GRADS Program (OLD)

The GRADS (Group Recreation and Developmental Support) programs provide fun, community based opportunities for school age children.  The groups meet on a monthly basis; primarily on Saturdays.  At each meeting participants enjoy a wide variety of activities that develop skills in independence, friendship and social skills, and community participation.


  • Explorers – Age three through age five
  • Challengers – Kindergarten through age twelve
  • Chat & Party – Age thirteen through High School
  • Tandem Adventurers – Age ten through High School (see below)


  • Participants must be at least three years old
  • Children should qualify for vision services through their school
  • Parents and staff determine that children are ready to participate in GRADS, based on readiness indicators

Check out this video of the GRADS Group!

Monthly Meetings:

Each meeting is packed with exciting new activities, time for enjoying friends, and an opportunity for discussions with peers and special guest speakers.  Participants are introduced to a variety of recreational activities such as ice skating, rock wall climbing, art and swimming that build new skills and confidence.

Challenge Trips:

With the experiences, throughout the school year, participants take on a higher level challenge at the end of each year.  A “challenge trip” is offered each summer for school age participants around exciting activities such as sailing, kayaking, hiking, surfing, camping and more.  These activities are not the only challenges on the trip, however.  The trips are an important opportunity to experience a stay away from home, take care of themselves, while taking on a big challenge surrounded by the support of friends.  These experiences, the accomplishments on these trips can be life changing.  The participants return feeling good about themselves, and often, change the way they are viewed by others as well.

Tandem Adventurers:

This group meets weekly from April to September.   After being introduced to tandem cycling on one of the challenge trips, many participants expressed an interest in continued participation in this sport.    Our newest GRADS group, Tandem Adventurers, has quickly become a very popular group.    Group members stay in shape during the winter by participating in a community spinning class and ride regularly with volunteer captains during the spring and summer.

The cycling season closes with the option for a challenge; which has been the MS 150 ride for the past few years; a 150 mile ride over two days to raise funds for multiple sclerosis.   Thanks to community donors and the Lighthouse for the Blind-St. Louis, the DGC has a small fleet of tandems, including some modified cycles.

GRADS Enrollment Form

Our online forms are temporarily unavailable. Please call Ellie Aboussie-Ashley, GRADS Coordinator, at 314-776-1300 email 

for questions and information on forms.