at mkahrhoff@etxlighthouse.org.

 

This year’s program is offered July 7 – August 9. Summer 2024 College Prep application will be open February 16, 2024 – April 12, 2024. Please note that space is limited, and student approvals are completed on a first-come, first-served basis. Admittance into the program is also based on TJC housing availability and available space in designated Learning Frameworks course.

Scholarship Program

 

We believe in removing barriers and creating opportunities for those who are blind or visually impaired. ETLB offers needs-based educational scholarships for individuals pursuing postsecondary education opportunities, including two-year, four-year, and graduate degrees.

 

This program can help cover school-related expenses such as tuition, books, fees, technology, housing, and transportation. Students who receive scholarship funds through this program are also offered educational case management services to help ensure a holistic approach to success.

All scholarship applications are reviewed and awarded each semester based on the student’s academic performance, demonstrated need, and amount of funding available. Eligibility requirements include:

 

  • Be legally blind or a dependent of someone who is legally blind.
  • Be a resident of Texas.
  • Acceptance to and attendance at an accredited college or university (Please note: If a degree plan is offered regionally or at a public institution of higher education, attendance at distant and/or private colleges or universities may not be funded.)
  • Record of academic success.
  • For graduate degree funding (e.g. master’s degree or terminal degree): Applicant must have worked in the field of proposed degree for at least two years prior to the date of application.

You will need to include the following documents with your completed application:

 

  • Certification of legal blindness. Legal blindness is defined as an individual who cannot see better than 20/200 in the best eye with correction or whose visual field in the best eye is 20 degrees or less at the widest diameter with correction (Please note: Dependents who are not legally blind must submit certification of parent/guardian legal blindness.)
  • Proof of Texas residency.
  • A transcript(s) from the school you are currently attending. Entering freshmen will need to include their high school transcripts and graduate students will also need to include undergraduate transcripts.
  • For graduate degree applicants: Proof of employment in field of degree.
  • One letter of reference from a person not related to the applicant. Examples include letters from vocational, high school, or college counselors, academic advisors, and current or former teachers.
  • Proof of acceptance from a post-secondary school.
  • One 3-4 paragraph letter of intent describing your educational, career, and future plans. Letter should include what this scholarship will mean to you and/or your family.
  • Proof of FAFSA application and award.
  • Proof of financial aid award from institution (required even if award is $0).
  • Documentation of any other forms of financial aid including Pell Grants and/or other scholarships.
  • Student detailed schedule for upcoming semester.
  • Invoices justifying requested scholarship amount.

 

All supporting documentation – except current semester grades and invoices not yet posted by the student’s postsecondary institution (e.g. housing bill) – must be received by the posted deadline. Current semester grades and other required documentation received by student after the application deadline must be submitted as soon as they are available.

 

Please note: Funding amounts are based on demonstrated need, student performance, and amount of funding available. Funding limits are based on funding availability and may vary between semesters.

 

The Spring 2024 Scholarship Application and Renewal Deadline has closed. Stay tuned for details on our Summer application deadlines!

East Texas Lighthouse Educator Grant Opportunities

 

East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind is proud to announce two new grant opportunities for teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVIs), certified orientation and mobility specialists (COMS), and other professionals who directly serve blind or visually impaired children or young adults. We have three grant cycles throughout the year based on when the activity is planned.

Student-Related Grant Details

  • Activity involves a student(s) who is visually impaired, blind, or deafblind living in Texas.
  • Activity focused on the Expanded Core Curriculum.
  • Funding Limit: Up to $500/teacher/school year (Considerations may be made for larger groups).

 

Requirements:

  • Application and supporting documentation submitted on or before the deadline (see below).
  • Summary of activity including students, goals, objectives, and budget.
  • Professional letter of recommendation.

Professional Development Grant Details

  • Professionals working with students who are visually impaired, blind, or deafblind living in Texas.
  • Professional development must be specific to serving BVI population.
  • Professional development may include certifications, CEUs, conferences, workshops, webinars and/or travel expenses related to accessing training.
  • Funding Limit: Up to $1,000/teacher/school year.

 

Requirements:

  • Application and supporting documentation submitted on or before the deadline (see below).
  • Summary of professional development goals and application of knowledge.
  • Professional letter of recommendation.

The Spring/Summer 2024 Application and Supporting Documentation Deadline has closed. Stay tuned for details on our Fall application deadlines!