Our Mission since being founded in 1912 has been “to advance the independence of persons who are blind and visually impaired.” Emma Coolidge Weston of Hancock, NH set the groundwork for the Associaiton with a group of friends. Together, they organized a fair for the blind on the Hancock Town Green, all in an effort to showcase the talents and abilities of individuals with vision loss.
It 1933, the New Hampshire Association for the Blind was incorporated and opened its first office in Concord, NH. Ten years later, the Association hired its first Executive Director, William McGreal. Throughout the 1950’s volunteers provided social work counseling, initiated public education, oversaw the mail program, and launched a Prevent Blindness Campaign. Under the leadership of our second Executive Director, Gale Stickler, services became professionalized with skilled social workers providing core services that offered orientation and mobility training and taught daily living skills.
With the introduction of Low Vision Services in the 1970’s, the Association moved to its current headquarters at 25 Walker Street. The McGreal Sight Center got its name following a successful $1 million capital building and endowment campaign. Also, the McGreal Society was formed to recognize individuals who uniquely support the Association with bequests and planned gifts.
In 2003, the Education Services department was added to meet the needs of children with visual impairments. At that time only one Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) and a dedicated Orientation & Mobility Specialist (O&M) provided these servies. Today this department consitsts of six TVI’s and three O&M Specialists, and our services for children extend to all ages, from infants and toddlers to students to young adults.
Our Vision is to help people with sight loss continue living safely and independently at home, at work, in the classroom, and in the community. The New Hampshire Association for the Blind offers low vision services from occupational therapist and low vision therapists, vision rehabilitation therapy, orientation & mobility training, educational services, counseling services, technology training, and more! Volunteers are also available for transportation and home visits.
Vision care is provided by licensed and certified professionals. The hallmark of our rehabilitation program is the one-on-one training we provide. We go where clients go – wherever our help is needed the most! Everyone's vision loss is different, so our services are personalized to match client needs. All of our services are focused on transforming the lives of more than 6,000 people of all ages with sight loss across the state through education, training, and support. But don't take our word for it: we have dozens of success stories to back that up!