Incorporated on May 26, 1921 as the Southern Tier Association for the Blind, borrowing the motto from the New York Lighthouse for the Blind “Helping the blind help themselves”. The agency provided work for the blind who were trained in weaving and caning chairs. In August of 1930 The Elmira Association for the Blind was incorporated. This was made possible through the efforts of a twenty eight member board made up of prominent and leading women from the local community. In 1967, the Association was reincorporated as the Southern Tier Association for the Blind. This was done to reflect the area served by the agency, which was and continues to be Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben Counties. In 1978 A grant was obtained from the State of New York to develop a program to train paraprofessionals to teach rehabilitation skills. This project became a model for other associations in New York State.
In 1991 The Arthur P. Darling Low Vision Center was opened in Corning, NY under the assistance and guidance of the agency. The effort was underwritten with the assistance of Corning, Inc. and the local Lions Clubs. In 2005, a second Low Vision Center was opened at our Elmira location. Arthur Darling was a surgeon in Corning, who because of Macular Degeneration lost his ability to continue to practice. With the assistance of the Lighthouse Foundation in New York City, he was able to take advantage of low vision aids and devices. He believed the people of the area should have the same services provided that were provided elsewhere, so through the assistance of STAVI, we are now able to offer those services locally. Also in 1991, The Southern Tier Association for the Blind was renamed the Southern Tier Association for theVisually Impaired to reflect its’ broader service program to serve the blind and visually impaired.