In 1997, a degenerative eye disease began slowly robbing me of my eyesight. I had a life many would admire: a thriving career, a wife, a son, and we were in the process of adopting two daughters from Russia.
At the time, Metrolina Association for the Blind was one of my clients. I am so grateful for the relationships I developed with my social worker and the Orientation and Mobility Specialist at MAB. They encouraged me to stay active and to keep my job as long as possible. But by 2012, it was clear I could no longer continue working in my current position. It was a difficult period, but I have always been a glass-half-full guy.
Having the assistance and support of my wife, the team at MAB, and so many others in the Charlotte community, I decided to make a new plan for my life. I accessed many of the critical and specialized services MAB offers, such as orientation and mobility training, which includes learning to walk with a cane, navigating my living environment, using devices like phones and computers, and other resources to help me adjust to my new circumstances.
I was able to go back to school and earn a master's degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. That marked a big change for me to the life and work I have now. For the past six years, I have served as a social worker and case manager, helping people transition out of poverty.
I feel blessed to use the gifts I have to listen, problem-solve and mentor people who may be homeless and feel helpless. I understand feeling helpless. And I have learned the best way to move on from that feeling is to connect with others and seek help. Take advantage of the resources available to you. Without the resources at MAB, I would not be where I am today.
Like everyone, I have good and bad days, but my life is fuller because I sought help. I can empower others because of the training and encouragement I received at MAB.
Your gift to Metrolina Association for the Blind will personally help those who are visually impaired. In turn, they may get an opportunity to help others in our community – just like I did. You make a difference, and we are grateful! Please consider making your online donation today by clicking here: DONATE. Thank you!