“They think I’m supposed to come and sit in a chair and do nothing”


"Over the last few years, my sight’s gotten really bad to where I’m insecure about going down steps. I had a cornea transplant, which they figured would help out some. It did for about two years. Since then it’s been creeping downwards. I still have a little sight left, but who knows how long that’ll last? 
"Having someone at the LightHouse teach me makes me feel safer going up and down stairs. Especially with how to use my cane properly, to put it out there so I don’t step off in midair. Going up isn’t such an issue, but going down, if you miss a step, you can go flying. I ride public transportation, so that’s the ultimate test – being careful of stairs and crossing streets. A LightHouse instructor showed me to find the banister with my right hand, and then take my left hand and put the cane a certain way and see that I’m coming to step off.  
"I worked as a secretary for 20 years in a doctor’s office and retired five years ago. Software really helped me do my job. One program is totally audio. It talks to you and tells you what’s on your screen. Another program makes things bigger on the screen."  
"When I retired, I asked myself what I was going to do now. I’ve always been grateful there’s a LightHouse, so I decided to volunteer. On Mondays and Wednesdays we have senior groups. I fetch things if we go on outings, and if someone needs a little help I’ll talk with them.  
"I have friends that drove cars up into their 40s and 50s and then lost their sight. Some don’t take it very well. It’s a hard thing. Since I’ve always had a problem, it’s nothing for me. But I can put myself in their place. Sometimes we get people here we can help. Sometimes people don’t want to accept their vision lost. It’s a very personal thing. With the visually impaired and blind, there’s a whole stigma to it. There are some who are trying to learn. I had the luxury of going to the blind school. So that taught me to be very independent. 
"Sometimes when I go to someone’s house for a family gathering, their idea of a blind person is very frustrating. They think I’m supposed to come and sit in a chair and do nothing. They think that’s what blind people do. Raising my son is what I’m most proud of in life. I’ve had people ask me, 'How did you take care of your son when he was a baby?' I tell them, 'Just the same as everybody else does.' You just do. You know? By your instincts, or you learn. I was a single mom and I worked full time. He’s a registered nurse now. He’s my pride and joy. He asked me one day, 'Would you ever do anything different in your lifetime? Would you make different choices?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'That was a fast answer.' And I said: 'If I’d made different choices, you wouldn’t exist.'" 

 - Liz Klein, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Student and Volunteer

Enterprise is proud to have supported the LightHouse’s move and expanded resources with a $15 million New Markets Tax Credit investment. Linking people to opportunity, especially through a program like the LightHouse’s, which empowers people to realize their potential and live full lives, is central to our mission. 

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