Agencies Seeing Hand Association

 The Seeing Hand Association, Inc

Contact Information:

Address: 750 Main St
Wheeling, WV

Name of Program Funded through UW:  Employment programs for the blind and visually impaired

Contact Name: Karen Haught

Phone Number: 304-232-4810



What is The Seeing Hand Association?

The Seeing Hand Association, a 501c(3) non-profit, provides rehabilitation services, community education, and advocacy to blind and visually impaired individuals living in the Greater Wheeling Area. Formed in 1936 and incorporated in 1946, the Seeing Hand Association serves Brooke, Ohio, and Marshall Counties in West Virginia and Jefferson, Belmont, and Guernsey Counties in Ohio. Our mission is to help the blind and visually impaired lead full and independent lives. We believe that blind and visually impaired individuals can be truly independent and achieve a quality of life with the appropriate individual and family support services.

Our services are designed to encourage, challenge, and empower individuals to maximize their potential in all areas of life. The services assist the blind and visually impaired in setting personal and professional goals, learning the necessary skills to meet those goals, and providing experiential opportunities to practice new skills and build confidence in every aspect of living. These services include community outreach and referrals, from young children to the elderly; screenings, career and job development; individualized training for mobility and equipment; as well as (before COVID) hosting a free camp each summer for blind and visually impaired children between the ages of 10 and 17. The unemployment rate among the blind is 70 percent.

The Seeing Hand Association strives daily to locate projects which will provide employment opportunities. These opportunities include projects in our on-site workshop, such as caning chairs and assembling mops, as well as our task of refilling and selling refurbished fire extinguishers.

How does United Way support The Seeing Hand Association?

The Seeing Hand Association, Inc is most blessed to partner with the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley to support all of our programs for employment for the blind and visually impaired in our area.   The programs and training fit the criteria of health, education, and financial stability. Our employment programs include but are not limited to refurbishing fire extinguishers, caning chairs, making mops, our vertical garden, and education and outreach.

Employment Opportunities

Our disabled workers have different abilities and skillsets. The extinguisher refurbishing station is the project which requires the most training. It employs a part-time disabled veteran, aided by two blind workers. The blind workers are responsible for cleaning and tagging the refurbished extinguishers. This project provides income to the agency and is a product that every home or office needs. In addition, it helps to bring individuals to our agency.

The chair caning station provides hours of employment for four workers. It also brings income into our agency to offset the cost of our workshop. Chair caning is a very specialized skill, and it requires a lot of time and patience.

Making mops is a small project in our workshop, but the workers learn to use tools and jigs for safety. Our mop station requires two employees to work together and promotes teamwork.

Our garden is an employment program that helps with the health and wellness of our employees and the community. Visually impaired and blind employees go to our beautiful Edelman Garden at South Broadway Street on Wheeling Island from April through October. There they learn to plant, weed, water and harvest. We even entered produce in the Ohio County Fair and have been awarded many ribbons. In addition, our garden helps with food scarcity because we give most of the produce away for free. Last year over 100 families received free, fresh produce.


Our outreach and education programs work with local pre-schools, schools, elderly high rises, and other organizations to promote eye health, safety, and wellness. For example, the garden has an outreach education program that works with children to plant seeds in their classrooms. Last year we partnered with Madison school and produced over 150 sunflower plants with their students. We provided the seed pods, gloves, and lesson plan. Then, in June, we went back and helped them plant them all around the school. The children loved watching the plants grow over the summer. We called the project Beauty the Block and plan to expand it each year.

Our employment programs provide hours of work and income for blind and disabled workers in our area. We are most grateful for our partnership and support from The United Way.

Check out our other member agencies and learn more about their programs here!

About the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley

The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley supports Ohio County, Tyler County, Marshall County, Wetzel County, Brooke County in West Virginia, and Belmont County and Monroe County in Ohio. Donating through your local United Way is the best way to reach the most people in need. 

The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley is an organization that supports nonprofit organizations in our area through annual campaigns, payroll deduction fundraising efforts, and individual donations. These community-minded people combine donations from employees and businesses alike to help assist those who need it most. The support from the annual campaign is then allocated to nonprofit programs through our volunteer allocations panels. We support 40 programs (and counting) in the upper Ohio Valley that tackle the toughest needs in the Ohio Valley. Consider giving to the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley today.

Community Success Stories

Check out the following Community Success Stories for examples of how Seeing Hand Association has impacted our community.

The Seeing Hand Association Helps The Community

In November I attended the United Way agency meeting and spoke of my concern for one of my workers who had a severe mold problem in her home. I was trying to determine how we could help, when a man decided to take a look at the home on behalf of his company. After looking at her home, it was determined that it needed $20,000 to $30,000 in mold remediation and then that much in additional repairs t ...

Read Story

Achieving His Goals

It is hard to comprehend that we hire employees and train them only to hope they can find a better job in the future.  I was reminded of this last week.  Dan worked at The Seeing Hand for years as a shop tech.  He has a degree in Criminal Justice and is working on his masters.  He had plans to be the lead for our extinguisher project.  Dan worked with the Department of Rehabilitative Services ...

Read Story

The Seeing Hand Association Help Visually Impaired

Imagine being born blind and never getting to see a sunset, comprehend the color red or see the face of your wife. These are the real circumstances for one of our part-time shop techs. In addition to the loss of vision, now imagine facing an unemployment rate of 70% and a lack of transportation to get to the workplace. The struggles are real for a blind person and if The Seeing Hand Association di ...

Read Story

“A recent hire was a paralegal with a successful career and lovely home.”

A recent hire was a paralegal with a successful career and lovely home. In 2014 she had strokes in the back of her retinas. This caused a severe loss of vision and a diagnosis of legally blind. She could no longer drive or see well enough to continue with her career. Because of this health crisis she was forced to sell her house. She moved to Colorado with her boyfriend but decided returning to Wh ...

Read Story

Angel Volunteer

"About a year ago we had a gentleman stop into our agency looking for volunteer opportunities. He is an educated adult who has a degree in economics. He lives in the Elm Grove area of Wheeling with his wife. He is both visually impaired and hearing impaired. He worked many years in the field of computer engineering. He came to see us because he was losing his sight due to macular degeneration. Thi ...

Read Story

Employment and So Much More

"We had a case worker refer a client to us back in 1992. He still is an active client and employee of The Seeing Hand. This client resides in Rayland, Oh with his mother because he needs supervision and care. He is totally blind and has been since he was about 8 or 9 years old. He was diagnosed with retinal disease which caused massive scars in the retina. He also has other developmental disabilit ...

Read Story