Executive Director:
Jan Huneke

Location and website:
1750 S. Big Bend Blvd

Describe your business:
Founded in 1951 by Delta Gamma Fraternity alumnae of Washington University, DGCkids employs a staff of 28 full and part-time employees including teachers of the visually impaired; speech, occupational and physical therapists; vision screeners, social workers; outreach, support and administrative staff.

Our mission is to help children who are blind or visually impaired reach their full potential through family-centered, specialized services and community support.

While we don’t often think about it, sight is the sense that gives us the most access to the world.  Parents come to us at a complete loss as to how to help their child grow and learn without vision.  We answer the tough questions – Will my child be able to read?  How will they make friends? Will they be able to play sports?  Go to college?

DGCkids provides services to children with visual impairments birth through high school graduation.

  • Services for our youngest clients (birth – age 3) are comprehensive and focus on education and developmental support for children and parents.  Early Intervention (home based education, therapy services and low vision evaluations for infants and toddlers) as well as Family Support (information and education, short term counseling, family activities and parent to parent connections) are the core of this program area.
  • Services for school age children (age 3 – HS graduation) are focused on social development and include Family Support Services as well as GRADS – our Group Recreation & Developmental Support program that provides children with visual impairments opportunities for growth in the areas of independence, social skills, recreation and community involvement.
  • We also provide services to the community at large including free vision screening (children 6 months to 5 years), Ability Awareness trainings for school age groups, and community presentations on visual impairments and vision and child development.

The passion of our staff, nearly 900 volunteers and 300 families helps raise awareness of the challenges children with visual impairments face through special events including “Art Through All Eyes” on March 24th and the 25th annual Run for Sight on May 7, at Ball Park Village.

What makes DGCkids unique?  
DGCkids serves both MO and IL residents and is the only organization in the metropolitan area which addresses the unique educational and support needs of families and children with vision loss.

What is your favorite Maplewood or Richmond Heights business?
When DGCkids launched Tandem Adventurers, a tandem cycling team for children age 10 – 18 who are blind or visually impaired, Mike Weis, owner of Big Shark Bicycle Company, came to our aid.  Thanks to help from Big Shark Bicycle and support from Lighthouse for the Blind – St. Louis, our kids are now cycling the streets of our community and beyond.  We are thrilled to have Big Shark Bicycle Co. as a fellow member of the Mid County Chamber of Commerce!