celebrating Our 85th year of serving Individuals who are Blind & Visually Impaired of North Texas!
For most of us, eighty-five years is an entire lifetime. This can also be the case for organizations; however with rejuvenation, new thinking, and a few bold moves, even an organization born in 1931 can thrive in service to its mission.
Today our service area stretches across 11 counties of North Texas, encompassing over 7600 square miles serving 150,000 blind and visually impaired. Additionally, we are the largest employer of people who are blind and visually impaired in North Texas; manufacturing and assembling over 300 items right here in Dallas. The Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind also provides assistive training and client support services to thousands in the community. Given the growth projections of North Texas, our client population is expected to double to 300,000 in the next 10 years. Statistically, 60% of U.S. people blind and visually impaired are unemployed, 30% live below poverty. We recognize we still have a great challenge before us!
So, on our 85th birthday we shared the steps we have taken at our beloved Dallas Lighthouse to ensure longevity and that it meets the demands of growth with a substantially upgraded level of care for all blind and visually impaired we serve.
- From 2015 to 2016 we increased our workforce by 17%; all of which were blind or vision impaired positions. As a result, our community impact has grown by $6.3M year-over-year.
- Our top-to-bottom facility renovation is well underway.
- Created a new concierge client services area on the first floor of the Dallas Lighthouse on Capitol Avenue that will significantly increase our capabilities in adaptive technology, orientation and mobility, career services and coaching, apprenticeship programs in sewing and contact management, financial literacy, senior support services (SOS), and social engagement and health activities.
- All manufacturing work processes have been reflowed using value stream engineering.
- Tools of continuous improvement are in place and working well to ensure our ongoing manufacturing capabilities are becoming robust benchmarks among other modern manufacturing businesses.
- Latest equipment upgrades, new automation, and robotics all support job creation for our blind and vision impaired workforce, expanding job safety and accessibility.
- Tripled the size of our fulfillment services to institutions and public service organizations ranging from food and beverage to hygiene products, safety equipment and signage.
- Launched a new website in August, 2016.
- Launched development of women’s fashion garments in our newly created 4,500 square foot garment center.
- Engaged French photographer, Jerome Poulalier to help us tell the amazing story of “Being Blind” and all the amazing abilities of the blind and visually impaired.
- Launch “DLB Sport” in October 2016, a line of reflective clothing and sport accessories to keep you and your family safe when enjoying your favorite activity.
- November 3, 2016, we celebrated 85 years with our first-ever benefit concert with renowned blind entertainer – Ronnie Millsap.