Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc.

To provide vision rehabilitation, eye health services and education that promote independence,
to collaborate with and train professionals, and to conduct research in related fields.

It's Possible to See Without Sight™

601 Southwest Eighth Avenue, FL 33130 · Ph: 305.856.2288 · Fx: 305-285.6967 · info@miamilighthouse.org 

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Legislative Affairs

2015 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host “Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon” Underwritten by All Aboard Florida

The Young Professionals of the Lighthouse hosted the annual Legislative Luncheon on July 1st, honoring Miami Lighthouse champions in the Florida Legislature during the recent legislative session. Honorees in attendance included Senator Gwen Margolis, Representative Jose Felix Diaz and Representative David Richardson. Thanks was also extended to our governmental relations guru, Bob Levy, President of Robert M. Levy & Associates, for his important work with the Legislature on behalf of Miami Lighthouse.

A highlight of the event, sponsored by All Aboard Florida, was the presentation to Miami Lighthouse of a grant by AT&T. The important new grant will enable youth who are blind or visually impaired to engage in activities related to broadcast journalism, expanding their options for further education in the field and employment. The presentation was made by Alex Dominguez, Area Director of External Affairs for AT&T.

"We are extremely honored to receive support from AT&T," said CEO Virginia A. Jacko. "This generous grant will significantly expand Miami Lighthouse's High School High Tech Program and provide our students with the opportunity to explore jobs in the communications industry."

President & CEO Virginia Jacko meets with Florida State Senator Alan Hayes

President & CEO Virginia Jacko meets with Florida State Senator Alan Hayes, Chair of Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, in Tallahassee during Dade Days 2015.

2014 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon Underwritten by All Aboard Florida

On Thursday, July 10th, the Young Professionals of Miami Lighthouse held their annual Legislative Luncheon and networking event at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Over ninety guests including elected officials and aides, Miami Lighthouse board directors, and young professionals gathered to enjoy the complimentary luncheon and networking underwritten by All Aboard Florida. This year’s lunch honored the Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation represented by Chair Eddy Gonzalez and the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners chaired by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa who was represented by Manny Orbis.

The luncheon began with Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™ student Leon Stewart performing The Star-Spangled Banner on keyboard. Ray Casas, Miami Lighthouse Board Chair-elect, welcomed attendees and introduced Miami Lighthouse Summer Training and Recreation Program (STAR) student Silvio Plata who gave the invocation. Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO, spoke about the inspiring mission of Miami Lighthouse and the importance of leadership and uniting young professionals, elected officials and Miami Lighthouse’s board directors. Attendees were treated to a personal tour of Miami Lighthouse and were able to see the many different activities that more than 150 children participate in on a daily basis in our summer camp. We thank all the elected officials, board directors and young professionals who attended the event.

2013 Florida State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez visits Miami Lighthouse

Our State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez and his staff Jennifer Gurland, Yariel Diaz and Kayla Malone toured Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on August 12th. He visited one of four Heiken mobile eye care units, the Better Chance Music Production Program™ and spoke with clients in the Social Group Activities area. We thank Representative Rodriguez and his team for spending time with us to learn about our programs.

2013 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host the “Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon” Underwritten by All Aboard Florida

The Young Professionals of Miami Lighthouse held their annual Legislative Luncheon and networking event at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Tuesday, July 9th. Over seventy young professionals and fifteen elected officials and aides gathered to enjoy the complimentary luncheon and networking underwritten by All Aboard Florida. The lunch honored Senator Denise Grimsley, Senator Gwen Margolis and State Representative Manny Diaz, Jr for their support of Miami Lighthouse and the Heiken Children’s Vision Program.

The luncheon began with Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™ student Angel Wallace singing The Star-Spangled Banner. Chairman of the Board Agustin Arellano Jr. welcomed attendees and introduced Miami Lighthouse Summer Training and Recreation Program (STAR) student Silvio Plata who gave the invocation.

Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO, spoke about the inspiring mission of Miami Lighthouse and the importance of leadership and uniting young professionals, elected officials and Miami Lighthouse’s board directors. Attendees were treated to a personal tour of Miami Lighthouse and enjoyed seeing the fun and engaging activities over 150 children participate in on a daily basis. The lunch sponsor, Jose Gonzalez, Vice President of Corporate Development for Florida East Coast Industries at All Aboard Florida, spoke about the new convenient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective intercity passenger rail service being developed between South Florida and Central Florida.

