1     What is your name and business name?

Central Illinois Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

2     Tell us about your company:   

The Center’s goal is to educate its patrons and provide them with independent living skills, helping to optimize individuals’ opportunities to lead an independent life. The Center helps to fill the social, educational, and emotional needs of its blind and visually impaired patrons.

3     How did you get started?

The Central Illinois Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, formerly known as the Peoriarea Blind People’s Center until October 2013, was founded on May 9, 1955, by the members of the Illinois Social Club of the Blind and the Peoria District Association of the Blind. The Center was developed in order to provide vital services and support to individuals facing the uncertainties and challenges related to uncorrectable vision loss.

4     What would you do if you didn’t have your company?  

The blind and visually impaired citizens of Central Illinois would not have an outlet to help them with their social and educational needs or wants. The Center is a space for patrons with uncorrectable vision loss to have experiences and connections with other people living with the same type of disability.

5     What advice would you give others starting a business?  

Have an action plan so that you know the direction your are going in, don’t duplicate services offered by others or, if there is duplication, then set yourself apart from the other businesses offering the same products or services.

6     What do you attribute to your success?  

Knowing how to get the word out to the general public about products and services and programs offered at the Center. Also getting the word out about upcoming fundraisers in order to bring in the many donations, monetary and in-kind, required to operate a not for profit.

7     Tell us something that no one else knows about you

Not too many people are currently aware that the Center has the original white cane that was hand carved for a blind person with its painted red tip at the bottom to signify that it is specifically a cane for a blind person. It is held in a locked display case onsite at the Center.

8     Anything else you care to share?

9     How can people contact you if they need your services?

The Center can be contacted by land line at 309-637-3693, email at info@cicbvi.org, or the Facebook page at Central IL Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The Center’s information is also readily available on the website, www.cicbvi.org, that is updated on a monthly basis.

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