Students at The Hatlen Center for the Blind are truly living on their own: paying their own rent, choosing and cooking their own food, and traveling to meet real-life needs. Students are encouraged to solve their own problems, choose their own lifestyles and experience the consequence of their choices. We are witness to the fact that undertaking these challenges in a supportive environment is the best way to build a student’s confidence. Every part of the Hatlen curriculum is designed to address the individualized goals that will lead students to the last transition: a life of their own.
No other program gives students the responsibility to pay their own bills with their own money. Students are taught all the options for accessing and tracking financial information. They learn to budget their own money, develop real credit reputations, and take care of their own medical needs. Students also learn how to use all the latest technology in our state-of-the-art computer lab. Almost immediately, students become aware that “taking care of business” is a vital key to independence.
Learning to use paratransit, local buses, and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) gives students the confidence and skills not only to travel to work and take care of personal needs, but also to explore the greater Bay Area and take advantage of the Bay Area’s rich cultural life. Add a warm and caring staff, new friends, and a recreation program that includes kayak trips on San Francisco Bay and cross country trips in the Sierras, and the experience of independence becomes an exciting adventure!
“A person who is severely impaired never knows his hidden sources of strength until he is treated like a normal human being and encouraged to shape his own life.”