BARSTOW • The Braille Institute of America's mobile unit rolled into the Barstow Senior Center on Thursday to the delight of locals.

Barstow resident Diane Yslas said she suffers from vision problems and frequently has trouble reading small print.

"I think this is such a good service for the community," Yslas said. "Especially for the residents that really need vision services and can't really afford it."

Barstow Senior Center president Jeff Eason Sr. said he hopes to partner with the Braille Institute to have the 35-foot mobile unit make a quarterly stop in the Barstow area.

City of Barstow spokesman Anthony Riley said its a great opportunity for such an "underserved" community as Barstow.

"When institutions or entities like this recognize the need for things like this in Barstow and respond to the need, it's a great opportunity for the city to build continuous and long-term partnerships that will really make a difference for our residents," Riley said.

Field Services Manager Felice Chiapperine said the institute would love to visit the Barstow area on a regular basis. Chiapperine said the organization is a demand-service.

The Braille Institute of America's mobile unit offers various services for people with little or no vision.

Chiapperine said there are roughly 80,000 people in San Bernardino and Riverside counties living with vision impairments.

The organization offers those people the tools needed to live a "satisfying and fulfilling life," by providing low vision assessments and consultation free of charge, Chiapperine said.

Chiapperine said most of the mobile unit's clients are seniors with macular degeneration or people with diabetes-related eye problems.

"We're here to help clients whose sight cannot be corrected with corrective lenses," Chiapperine said.

Apple Valley resident Stanice Thomas shared some of her experiences using specialized visually impaired classes on an iPad.

For more information about the institute, visit or call 800-272-4553.

Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or