DIALOGUE Interviews Camille Caffarelli of Horizons

Recently we asked Camille Caffarelli to tell us about her organization, Horizons for the Blind. Here is what she had to share with us.

Horizons for the Blind, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1977 to improve the quality of life for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, many of whom are senior citizens, by increasing accessibility to culture, education, recreation, employment and consumer information. Services offered by Horizons begin where those of rehabilitation organizations end.

Our organization continues to grow. Large organizations such as banks and phone companies need to provide their customers who are blind or visually impaired with information--billing statements, rules and regulations, newsletters, etc. We send these items out to customers using the mailing envelopes from the contracting organizations and become transparent in the process. So, many things you receive may be produced by us, but the material does not include our name. We have more than 30 employees and maintain offices in Illinois and Florida. Our top products for production and distribution are billing statements and newsletters. We also produce recipe, craft and leisure titles that are sold directly to people who are braille or large print readers.

We try to partner as much as possible with other organizations in the field. By working together, we can all broaden our base.

Our organization receives its funding through contractual agreements and donations. We work closely as a team of blind, low vision and sighted people to produce the best quality accessible material in braille, large print, cassette and CD formats. By using the strengths of these three groups of people, we are in a position to create, produce and carry out quality control in a timely manner to which customers who use alternate format materials are entitled--the same quality which sighted customers all too often take for granted.

We feel that by providing alternate formatted material specific to the needs of individuals, we are empowering people to live and conduct business independently and become more self-sufficient members of society. Hiring people who are blind or visually impaired to work at Horizons creates a scenario where everyone wins. Please check our Web site in the next few months to learn about a very exciting new project.

For more information, contact Horizons for the Blind, 2 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, IL 60014; Phone: 800-318-2000; E-mail:; Web site:

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