Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Independent Living Skills Instructor Laurie and Adaptive Technology Instructor Hy with Guide Dogs Georgio and Fleetwood.


Our History

Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CCBVI) has provided services to the community for more than 72 years. Mrs. Myrtle Stephens Clark, a San Joaquin County welfare worker for the blind, planted the seeds around 1944. She realized most people with visual impairments had nothing to do. Families and friends often waited on those who lived with them and smothered them with kindness; those who resided in boarding houses or hotels just seemed to mark time. Rehabilitation of younger people who became blind as adults was difficult due to few employment opportunities.

By 1945, Mrs. Clark organized an adult blind club that met at a local church; however, the need for a center that would be available daily soon became apparent, the greatest benefit being rehabilitation, i.e., helping an individual with little hope feel useful and look to the future. Mrs. Clark described her vision to several community and fraternal organizations such as, local Lions clubs, and obtained excellent cooperation. CCBVI sprouted into being on February 25, 1949, when Mrs. Clark and ten others met for the first time to create a plan to establish a center; group members formed a board of directors. Original board members were: Eve Zapherson Anderson; Mrs. Jack Boquist; Margaret Chapman; Myrtle Stephens Clark; Jennie Eliades; Mrs. Larry Gordon; Bernice Hirsch; Warner Holden; Monroe Langdon; Dr. Herbert S. Player (president); Bert Russ; Sylvia Vineyard.The board's legal advisor formulated a set of by-laws and filed Articles of Incorporation for the nonprofit on May 13, 1949. Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired was born.

Today, CCBVI is the only agency in San Joaquin County that provides specialized services to people of all ages whose vision impairments impede their ability to perform tasks of daily living. The California Deparment of Rehabilitation (DOR) certified CCBVI as a Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) provider in 1978; CCBVI has passed the rigorous biennial audit to maintain certification since then.

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