We thank our sponsor, All Aboard Florida, elected officials, aides and all the young professionals who attended the event.

CEO Virginia Jacko visited Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

CEO Virginia Jacko visited Senator Marco Rubio at his office in the Russell Senate Office Building and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who serves on the Congressional Vision Caucus, at her office in the Rayburn House Office Building in April, 2013. CEO Jacko was in Washington for the semi-annual VisionServe Alliance meeting at which she was one of three CEO panelists on a session about board governance.

2012 City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado visits Miami Lighthouse for the Blind

City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado toured Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on July 13th. He visited the children in the Summer Training and Recreation (STAR) and Transition summer camp programs, toured the Better Chance Music Production Program™ and spoke with clients in the Social Group Activities area. “It was quite an experience to tour Miami Lighthouse’s programs, and I congratulate you all for the work you are doing for our blind and visually impaired residents.” We thank Mayor Regalado for spending time with us.

2012 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host the “Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon” Underwritten by Flagler Development Company

The Young Professionals of Miami Lighthouse held their Legislative Luncheon and networking event at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Monday, June 18th. The event was generously underwritten by Flagler Development Company. Nineteen elected officials were represented at the luncheon including representatives from U.S. Senator’s Nelson and Rubio’s offices, two U.S. Congressional aides, one State Senator and four State Representatives. Over eighty young professionals gathered to enjoy the complimentary luncheon and networking which were followed by a tour of the Miami Lighthouse.

The event was kicked-off with a musical performance by Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™ students Eddy Camacho, Stephanie Camacho, Oman Pedreira and Alexis Velasquez. Chairman of the board of directors Michael Silva and chair-elect Agustin Arellano Jr. welcomed attendees to the luncheon and introduced Miami Lighthouse transition student Joey Chica to give the invocation, after which Juan Pablo Paniagua, a Braille literacy program student, spoke about his journey with Miami Lighthouse.

Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO of Miami Lighthouse, spoke to the group about the inspiring mission of Miami Lighthouse and the importance of leadership and uniting young professionals, elected officials and Miami Lighthouse’s board directors. Attendees were treated to a personal tour of Miami Lighthouse which included the Low Vision Center and Solutions Store, STAR and Transition summer camp programs and the Better Chance Music Production Program™. We have 150 schoolchildren enrolled in our summer camps. Guests enjoyed seeing the fun and engaging activities children participate in on a daily basis here at Miami Lighthouse. We thank our sponsor, Flagler Development Company, elected officials, aides and all the young professionals who attended the event.

2012 Virginia Jacko and Cameron Sisser meet Governor Rick Scott at Miami-Dade Days World Famous Paella Fest

2012 Senator Gwen Margolis presents Miami Lighthouse for the Blind a Senate resolution recognizing 80 years of service to the Miami-Dade community.

On January 17th 2012 Senator Gwen Margolis presented Virginia Jacko, and Kieran, of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind with a Senate resolution recognizing Miami Lighthouse on 80 years of the service to the Miami-Dade community. You can view the entire resolution by clicking here.

2011 Young Professionals of the Lighthouse (YPOL) host the “Miami Lighthouse Legislative Luncheon” Underwritten by Flagler Development Company

The Young Professionals of Miami Lighthouse held their Legislative Luncheon and networking event at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Monday, June 27th. The event was generously underwritten by Flagler Development Company. Sixteen elected officials were represented at the luncheon including three State Senators, four State Representatives and two U.S. Congressional aides. Sixty young professionals gathered to enjoy the complimentary luncheon and networking which were followed by a tour of the Miami Lighthouse.

The event began with elected officials assembled to view the unveiling of a plaque commemorating legislative support for Miami Lighthouse programs. Board member Agustin Arellano Jr. then welcomed attendees to the luncheon and introduced Natalia Sulca, assistant instructor in the acclaimed Miami Lighthouse Better Chance Music Production Program™, who delighted guests with an inspiring vocal performance of “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Virginia A. Jacko, President & CEO of Miami Lighthouse, spoke to the group about the inspiring mission of Miami Lighthouse and described the ways in which the Florida Legislature helps Miami Lighthouse transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired, from babies to seniors. Elected officials and young professionals in attendance were treated to a personal tour of Miami Lighthouse which included one of our Heiken mobile eye care units, Low Vision Center and Solutions Store, STAR and Transition summer camp programs and the Better Chance Music Production Program™, programs in which 125 schoolchildren are enrolled this summer. Attendees enjoyed seeing the fun and engaging activities children participate in on a daily basis here at Miami Lighthouse. We thank our sponsor, Flagler Development Company, elected officials, aides and all the young professionals who attended the event.

