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Lighthouse of the Big Bend, Guiding People Through Vision Loss (Logo)
Lighthouse of the Big Bend ~ formerly FIRE
Mission: To assist people with vision loss in their pursuit of independence
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The Lighthouse of the Big Bend (formerly FIRE) provides free services for any person who is legally blind in Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla Counties. If you have already received services, please fill out our Client Satisfaction Survey to give us feedback on your experience.

The first step to receiving services is to complete an intake Referral Form. Feel free to print a Referral Form with lines or a Referral Form without lines for yourself or someone else, or you can call the Lighthouse
and we will fill one out with you over the phone (942-3658). If you are outside Leon County, you can call the Lighthouse toll-free at 1(888)827-6033. You are also welcome to stop by our new facility at 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace, Tallahassee, FL.

We offer adjustment counseling, information and referrals, and education. Individual instruction and classes are available to help you adapt to losing your vision, such as those listed below:

Employment Skills: For those interested in gaining employment, the Lighthouse can assist with resume writing, job searching, developing resources for job leads, completing job applications, interviewing techniques, professional work skills, self advocacy with employers, transportation issues related to jobs, and other training to help you find employment or start a career.

Daily Living Techniques: A whole new set of skills are taught to help with daily life. Methods for cleaning, cooking, hygiene, clothing identification, telling time, eating, food identification, using tools, lawn maintenance and others can all be learned.

Communication: Specialists can help you with reading, writing checks, signing your name, typing, dialing a phone, finding phone numbers, and all other aspects of communication. The Lighthouse also offers beginning and Grade 2 Braille classes if desired.

Leisure Activities: Just because you can't see doesn't mean you have to stop having fun! The Lighthouse can teach you about adaptive games, hobbies, crafts, volunteer activities and anything that interests you. Many free services are available to obtain books on tape, CD or over the Internet. Various crafts classed are offered at the Lighthouse.

Orientation & Mobility: The Lighthouse's Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialists can help you learn how to move safely and confidently at home or travel in the community. Learn to navigate stairs, find your way around open spaces, walk on campus or in the workplace, cross streets, use community transportation, instruct and follow a sighted guide, locate dropped objects, use a cane, learn about guide dogs, and other aspects of personal safety.

Computer Skills: Whether you need screen enlargement or speech access to your computer, the Lighthouse can teach you about adaptive computer software. Learn keyboard skills, Internet access, email, word processing and spreadsheet skills. Individual instruction or small classes are offered on a variety of computer programs. The Lighthouse facility also has an employment computer lab.

Support Groups: Discussing your visual impairment with others can assist you in coping with vision loss. Several discussion forums are available through the Lighthouse. You can attend a group in person or call in from your home or office.

Transition Services: High school students age 14 and older are taught the skills needed to “transition” to being an adult, getting a job, and living independently for the first time. Additionally, students learn daily living skills, assistive technology, vocational, social, and recreational skills which are critical for students to succeed in life.

Early Intervention: Young children age 0-5 and their families receive assistance in all areas of child development such as communicative, orientation and mobility, daily living, sensory and motor, and cognitive development. In addition to individual sessions, the Lighthouse offers a support group for family members and the children have a play group.

Again, please feel free to complete an intake Referral Form for yourself or someone else, or you can call the Lighthouse
and we will fill one out with you over the phone (942-3658). All services are free of charge. Individual instruction and small group classes are available at the Lighthouse facility or in your home, school, workplace, or the community depending upon what you need to learn. Before services begin, each client is informed of his or her rights and responsibilities, which are listed below:


The Lighthouse is a not for profit corporation dedicated to assisting persons who are visually impaired in achieving the maximum level of independence in their lives. Services contained within the various Programs are provided on an outreach (one on one) and group basis. Programs include training in communications, assistive technology. Orientation and mobility, techniques of daily living (home and personal management), leisure activities, advocacy, and individual and family adjustment services. Services are provided without charge and without regard to individual or family income level, race, creed, age, disability or national origin.

Upon referral for services you will be assigned a specialist. It is your specialist's responsibility to help you plan and implement a program that will insure that you receive the best services possible. Your specialist will work with you in making important decisions concerning your program and, with your full participation, your specialist will assist you in deciding which services are most appropriate to help you achieve your desired level of independence. It is also reasonable to expect from your specialist courteous and respectful treatment, honest answers regarding eligibility for and provision of services, prompt service delivery, frequent contacts, periodic reviews of your written plan, and cooperation in any appeal you wish to make.

As a client of the Lighthouse you have the right to a thorough evaluation to determine your eligibility for services and, if determined ineligible, the right to know the reason. You also have the right to participate in planning the services you will receive as well as advance notice and consultation regarding any changes in your written plan. You also have the right to review your case records and to be assured of the confidentiality of your records and reports. You also, have the right to receive services in a timely manner and free from discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, origin age or disability. You also have the right to appeal any decision concerning the denial of services, or changes in the service you will receive.

As a client of the Lighthouse you will also be expected to cooperate with your specialist in all phases of the program. You are encouraged to participate in the planning of your overall plan and to speak up if you disagree with your specialist. You are also expected to actively participate in the execution of your overall program to work toward the achievement of your goals and objectives, and to discuss with your specialist any desired changes in your overall plan. It is also your responsibility to initiate the appeal of any decision or service with which you disagree.

Your specialist should notify you of your right to appeal any decisions actions, or changes with which you disagree, such as a denial of services, changes in planned services, case inaction or lack of prompt service, case closure, or other actions that affect your ability to participate in services that will enable you to reach your goals and objectives. If you wish to request an appeal you must file a request for an administrative review with the Executive Director. This request should be in writing or in some other format accessible to you such as Braille or tape. If, after review by the Executive Director, your grievance has not been resolved to your satisfaction, you may request a formal hearing of your complaint before the Board of Directors. You will then be notified in writing on the Board's decision. Any further appeals must be taken to the court system.

The Lighthouse reserves the right to refuse, suspend, or terminate services to any individual if there is sufficient reason to suspect that illegal activities are taking place on the premises or if the situation poses a real or perceived threat of bodily harm. A reasonable effort will be made to arrange for an alternative meeting site before services are terminated. Services may also be discontinued if, after a reasonable amount of time has been allowed, a client fails to show sufficient effort toward goal achievement. Closure will also occur when all services have been completed and no additional services have been requested. The client must be fully consulted before closure is executed.

Please call or stop by to find out more!

Updated 6/12/14

Graphic of an eye
For free services, please call the Lighthouse at (850) 942-3658 or toll-free at (888) 827-6033. You can also email the Lighthouse at
~ 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace, Tallahassee, FL 32301 ~