Services and programs for blind and visually impaired residents of Lehigh and Northampton Counties began in 1928. In that year, Helen Keller, the inspirational deaf-blind teacher, spoke at Liberty High School in Bethlehem. She exhorted members of the Lions Clubs in the audience to join her crusade against blindness by becoming “Knights of the Blind.” The Lions Clubs immediately took up the challenge and founded Associations for the Blind in both Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
In the early days, Blind Associations established workshops which taught new skills such as broom making and weaving to blind and visually impaired clients. As the years went on, the workshops closed and the services and programs provided by the agencies focused more on a team approach to guide clients in their progress towards their own level of independence. The names of the agencies were changed, as well—to the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (ABVI) in Lehigh County and Visual Impairment & Blindness Services in Northampton County (VIABL Services). In 2003, VIABL Services opened a branch office in Monroe County to answer the unmet needs of the blind and visually impaired in that area.
On January 1, 2010, ABVI and VIABL Services began the new decade with a consolidation of their operations into the Center for Vision Loss. The Board of Directors of the new agency is committed to one vision for Lehigh, Northampton and Monroe Counties that focuses on being the best that we can be for our clients, consumers, friends, volunteers and donors. Staff and Board are committed to providing the best preventative, rehabilitative and social services for our clients; being the best partner with the medical community and essential agencies serving those with visual impairment; and the best choice for individuals, clubs, foundations and other organizations that generously donate and support our important work.