2011 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime visits Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, District 2, visited Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on June 22nd. He toured one of the Heiken mobile eye care units and heard a performance by students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™. “As a musician, it was a real treat to hear the students in the Miami Lighthouse music program perform,” said Commissioner Monestime. We thank Commissioner Monestime for taking time to tour our facility.

2011 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell visits Miami Lighthouse for the Blind

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell, District 8, visited Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on June 15th. She visited one of the Heiken mobile eye care units, children in the STAR summer camp program, and heard a performance by students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™. “I was delighted to have had the opportunity to tour the Miami Lighthouse and witness firsthand the remarkable programs they offer our community.” We thank Commissioner Bell for taking time to tour our facility.

2011 Florida Senators and Representatives Visit the Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program Serving Children throughout the State

Florida State Senators, Representatives and their aides visited schools located in their districts to see The Miami Lighthouse Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program at work. The Florida Heiken mobile eye care unit travelled across the State from Monroe to Pinellas to Gadsden Counties. The Florida Heiken Program will ensure that schoolchildren in Florida's public schools who have no other access to eye care will no longer have to struggle because of poor vision. As the successful bidder in response to a Department of Health RFP, the Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program was awarded a contract in 2011 to provide free comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses to financially disadvantaged schoolchildren who had no other source for vision care. The contract covers 62 Florida counties (from which Orange, Seminole, Lake and Volusia counties are excluded).

“It was awesome, such a fabulous program. I took some pictures with Carmen and Dr. Ramirez and got to sit in on 4 or 5 screenings and helped kids pick out their new glasses. Such a rewarding way to start the week. It was sad to hear some of their stories. Thank you for the invite!”
     - Holly Merrill Raschein Legislative Aide to Representative Ron Saunders

“Thank you so much for inviting us. I was very impressed with the screenings that were given. Dr. Wolynski was great and works so well with the children. I have relayed my experience to the Representative. Thank you again.”
     - Kim Hamilton Legislative Aide to Representative Denise Grimsley

2011 Representative Matt Hudson (R- Naples) visited Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility

Representative Matt Hudson (R- Naples), chair of healthcare appropriations in the Florida House visited Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s facility on May 17th. He visited with mothers and blind babies, social group activity clients, computer and technology training students and got a performance by students in the Better Chance Music Production Program™. Representative Hudson stated “I was humbled to see the hard work and dedication of so many people committed to enriching the lives of the visually impaired.” We thank Representative Hudson for his time to tour our facility.

2011 Miami Lighthouse visits Tallahassee to gain support for its Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program

Representative Matt Hudson (R- Naples), chair of healthcare appropriations in the Florida House, visited Mike Davis Elementary on Friday, February 25th to see The Miami Lighthouse Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program at work. The Florida Heiken mobile eye care unit travelled to Collier County where 39 students were examined and prescription glasses will be provided at no cost to 33 of the students. The Florida Heiken Program will ensure that schoolchildren in Florida's public schools who have no other access to eye care will no longer have to struggle because of poor vision. As the successful bidder in response to a Department of Health RFP, the Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program was awarded a contract in 2011 to provide free comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses to financially disadvantaged schoolchildren who had no other source for vision care. The contract covers 62 Florida counties (from which Orange, Seminole, Lake and Volusia counties are excluded).

2011 Miami Lighthouse visits Tallahassee to gain support for its Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program

Virginia Jacko, Carol Brady-Simmons and Cameron Sisser traveled to Tallahassee on February 7th and 8th to visit legislators about the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program. In addition to spreading the word about the fact that the program will serve 10,000 underprivileged students this year alone, the Miami Lighthouse team also attended the Fifth Annual Florida Vision Summit hosted by the Vision Caucus of The Florida Legislature and The Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind.

2010 Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Visits, Speaks to U.S. House of Representatives about Miami Lighthouse

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen visited Miami Lighthouse during our summer campus in both 2009 and 2010. She is a co-chair and founding member of the Congressional Vision Caucus, supports better access to vision care for families, and supported HR 507, Vision Care for Kids Act, which was adopted in the House of Representatives to award grants to states to provide comprehensive eye examinations by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist for children and provide treatment or services to correct vision problems of children.

