The Central Illinois Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides programs and services meeting the emotional, educational, social and cultural needs of those we serve.
We envision a future where people who are blind or visually impaired have equal opportunities to engage independently in our great central Illinois community.
The Central Illinois Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been a hallmark of Peoria since 1955. Peoria is the home to the original white cane, invented here in 1930 when the city established the first ordinance granting right-of-way to pedestrians who are blind and visually impaired while carrying a white cane. Our Center is the owner of the original white cane and have it safely on loan to Peoria Riverfront Museum so the community can view and appreciate its historical significance.
While 82 percent of those who are blind are age 50 or older and likely coping with age-related blindness, cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, blindness affects all ages. We are the only not-for-profit organization in central Illinois solely focused on serving the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired.
We are affiliated through our board with professionals in the eye care industry and education. The exceptional leadership provided by our board and staff enable us to understand the needs of the people we serve and to strive to provide the most current and innovative solutions for their needs.
Since 1955, we have maintained a handicap-equipped facility for programs and services to bring people who are blind or visually impaired together with their peers and the community. There we provide access to resources and support for patrons and their families. Every service and program we offer promotes independence, communication, socialization, and an opportunity for our patrons to feel valued as human beings.
Services and Programs
Uftring Technology Center: Internet access; PC workstations; screen reading programs; computer training
Education and Training: Braille; white cane training; volunteer/guide training; personal assistance with completing forms, braille and mailing
Social: Weekly social program with meal; monthly jam session with meal; field trips to plays, concerts, parks, and sporting events; bingo and other games; transportation to and from center-sponsored events
Onsite Store: White canes; magnifiers; independent living aids; blind and low-vision products; talking products; games
Food Pantry: Distributed monthly
How to Help
The Center does not rely upon government support but depends entirely upon private donations, grants, and sponsorships from generous individuals and businesses in our community. We also rely heavily on volunteers to help us fulfill our mission.
We are continuously in need of new volunteers to contribute in a variety of ways—from serving meals, to driving, reception, clerical support, fundraising, teaching, maintenance and many other efforts. Please call (309) 637-3693 to help.
Felisa Jordan Durr, Executive Director
Paula Balestreri, Operations Manager