BCC Executive Recognized as a Finalist for a Los Angeles Business Journal Award

The Blind Children’s Center (BCC) is proud to announce that Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Orth, M.P.A., was recognized as a finalist for the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2024 Nonprofit Executive of the Year Award!

Orth’s commitment to the children and families the Center serves is truly remarkable. Her dedication, passion and innovative leadership are the driving forces behind the BCC’s transformative journey as it enters its most impactful year yet. Under her guidance, the BCC continues to thrive and make a significant difference in the lives of the children and families in need.

Read more about the awards and the incredible organizations impacting the Los Angeles community.

Honoring the Visionary Founders of the Blind Children’s Center During Women’s History Month

As the world celebrates Women’s History Month, it is important to reflect on the impact of the visionary women who paved the way for positive change in the lives of young children who are blind or visually impaired. The story of the Blind Children’s Center is rooted in a pivotal moment from the 1936 Delta Gamma Fraternity Convention. Ruth Billow, a Delta Gamma from the University of Akron who was blind, addressed the Convention and advocated for “Aid to the Blind” to become the fraternity’s official philanthropy. 

United under philanthropy, a group of LA County Delta Gamma alumnae chapters came together to identify the specific needs of their community, in which they discovered a critical gap. Despite the presence of several schools for the blind, there were no resources available for preschool children or their parents. Wanting to fill this gap, these dedicated women began their mission to establish a place that would cater to this population, resulting in over 80 years of change-making history. 

Unaware of the profound impact the facility would have on their community, a team of volunteers, led by UCLA’s retiring Head of Medicine, Dr. Lillian Ray Titcomb, founded the Nursery School for Visually Handicapped Children in a private home on October 3, 1938, the first of five schools a part of Delta Gamma’s Service for Sight initiative. By 1940 it became clear that the original school required expansion into a permanent building tailored to accommodate the needs of the children.

At the 1946 Delta Gamma National Convention, these women launched a fundraising campaign and sought opportunities beyond the Delta Gamma community to generate publicity and donations. Articles in Photoplay, Screen Guild, McCalls, Look and the Saturday Evening Post positioned them to become nationally recognized as a model program, where guests and educational and medical professionals came to learn about these transformative efforts. 

With the continued attention, a Building Committee was later formed to find a location and an architect for a permanent facility. The founder and fellow committee members engaged Paul R. Williams, one of the finest architects of his generation, to design the new building. This collaboration to help blind children emerged during a time of discrimination, yet stood as a beacon of hope and inclusivity in the face of adversity.

The Delta Gamma women were not aware that their efforts in creating equal opportunities would make history and lay the groundwork for an inclusive environment where children, regardless of vision, could learn and grow for almost a century. The founders have inspired generations and continue to leave behind a legacy of compassion and service.

For more information about the Blind Children’s Center history, visit: https://www.blindchildrenscenter.org/who-weare/.

Meet the Blind Children’s Center

Parents in Los Angeles are fortunate to have a number, and often a variety, of top-tier facilities and programs to help our children, from various types of therapists and therapies to learning aids and tools.

Add the Blind Children’s Center (BCC) to that list.

Developed in 1938 through the foresight of a dedicated team of Southern California Delta Gamma Fraternity alumnae volunteers, it was led by UCLA’s retiring Head of Medicine, Dr. Lillian Titcomb. Together, they founded the Nursery School for Visually Handicapped Children in a private home and, in 1954, expanded to build BCC’s current permanent home in East Hollywood to serve more children and families in the community. The Blind Children’s Center was the first of five schools founded as part of Delta Gamma Fraternity’s Service for Sight initiative.

The BCC prepares infants, toddlers and preschoolers of all abilities to thrive through inclusive, family-focused early childhood education, with a specialized focus on children who are blind or visually impaired. But its programs have been expanded in recent years to bring children with vision loss, autism, disabilities and/or complex medical conditions together with their typically developing peers to create inclusive environments where all children can experience belonging and reach their potential.

And more growth is coming. In partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the BCC broke ground in June 2023 to expand its facility infrastructure, build additional classrooms, install a nature-based playground and more. Renovations will enable BCC to increase enrollment to serve nearly 100 students each year, according to Jasmin Joya, community relations manager.

