About Us


Who We Are

Our History

Prior to 1980, Independence for the Blind operated under two names: first, the Visually Impaired Program (VIP), and later, the Adult Blind Independent Living (ABIL) Program.   From 1980 to 1993, the program was administered by Pensacola Junior College and called SCIL, Skills Center for Independent Living.  After PJC lost funding for SCIL, concerned community members who saw the need for education for the blind established a corporation and opened doors for service.  From 1993 to 1995, the program continued its mission under the sponsorship of a similar, Tallahassee-based organization called Independence for the Blind, Inc.  On October 1, 1995, the corporation became a self-governing, private, not-for-profit entity fully incorporated under the name of Independence for the Blind of West Florida (IB West).


IB West initially served the blind in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties.  Today, IB West’s coverage area stretches from the port city of Pensacola to the Apalachicola River, an area of the Florida panhandle that is home to a million residents.  IB West is funded in part by the Florida Department of Education, Division of Blind Services. 



Independence for the Blind of West Florida is the only nonprofit entirely devoted to educating the blind and visually impaired in West Florida. 

IB West's ten county district

Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, and Gulf counties.


You can download our brochure here.

Our Mission

Our mission is to assist persons who are blind or visually impaired to achieve independence. 


Our Vision

To be the standard of excellence in rehabilitation services across the total age spectrum of the blind and the visually impaired population.

What We Do

IB West continues to provide client-centered individualized instruction to the blind, incorporating the most up-to-date techniques and equipment.  Each year, our counselors log more than 6,000 hours of instruction time and work with more than 200 clients throughout our ten county service area. All of Independence for the Blind of West Florida services aregeared toward assisting the blind toward independence to whatever level is possible and desired by the individual.  Services include but are not limited to the following:


1) Assessments and Counseling to assist individuals (and their families) in identifying their needs and training possibilities.


2) Orientation and Mobility training to assist individuals to learn how to safely navigate in their homes and in the community.  We help them arrange their homes in ways that help avoid accidents and how to use a cane.


3) Adult Daily Living (ADL):  Provides instruction on cooking, organizing cabinets and clothes, cleaning, using the telephone etc.


4) Communications:  Braille, time telling and devices, writing guides and typing. Instructions on how to take medications, getting to medical appointments and accessing community services.


5) Assistive Devices:  We help individuals identify and obtain assistive devices to meet their individual needs and teach how to use it.  Assistive devices include talking clocks, alarm clocks, watches, talking scales, calculators, talking magnifiers, writing guides, CCTV’s, liquid level indicators etc.


6) Adaptive Computer training: Provides instruction in the use of Computer technology for the Blind so they can use email, access the internet and other computer related activities. Also includes training in the use of cell phones.


7) Leisure activities Training: fun activities helping to individual integrate into to the larger society and to feel less isolated


8) Vocational Rehabilitation: Provides job Search skills and assists in job placement for adults.


9) Information and Referral of Complementary/Collateral Services:  helping Blind individuals accessTalking Books, free directory assistance, community transportation etc.


10) Transition Activities for Teens:  Provides activities and training to assist teens in making the transition to adulthood and entering the workforce.






How do I apply for services from

Independence for the Blind?

Complete an application (Click Here to Download Application) and mail it with a current eye exam to the address below:

Independence for the Blind of West Florida

3107 North Davis Highway

Pensacola, FL  32503


"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness.  It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." 

          ~ Helen Keller