Services

Division of Social Services for The Blind and Visually Impaired:  The Blind Center serves as the Home Office for the Division of Social Services for the Blind of Beaufort County.

Assistance with New Glasses.  The Blind Center partners with New Eyes for the Needy and Marvel Optics to provide income-eligible individuals with new glasses through this service.  All individuals applying must have a current eye exam and prescription (within the past 12 months) and applications are accepted by appointment only.

Audio Library and Computer Lab Resource.  The Blind Center hosts an extensive audio book collection and computer lab that is in the process of being updated and expanded to better serve the visually impaired community.  All low-vision and blind individuals are invited to come and utilize these services free of charge.  The hours of operation are Monday-Thursday from 9:00am-3:00pm.

Education

Cooking for Healthy Living: Understanding the correlation between nutrition and eye health, The Blind Center is intentional about delivering opportunities for the clients to learn about the value of making healthy food choices daily.  In our cooking for healthy living class, the clients have the opportunity to learn about selecting nutritional foods, substituting healthier items in their diet and learning how to prepare food with low-vision and/or blindness.

Health Seminars:  Partnering with the Beaufort County Health Department, The Blind Center offers this seminar once per month which provides clients the opportunity to learn about specific topics such as: Food Portions, Diabetic Education and Prevention, The Value of Exercise, Monitoring Cholesterol and so much more!  Kimberly Matthews from the Beaufort County Health Department presents the 2nd Thursday of each month from 10:30am-11:30am.  This class is open to the community and is free of charge.

Safety Training: The Blind Center offers quarterly information sessions in safety training.  Partnering with the Washington Police Department, Washington Fire and EMS Department and the American Red Cross, we provide the clients and community with the opportunity to learn how to prepare for emergencies, as well as ensuring their safety in home and during travel.

Assistive Technology Class: We are excited to offer this Brand New Assistive Technology Class with Gloria Jinks, NC Assistive Technologist.  Ms. Jinks brings her excitement, passion and enthusiasm to The Blind Center the 3rd Thursday of each month from 9:00am-11:30am as she instructs those who are impacted by low vision and blindness with the newest technology that is available!  Come out and learn how these devices can help you in everyday living such as cooking, reading, watching tv, counting money and more!  This class is completely free and is open to the community.

Independent Living Skills (Coming Soon): The Blind Center is partnering with Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living Resource to offer monthly classes to assist those who are visually impaired with enhancing their independence through skill development.  Topics will include, but are not limited to: Budget and Financial Management, Laundry, Cooking, Cleaning, Organization and Home Management.

Opportunities

Chair Exercise:  Partnering with AHOY (Add Health on Years), Ms. Jane Pacenta leads the clients in chair exercise each Tuesday morning from 9:00am-10:00am.

Inspirational Book Club: For those who love to read and enjoy a great book of hope, The Blind Center offers an Inspirational Book Club for the clients to engage in some of the newest books that will bring joy to the heart and hope to the soul!

Crafting Classes: An opportunity for the blind and visually impaired to explore their creative side and learn how to make unique pieces of art, jewelry, candles, decoupage and more!  All of the items that are created by the blind and visually impaired are proudly displayed in our Gift Shoppe and available for purchase!  These beautiful items make the perfect, handmade gift for the loved ones in your life!  All proceeds directly support the clients that we serve daily.

Chair Caning Apprenticeship:  For those who have chairs at home that need to be refinished through chair caning, The Blind Center can meet this need for you!  Master craftsmen serve alongside the clients, providing instruction and guidance through this art.  The finished products are absolutely gorgeous and not only provide families with a quality heirloom to cherish for years to come, but also leaves the handprint of the blind and visually impaired clients who have diligently served to complete the task.

Basket Weaving Classes: Each Wednesday, the clients enjoy a personalized basket weaving class.  While some create baskets for family members or to gift to others, many are made to display for purchase in our Gift Shoppe.  One of our favorite characteristics of these handmade, beautiful baskets is the name of the client who made it can be found on the bottom of each basket. Not only do you purchase a handmade gift, you have the name of the client who crafted this special treasure!