“The Blind Children’s Center serves children from birth to 5 years old and pregnant mothers,” Joya says, noting that the center offers these programs:

  • Inclusive Infant/Toddler Early Head Start Programs. The Infant Program is for pregnant mothers and children from birth to 3 years old. Parents/caregivers and their children meet two days per week for three hours in a small group setting that is staffed by Parent Educators
  • Center-Based Toddler Program is for children from 18-36 months-old, is fully inclusive, has small size classes in the BCC’s licensed child-care center and is staffed by teachers.
  • The Inclusive Preschool Head Start Program is for children 3-5 years old, also offers small size classes in its licensed childcare center and is staffed by a teacher and two associates.

BCC’s programs provide comprehensive education, health, mental health and nutrition services, as well as coordinated therapeutic services, including sensory development, orientation and mobility, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language development and braille pre-literacy skills. Joya notes that the BCC served more than 50 families last year.

We asked Bianca Ciebrant, BCC Program Director, about the most gratifying part of her job. “It comes years after the family has left BCC,” she says. “When students return to visit when they are in 3rd grade, 7th grade, high school and share their own stories of successes, challenges and accomplishments, that is most gratifying. When their parents say, ‘Remember when the teacher worked every day with him on a particular skill, and now he shows others how to do it!’ Or ‘Remember how much I hated to do something and now it’s my favorite thing to do!’ When families share those stories and are really reflecting on the dedication that BCC staff had with their child to guide and teach them, always touches my heart.”

“Another gratifying moment comes when parents become advocates and join organizations for children with visual impairments or special needs on higher levels.,” Bianca adds. “We currently have a mom who has been with us for over 10 years as her older child attended BCC and now her younger child. Both children have special needs. She started as a quiet, new parent and now is the chair of our Policy Committee and represents BCC on a county level at the LACOE PC meetings. To see her growth over the past 10 years and know that this is just the beginning, makes me proud of the work we do.”

To learn more about the BCC, visit blindchildrenscenter.org.

L.A. Parent

L.A. Foundations Back Renovation of a Historic Facility Serving Children with Visual Impairments

Since 1938, the Blind Children’s Center in Los Angeles has provided early care and education for young children with visual impairments and other disabilities. Now, with the help of several philanthropies, the historic building where the center is based is undergoing a major renovation to update its facilities and expand its reach.

To read the full article visit Inside Philanthropy.

Paul Revere Williams-designed Blind Children’s Center is getting remodeled for a new century of service in Los Angeles

A renovation of the historic Paul Revere Williams-designed Blind Children’s Center (BCC) is underway in Los Angeles. The 80-year-old structure that preceded Williams’s seminal St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and other hospital designs in Southern California by twenty years is now being remodeled and modernized to match the expanded needs of the BCC community for a new century.

Williams had been living in his now landmarked first residence in Jefferson Park at the time of his commissioning for the project. His design gave the nonprofit its first permanent home during a period of rampant discrimination, thus serving as a built testament to inclusivity.

Now, with support from the Ahmanson, W. M. Keck and Rose Hills Foundations, the BCC’s board of directors says the renovation of the 12,642-square-foot facility is to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Remodel four classrooms to add a toddler component to the child care license of serving children from 18 to 36 months in the center-based program
  • Update four preschool classrooms and restrooms
  • Increase the capacity of the total childcare license
  • Implement significant ADA upgrades, such as the addition of an elevator and ramps to the outdoor playgrounds
  • Redesign one of the current playgrounds and develop a toddler play yard
  • Refurbish shared spaces, including offices, lighting, flooring, plumbing and other infrastructures

“Blind Children’s Center is blessed to own its permanent facility in the heart of Los Angeles,” Sarah Orth, the BCC’s chief executive officer, said finally. “Now we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage federal and state funding, and private grants and donations, to modernize the Center and expand our inclusive early learning programs.”

Another major modernization project of Williams’s 1967 Pritzker Hall at UCLA was completed recently by CO Architects at a reported cost of $30 million.

Archinect

Blind Children’s Center Renovation Highlights Design of Architect Paul R. Williams

The Blind Children’s Center (BCC), a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization founded in 1938, is currently undergoing renovations to its historic Hollywood building designed by renowned architect Paul R. Williams.

