Young Adult Programs

Olmsted Center, in conjunction with the New York State Commission for the Blind, (NYSCB) offers a wide range of programs and services to children who are blind/legally blind including recreational, vocational and residential.

Olmsted Center staff has developed these programs to allow the child a natural transition as they proceed from one program level to the next.

While most of our structured programming does have preferred age ranges, we consider each candidate individually and place them in the program that will best meet their needs.

All of these programs are supported by the NYSCB and the student/family must obtain authorization to participate.

For more information on Children’s Services, please contact us at 716-882-1025.

Youth Experiencing Success (YES).

GOAL is to increase pre-teen’s self-awareness and prepare them for transition services as they approach working age.

Objectives include:

  •    Students learn to introduce themselves
  •    Use appropriate body language
  •    Self-advocate
  •    Speak to and in front of their peers
  •    Begin to learn about their personalities and interests and how each differs from one another
  •    Learn about responsibility and the daily living skills that they should be managing independently at their age
  •    Students discuss their school activities, how to get involved and what it’s like being the kid with vision loss

This four-day program held in late August incorporates the above-mentioned skills into fun activities in the community.  The kids visit local attractions, businesses and restaurants while utilizing

Pre-Vocational Services

GOAL is to introduce and reinforce the necessary skills to prepare the young adult for a successful work experience or part-time employment prior to their completion of school.

Objectives include:

  •    Learning appropriate inter-personal skills
  •    Shaking hands and one minute introduction
  •    Identifying interests and abilities
  •    Self-reporting independent living skills checklist
  •    Learning how to fill out a job application
  •    Introduction to resumes, how to start building a resume
  •    How to climb the ladder of success
  •    Difference between school and workplace behaviors
  •    How to NOT get fired

Our Pre-vocational Skills classes typically run over winter and/or spring breaks (in conjunction with the school district’s calendar) here at the Olmsted Center.  While the students benefit most from the group instructional setting, individual training is also available.

On-Site Program

GOAL is for students to succeed in an entry level paid work experience and gain a better understanding of employment/career opportunities and requirments.

Objectives include:

  •    Students participation in a paid work experience along with the support of a job coach
  •    Incorporate the necessary soft skills learned to be successful in the workplace
  •    Students research career opportunities in their area of interest including educational requirements, demand in that area, pay scale and anticipated job duties
  •    Participate in career exploration by visiting/touring community businesses
  •    Participate weekly sessions that address topics including socialization skills, self-advocacy, daily living skills, personality/interest profile testing, assistive technology, volunteerism, and general life skills

The Onstie program runs for approximately 7 weeks beginning in early July and completed by mid-August.  Center-based lessons and fieldtrips take place on Wednesdays.  Participants must arrange their own transportation or use public transportation to get to/from the worksite as well as to the Olmsted Center for the center-based portion of the program.  All program fees for fieldtrips and activities are included in the program and at no expense to the family.  Children who will be working must obtain their working papers from their school guidance counselor prior to program commencement.

Summer Employment Experience SEE


Students (typically in their Junior and/or Senior year(s) of highschool) will successfully complete this 5-week residential program providing them an opportunity to gain valuable work experience along with the necessary skills to be more successful as they transition into adulthood.

Objectives include:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of career opportunities in conjunction with the related educational and work requirements
  • Familiarity and exposure in the use of state-of-the-art assistive technology
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of college preparation and the necessary skills to succeed
  • Knowledge and attainment of employability skills
  • Participation in a paid work experience for resume building
  • The importance of possessing the skills necessary to live independently and responsibly
  • Ability to balance work, school and social obligations
  • Assist students in adapting to new or unfamiliar environments and social situations


  • Orient the participants into the program’s overall goals, objectives, and methodology, introduce staff, as well as clarify both staff and student roles and responsibilities for the duration of the program
  • Thorough assessment and evaluation of the student’s daily living skills
  • Orientation and Mobility training on campus and at the worksite
  • Structured group discussions provided by an experienced social worker (MSW)
  • Opportunity for students to be exposed to a variety of career opportunities and the required academic and work-related skills necessary to successfully pursue them
  • Objective profile testing to identify student’s interests and abilities as they relate to their potential career path
  • Develop/enhance employment skills including: work ethic, completing a job application, resume building, interview skills, appearance and dress, personal hygiene and appropriate interpersonal skills. These skills will be addressed by professional staff and guest speakers
  • Provide participants a specific job with ongoing support, as needed, to insure a successful work experience
  • All students are responsible for all self-care activities including but not limited to: meal planning/preparation, laundry, keeping room and community areas clean, arranging transportation to/from work, successful time management and budgeting
  • All students are required to participate in all classes and activities

For more information on this one-of-s-kind program, contact your NYSCB counselor or Joli Morgan at 716-888-4554.


GOAL is to focus on Social/Recreational and Life Skills for children between the ages of 12-18 who are blind or legally blind.

We run a summer and winter session at Beaver Hollow Conference Center, home to the “Biggest Loser Niagara”.  Beaver Hollow is recognized for its facilitation of staff retreats with an emphasis on teambuilding.

The kids take part in various activities that focus on communication, problem solving, goal setting, process improvement and understanding roles and responsibilities.

While we tend to pack the entire time with structured activities, the kids get to have some free time for  hiking, fishing, swimming, sledding, cross country skiing and even the 40’ rockclimbing wall.   The Olmsted Center supplies all professional staffing including Vision Rehab Therapists, Orientation and Mobility Insturctors, Social Workers and overnight supervision.

Transportation is available for the students from both Buffalo and Rochester.

FOCUS is running its third session on August 22nd and is fast becoming the program of choice for students from western to central New York.

Contact Linda Wiecek for more information, 716-888-4590.