Music Enrichment: The Blind Center seeks to offer as many fun and enriching opportunities for the blind and visually impaired clients that we serve daily!  A new partnership with Covenant Church in Washington has extended us with the opportunity of having Music Enrichment with Pastor Scott Bircher each Thursday morning from 10:00am-10:30am.  This is certainly one of the favorite client programs!

Creative Writing: With the request from a client who loves to write poetry and short stories, The Blind Center has recently partnered with the Pamlico Writers Guild to offer Creative Writing Workshops at The Blind Center.  This unique experience provides the clients with the opportunity to continue capturing their thoughts on to paper, despite their low vision.

Recreational Opportunities: In addition to the extensive programs and classes that are offered at The Blind Center, we seek to provide the clients with recreational fun such as corn hole, trivia, Bingo, Monopoly, as well as group outings to Bowling, the NC Life and Science Museum, The Rocky Hock Theatre and more!

Meet Our Staff

A photo of Liz Liles 

Liz Liles

Liz Liles began her career at The Blind Center in January 2016 as Program Director.  In May 2016, she was promoted to Executive Director and has absolutely loved every moment of this journey!  Passionate about advocating for the disabled and ensuring that every individual has the opportunity to thrive in life, Liz continuously seeks to develop new partnerships and to provide engaging programs for the clients served.  In 2008, she graduated with honors from Fayetteville State University with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in English Language and Literature and a Psychology Minor.  She plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Teaching for the visually impaired.  In addition to serving at The Blind Center, Liz is also the founder of Daughters of Worth (a non-profit organization) and the creator of Notes of Hope.  She serves as the secretary for the Kiwanis Club of Down East, the steering committee for the Young Professionals of Beaufort County, serves on the Board of Directors for the Beaufort Area Transit System and Pitt Community Resource Center.  Liz is also assisting with the coordination of the Beaufort County Roundtable for non-profits. She also serves with the Benjamin Underwood Foundation and is a member of the National Federation of the Blind. In her spare time, she can often be found on the baseball field watching her son play, enjoying the river with family and friends, or snuggled up with her favorite Carolina Panthers Blanket with a hot cup of coffee and reading a good book!  Liz’s heart prayer is that her life would simply count…  that her moments of her days would be poured out in grace, love and serving others!

A photo of Casey Holland

Casey Holland

Casey Holland joined The Blind Center team as Program Director in August 2016.  Bringing her energy, expertise and creativity, Casey has certainly been an asset to the clients that we serve!  After retiring from East Carolina University, Casey served on the staff of Community Crossroads Shelter and also faithfully volunteered with the Third Street Community Center and STRIVE.  For those who have ever enjoyed the delicious lunches and baked goods that are often made at The Blind Center, Casey is the creator of all of these delicious goodies!  She is the proud mom of paramedic/firefighter, Scott and known as “Granny” to Dakota and Sophie.  On her days off, you will often find Casey taking care of her mom, who is also a client at The Blind Center.  She has a heart that simply loves to give and to serve others.  Yet, for the moments that she can savor for herself, you will probably find her cooking delicious meals in her kitchen, reading books on her back porch or looking for the next great adventure that will bring joy and smiles!

Partnerships

  • Precision Eye Care, Washington NC
  • My Eye Dr, Washington NC
  • Division of Social Services for the Blind
  • Lion’s Club
  • East Carolina University
  • New Eyes for the Needy
  • Marvel Optics
  • Beaufort County Health Department
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Beaufort Area Transit System
  • Covenant Church, Washington
  • Pamlico Writer’s Guild
  • Pitt Resource Connection
  • Beaufort County Non-Profits
  • The Disability Advocacy & Resource Center
  • Governor Morehead School for the Blind
  • Mid-East Commission for the Aging