By Beth Fisher. CREATED Feb 18, 2014
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Most of us can't imagine losing our sight after a lifetime of seeing. But it happens and then those adults have to figure out how to "do life" visually impaired or altogether blind. Blind Connect is helping.
Every step is a challenge for Dennis Clay who is now learning to walk as a blind man. "I was always out and about. Completely independent. When I became blind, I had to rely on the goodwill of others to help me get around. I think that's the hardest part about being blind."
Glaucoma took Dennis' sight and his career in IT. On this day, he's relearning how to use a computer. "That's what I like about this program. When I found this I thought 'man I could really start being more independent.' When you lose your independence, you lose your self worth."
For the first time ever, Blind Connect is offering a program called Transition 2. It's a 3 week boot camp of sorts, followed by months of 1-on - mentoring where participants learn everything from kitchen skills to folding laundry and Braille. It's an alternative to programs offered by the state.
President of Blind Connect Jean Peyton says, "If you want to go back to work or school then you can receive services from the state. But if you're not because you haven't adjusted to your vision loss because you don't even know how to live. There are no programs available to you in this state."
Until now. This program is for people who are legally blind and between the ages of 22-55 -- a group that wasn't being served before.
"Many of whom just sort of isolate and stay home because they don't know of any services. They don't know of any other blind people. It's difficult. It's a very isolating disease.
There are an estimated 26,000 to 30,000 people in Clark County with vision loss that can't be corrected by glasses. The ultimate goal of Blind Connect is to get those people with sudden vision loss back into the community.