On September 14, 2010 Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives about the services and programs provided by the Miami Lighthouse.

On July 12, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, joined by Mr. Benjamin Leon and members of the National Association of Women Judges, gathered to give a hands-on lesson in criminal justice and law careers to twenty-five students in the Transition program. Ros-Lehtinen, along with Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie; Miami-Dade County Court Judges Myriam Lehr, Linda Singer Stein and Lisa S. Walsh; Greenberg Traurig shareholder Ronnie Fernandez; Yara Lorenzo, law clerk to Senior U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King; and Nneka Utti, a second-year law student at the University of Miami, all served as prosecutors and defense attorneys in the mock trial meant to encourage minority high school students to pursue careers in law.

The “Color of Justice” program had students acting as the jury in the case of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, listening to trial proceedings and then deliberating on the case with their peers to reach a verdict. Association district director Judge Lisa S. Walsh, coordinator of the “Color of Justice” event stated that the organization encourages students with proficient Braille and computer skills to consider pursuing careers in criminal justice and the law.

Click here to see the article U.S. Congressswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wrote for Diario Las Americas on August 1, 2010.

2010 Miami Lighthouse Heiken Children’s Vision Program Honored by Miami-Dade County School Board

A proclamation recognizing the Miami Lighthouse Heiken Children's Vision Program for distinguished services to county schoolchildren was presented at the April 14th meeting of the Miami-Dade County School Board.

Since its creation in 1992 by the Dade County Optometric Association, the Heiken Program has provided over 40,000 free comprehensive eye examinations and glasses, when prescribed, to low-income M-DCPS students who fail their state-mandated vision screening.

Click here to read the School Board Proclamation.

2009 Federal and State Legislators Visit the Miami Lighthouse

U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Visits Miami Lighthouse

On July 2nd, U.S. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen visited the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind summer camp where she watched the children performing their daily chores and participated in their camp activities. To read U.S. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen press release, please visit http://ros-lehtinen.house.gov/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=499. To read an article by U.S. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen featured in Diario Las Americas, please click here.

2008 Miami-Dade Public Library System,
Talking Books Service Honored by the Library of Congress

As a key community partner with the Miami-Dade Public Library System, Talking Books Service, Miami Lighthouse was honored to be invited to the July 21st County Commission meeting with Mayor Carlos Alvarez & Library Director Raymond Santiago at which the Talking Book Service was recognized by the Library of Congress as the 2008 Network Subregional Library of the Year based upon collaboration with Miami Lighthouse.

 

 
 
   
   
   

 

 

Miami Lighthouse was recognized at the 2015 Florida Blue Foundation Sapphire Awards luncheon as an organization that has demonstrated excellence and innovation in community health.

 

Miami Lighthouse ranks among the elite 1% of U.S. nonprofits having earned nine consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier independent nonprofit evaluator. Receiving such a distinction reflects our sound fiscal management, responsible use of donor dollars, and financial strength.

 

Miami Lighthouse has earned the Silver participation level through the GuideStar Exchange which is a testament to Miami Lighthouse’s commitment to data transparency.

 

 

                 

 

 

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2015 Beacon Award in Education at the 13th Annual Beacon Council Awards.

 

Miami Lighthouse was the recipient of the 2013 Switchboard Miami All Star Most Valuable Non-Profit Award.

 

Miami Lighthouse is a two-time Charity Partner (2013 and 2014) of the Marlins Foundation and a 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game Legacy Partner. Our Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program has received over $300,000 in charitable donations through these partnerships.

 

Miami Lighthouse named "Best of Miami" Charity 2017 by the New Times.

   
                     

Miami Lighthouse received United Homecare’s 2012 Thelma Gibson Community Service Award at the 18th Annual Claude Pepper Memorial Awards Ceremony.

 

Miami Lighthouse received a Silver medal at the 2016 Miami Today Gold Medal Awards Ceremony.

 

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious South Florida Business Journal 2011 Excellence in Health Care Award in the Community Outreach category.

 

Miami Lighthouse honored by being named the recipient of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce 2010 Non-Profit Business Diamond Award.

 

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2008 Concern Award from Health Foundation of South Florida.