The philanthropy for “Aid to the Blind” was born and developed from the Delta Gamma Fraternity’s 1936 convention. UCLA’s Dr. Lillian Ray Titcomb led the charge of Southern California alumnae volunteers who founded the Nursery School for Visually Handicapped Children in 1938 – the first of five founded under the Delta Gamma’s “Service for Sight” initiative.

Designed and constructed in the 1940s, the BCC (as it’s known today) continues to specialize in services for very young children who are blind or visually impaired, and children with other disabilities. Since its founding, the BCC has always been on the lookout for opportunities to improve and expand its programs, leading to its recent renovation project that broke ground in June 2023. This project aims to accommodate the community’s growing needs, uphold the BCC’s mission and preserve the unique history of the building.

“Blind Children’s Center is blessed to own its permanent facility in the heart of Los Angeles,” said Sarah Orth, chief executive officer. “Now we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage federal and state funding, and private grants and donations, to modernize the Center and expand our inclusive early learning programs.”

From its humble beginnings in a volunteer-staffed home classroom to its current location in the heart of Hollywood, the BCC strives to be a leader in inclusive education. The organization develops unique opportunities for children through an inclusive, family-focused setting, rooted in comprehensive programming and educational curriculum adapted to the needs of each student.

As a licensed preschool for children ages two to five years old, the BCC faces challenges in operating to its maximum potential due to its age and layout. It recently partnered with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to gain access to federal (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start) and state (California Department of Education, Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program) funding to expand and renovate the facility. This partnership, in concert with contributions from the Ahmanson, W. M. Keck and Rose Hills Foundations, and the BCC’s board of directors, (among so many others) contribute significantly to its final project goals, which are to:

  • Remodel four classrooms to add a toddler component to the child care license of serving children from 18 to 36 months in the center-based program
  • Update four preschool classrooms and restrooms
  • Increase the capacity of the total childcare license
  • Implement significant ADA upgrades, such as the addition of an elevator and ramps to the outdoor playgrounds
  • Redesign one of the current playgrounds and develop a toddler play yard
  • Refurbish shared spaces, including offices, lighting, flooring, plumbing and other infrastructures

In 1948, as the BCC sought a new and more permanent location in Los Angeles, the founder and fellow board members engaged Williams to design a new building. Little did they know that this collaboration would endure eight decades with the Center continuing to transform lives and preserve history within that very building. This partnership to help blind children, formed during a time of discrimination, stands as a testament to the BCC’s and Williams’ enduring commitment to inclusivity. Throughout his esteemed career, Williams designed more than 3,000 buildings, mastered a variety of architectural styles and broke racial barriers as the first African American member and fellow of the American Institute of Architects in the United States. The main building of the BCC stands as one of the very few school buildings he designed, exemplifying his practice of reducing fees for projects that aligned with his social beliefs. This building is an architectural treasure, representing 70 years of change-making history and service.

Through these current renovations, the BCC remains committed to preserving the history of the building, while continuing to provide invaluable services to children and their families. As this process continues, the BCC invites the Los Angeles County community and those interested to stay connected, follow its progress and be a part of the story. Together, creating a nurturing environment where blind and visually impaired children learn and thrive is possible.

For more information and updates on the renovation project, visit the Blind Children’s Center website or follow them on social media.

LA Sentinel

Paul R. Williams: Legendary Black Architect’s Blind Children’s Center Renovation Highlights His Work

*For Black History Month We’d like to point our reader’s attention to a special and unique Black architect who designed a center for the blind in Los Angeles. The Blind Children’s Center (BCC), a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization founded in 1938, is currently undergoing renovations to its historic Hollywood building designed by renowned architect Paul R. Williams.

The philanthropy for “Aid to the Blind” was born and developed from the Delta Gamma Fraternity’s 1936 convention. UCLA’s Dr. Lillian Ray Titcomb led the charge of Southern California alumnae volunteers who founded the Nursery School for Visually Handicapped Children in 1938 – the first of five founded under Delta Gamma’s “Service for Sight” initiative.

Designed and constructed in the 1940s, the BCC (as it’s known today) continues to specialize in services for very young children who are blind or visually impaired, and children with other disabilities. Since its founding, the BCC has always looked for opportunities to improve and expand its programs, leading to its recent renovation project that broke ground in June 2023. This project aims to accommodate the community’s growing needs, uphold the BCC’s mission, and preserve the unique history of the building.

