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About Us

Horizons today …

Horizons for the Blind is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired, through our consumer products and services, the cultural arts, education and recreation.

We believe that the 21.2 million* blind and visually impaired people in the U.S. have the right to fully experience life with equal access to consumer information, printed materials and cultural and social events. As a not-for-profit organization, we offer the highest quality transcription services at competitive prices, due in part to our blind or visually impaired proofreaders who are certified by the National Library System.

Horizon’s history …

Blind since birth, Camille Caffarelli realized, even as a child, that experiencing life through the cultural arts should not be limited to those who view them in traditional ways. So in 1977, she cofounded Horizons for the Blind, focused on providing unique cultural experiences for the blind and visually impaired visitors to Chicago’s museums, zoos, gardens, aquariums and other centers of culture. Her first opportunity was with the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Nature Center where she began creating tactile exhibits, maps and Braille signage.

The success of this project was quickly followed by similar opportunities at the Shedd Aquarium, the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Field Museum and Horizons for the Blind was born. From the original staff of 2 volunteers, Horizons has grown to a staff of more than 50 employees, nearly 50 percent of whom are blind or visually impaired.

In addition, we’ve expanded our range of products and services to include Braille, Large Print and Audio billing statements, credit card statements, hotel directories, restaurant menus, newsletters and much more. Since its inception, blind, visually impaired and sighted staff members have worked together to develop innovative new programs at Horizons.

Our Community Involvement …

In addition to her current work with the Bureau of Blind Services, under the Illinois Department of Human Resources, Camille Caffarelli has served on many advisory boards and committees. She has received numerous awards and has frequently been recognized for her important work related to critical issues of the blind and visually impaired.

Horizons also sponsors an outreach community organization, The Weekenders, which provides opportunities for blind and visually impaired people to attend a wide variety of social and cultural events in the Chicagoland area. Open to the public, it’s a great place to meet new people. For more information about The Weekenders, select the tab for our Weekenders page, call us at 815-444-8800 or e-mail us at

“It’s a question of people working together to be the very best they can be,”

Camille Caffarelli

(** National Center for Health Statistics, 2006.)