Who We Are

Legally known as The Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired, dba Saavi Services for the Blind is a 501c3 IRS approved non-profit agency with offices in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. Originally founded by two blind sisters in 1964, Saavi first began as a social club for visually impaired individuals and has since grown into a statewide agency serving thousands of blind children, adults, and seniors throughout the state of Arizona.

For more information on our staff, check out our Saavi Staff and Board.

Saavi youth program student mixing a solution in a beaker under learning shade

What We Do

Saavi Services for the Blind is a blindness rehabilitation training center providing skills training in nonvisual techniques to people of all ages.

Whether a student is new to blindness or has received training in the past and would like to learn new skills, our goal is to provide skills training so our students may lead productive, independent lives. Our programs serve individuals of all ages, from children to seniors, all with the goal of providing confidence and skill-building opportunities through training and education.

By participating in our programs, our students can gain the confidence and skills that allow them to return to the workforce, pursue secondary education, or begin the path towards a new career.

For more information on our programs, please check out our Programs & Services to find what works best for you.

How We Do it

Vision is only one method for observation and accomplishing a task. There are multiple methods for gathering information, and people can use that gathered information to make decisions. We recognize that visual methods are the most prevalent and naturally come easier to us. Therefore, it is critical that we train students to master nonvisual techniques so they can utilize their nonvisual skills when needed. Teaching nonvisual skills through Structured Discovery methodology is the primary function of our job.

In order to teach students to utilize their nonvisual skills, we must remove the most prevalent obstacle to utilizing nonvisual skills: Vision. This is why we use the tool we call the learning shade. Through challenging and experiential training, students gain confidence in their nonvisual skills and, consequently, their ability to reach any goal they choose without vision.

We use nonvisual structured discovery instruction for students participating in our programs. This approach involves creating an authentic approach to blindness skills training, utilizing the learning shade, and focusing on problem-solving for skill development. We believe that it is not about what you can see; it is about what you can do. All staff are required to be able to utilize their own non-visual skills as part of their day-to-day responsibilities as well.

Our quality of services wouldn’t be possible if not for the amazing work done by our various partners and statewide grants awarded to us. Please check out our Partners and Resources for more information.

Structured Discovery

We are delighted to announce that, after years of commitment and hard work, the Tucson training center has achieved the distinction of becoming only the seventh certified Structured Discovery Training Center in the entire nation! We are thrilled to collaborate with the NBPCB and our fellow Structured Discovery centers as we diligently maintain our certification during this provisional phase. This certification stands as a testament to our heartfelt dedication, and our staff is overjoyed to engage in meaningful partnerships with sister agencies, benefiting from their mentoring and guidance.

We at Saavi Services for the Blind are dedicated to embracing the principles of Structured Discovery in our approach to educating our students. This teaching method draws its inspiration from the rich experiences, attitudes, and achievements of blind individuals. In 2008, the National Blindness Professional Certification Board initiated the evaluation of centers across the United States that embody the philosophy and principles of Structured Discovery.

Mission, Vision and Values

Saavi spelled out in braille cells, flashing one letter at a time


Saavi Services for the Blind cultivates growth and opportunity for blind people through nonvisual skills training; demonstrating that all challenges have solutions, while fostering self-efficacy through empowerment and confidence.


Saavi Services for the Blind believes in a world where blind individuals are equal contributors locally, nationally and throughout the world, demonstrating it is not what you can see; it is what you can do.


We are Saavi. It is our motto and belief to expect more of our students. High expectations mean high achievements for program participants. We expect more of our students, and in turn, they set high expectations for themselves. Thus, achieving more and becoming more.

We expect more of our students, and in turn they set high expectations for themselves.

Thus, achieving more and becoming more.

Expect More!
Achieve More!
Become more!

A saavi senior student cooking in the kitchen under learning shade


Founded in 1964 and with training centers throughout Arizona, Saavi Services for the Blind is an agency that promotes the following:

Saavi incorporates nonvisual skills training for all ages based on high expectations in preparation for higher education, employment, and everyday living.

Saavi partners with local and national consumer groups, such as the National Federation of the Blind, to advocate and influence legislative and lawful practices relevant to the blind community.

Saavi staff role model, in the belief that students are never asked to do something that our staff cannot do themselves.

Saavi focuses on having an ever-evolving approach to how and what we teach, regardless of culture or language.

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