“Blind Children’s Center is blessed to own its permanent facility in the heart of Los Angeles,” said Sarah Orth, chief executive officer. “Now we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage federal and state funding, and private grants and donations, to modernize the Center and expand our inclusive early learning programs.”

From its humble beginnings in a volunteer-staffed home classroom to its current location in the heart of Hollywood, the BCC strives to be a leader in inclusive education. The organization develops unique opportunities for children through an inclusive, family-focused setting, rooted in comprehensive programming and educational curriculum adapted to the needs of each student.

As a licensed preschool for children ages two to five years old, the BCC faces challenges in operating to its maximum potential due to its age and layout. It recently partnered with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to gain access to federal (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start) and state (California Department of Education, Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program) funding to expand and renovate the facility. This partnership, in concert with contributions from the Ahmanson, W. M. Keck, and Rose Hills Foundations, and the BCC’s board of directors, (among so many others) contributes significantly to its final project goals, which are to:

  • Remodel four classrooms to add a toddler component to the child care license of serving children from 18 to 36 months in the center-based program
  • Update four preschool classrooms and restrooms
  • Increase the capacity of the total childcare license
  • Implement significant ADA upgrades, such as the addition of an elevator and ramps to the outdoor playgrounds
  • Redesign one of the current playgrounds and develop a toddler play yard
  • Refurbish shared spaces, including offices, lighting, flooring, plumbing and other infrastructures

In 1948, as the BCC sought a new and more permanent location in Los Angeles, the founder and fellow board members engaged Paul Williams to design a new building. Little did they know that this collaboration would endure eight decades with the Center continuing to transform lives and preserve history within that very building. This partnership to help blind children, formed during a time of discrimination, stands as a testament to the BCC’s and Williams’ enduring commitment to inclusivity. Throughout his esteemed career, Williams who died in 1980 at age 85 designed more than 3,000 buildings, mastered a variety of architectural styles, and broke racial barriers as the first African American member and fellow of the American Institute of Architects in the United States. The main building of the BCC stands as one of the very few school buildings he designed, exemplifying his practice of reducing fees for projects that aligned with his social beliefs. This building is an architectural treasure, representing 70 years of change-making history and service.

Through these current renovations, the BCC remains committed to preserving the history of the building, while continuing to provide invaluable services to children and their families. As this process continues, the BCC invites the Los Angeles County community and those interested to stay connected, follow its progress, and be a part of the story. Together, creating a nurturing environment where blind and visually impaired children learn and thrive is possible.

For more information and updates on the renovation project, please visit the Blind Children’s Center website or follow them on social media.

EurWeb.com

Blind Children’s Center Community Relations Manager Jasmin Joya Presents to Glendale Burbank Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma

This October, Blind Children’s Center (BCC) Community Relations Manager Jasmin Joya shared historical information and program news with the Glendale Burbank Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma.

The event, titled “Lighting the Way since 1938,” dedicated to celebrating a rich history of impact and support, served as a tribute to the enduring partnership between BCC and Delta Gamma. Attendees enjoyed an engaging and uplifting experience, with a special focus on fostering a sense of connection and community.

Jasmin, herself a Delta Gamma alumna, delivered a heartfelt talk that centered around the transformative power of community support for the visually impaired. Drawing on her experiences at BCC, she highlighted the profound impact of the Center’s work in creating a nurturing environment for blind children and their families and spoke about various programs and initiatives aimed at fostering connection, providing resources and empowering the visually impaired community. She emphasized the significance of collective efforts in illuminating the path for these individuals, echoing the event’s theme.

“Being present at this event reminded me of my own Delta Gamma journey, as well as the incredible journey Delta Gamma has shared with the Blind Children’s Center,” said Jasmin. “It’s a beacon of hope, and I’m glad to be part of a community that continually lights the way for individuals who are visually impaired and their families.”

In addition to Jasmin’s presentation, the evening included a candle crafting activity, during which participants created their own personalized candles.

“This hands-on and creative endeavor not only added a personal touch to the event but also symbolized the collective effort of Delta Gamma to bring light into the lives of others,” said President Kristin Van Steenwyck. “Through the act of crafting candles, attendees contributed to the metaphorical illumination that the BCC Foundation has provided for decades.”

With a rich background in community relations and managerial roles, Jasmin is an experienced professional who has been a member of the BCC team since September 2022. She joined BCC from Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, where she progressed from family relations and recruitment manager to community relations and recruitment manager. Jasmin holds a Bachelor of Science in Soc./Administrative Studies with a focus on marketing from the University of California, Riverside, and a Nonprofit Marketing and Communications Certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation from Arizona State University.

The Glendale Burbank Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma was chartered in 1950. For 50 years, its members were from the communities of Glendale, Burbank, La Crescenta, Tujunga, Sun Valley and Sunland. Twenty-three years ago, the chapter extended to add members from all communities along the 210 freeway from Pasadena to the 605 freeway, including Altadena, Arcadia, Duarte, Monrovia, Pasadena, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena.

LA Times Giving Guide Ads

For the past three years, the Blind Children’s Center has participated in the LA Times annual Giving Guide. Distributed to subscribers throughout the County, the issue has been a great way for us to raise awareness and spread the word about our critical mission.

December 2023 Giving Guide Ad

December 2022 Giving Guide Ad

December 2021 Giving Guide Ad

Blind Children’s Center Renovation Project, Seeks Historical Recognition for Paul R. Williams-designed Building

Group photo at the Blind Children's Center Groundbreaking ceremony.The Blind Children’s Center, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization founded in 1938, is currently undergoing renovations to its historic Hollywood building designed by renowned architect Paul R. Williams. Designed and constructed in the 1940s, the Center today continues to specialize in services for very young children who are blind or visually impaired and children with other disabilities.

Since its founding, the Center is always on the lookout for opportunities to improve and expand its programs, leading to its recent renovation project that broke ground in June 2023. This project aims to accommodate the community’s growing needs, uphold the Center’s mission and preserve the unique history of the building.

“Blind Children’s Center is blessed to own its permanent facility in the heart of Los Angeles,” said Sarah Orth, chief executive officer. “Now we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage federal and state funding, and private grants and donations, to modernize the Center and expand our inclusive early learning programs.”

From its humble beginnings in a volunteer-staffed home classroom to its current location in the heart of Hollywood, the Center strives to be a leader in inclusive education. The organization develops unique opportunities for children through an inclusive, family-focused setting, rooted in comprehensive programming and educational curriculum adapted to the needs of each student.

As a licensed preschool for children ages two to five years old, the Center faces challenges in operating to its maximum potential due to its age and layout. The Center recently partnered with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to gain access to federal (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start) and state (California Department of Education, Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program) funding to expand and renovate the facility. This partnership, coupled with contributions from the Ahmanson, W. M. Keck and Rose Hills Foundations, and the Center’s board of directors, contribute significantly to the Center’s final project goals, which are to:

  • Remodel four classrooms to add a toddler component to the child care license of serving children from 18 to 36 months in the center-based program
  • Update four preschool classrooms and restrooms
  • Increase the capacity of the total childcare license
  • Implement significant ADA upgrades, such as the addition of an elevator and ramps to the outdoor playgrounds
  • Redesign one of the current playgrounds and develop a toddler play yard
  • Refurbish shared spaces, including offices, lighting, flooring, plumbing and other infrastructures

The Center’s renovation project also seeks acknowledgment of the building’s historical and cultural significance as a historic partnership between a group of visionary women and Williams. 

In 1948, as the Center sought a new and more permanent location in Los Angeles, the founder and fellow board members engaged Williams to design a new building. Little did they know that this collaboration would endure eight decades with the Center continuing to transform lives and preserve history within that very building. This partnership to help blind children, formed during a time of discrimination, stands as a testament to the Center’s and Williams’ enduring commitment to inclusivity. 

Throughout his esteemed career, Williams designed more than 3,000 buildings, mastered a variety of architectural styles and broke racial barriers as the first African American member and fellow of the American Institute of Architects in the United States. The main building of the Center stands as one of the very few school buildings he designed, exemplifying his practice of reducing fees for projects that aligned with his social beliefs. This building is an architectural treasure, representing 70 years of change-making history and service.

Through these current renovations, the Center remains committed to preserving the history of the building, while continuing to provide invaluable services to children and their families. As this process continues, the Center invites the Los Angeles County community and those interested to stay connected, follow its progress and be a part of the story. Together, creating a nurturing environment where blind and visually impaired children learn and thrive is possible.

For more information and updates on the renovation project, visit the Blind Children Center’s website or follow them on social media.