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Hope and Empowerment for the Visually Impaired

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May 2021 eNews

Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center logo

Brianna’s Bright Future is Ahead

Vision loss from birth has its own unique challenges. Brianna was diagnosed with Retinopathy of prematurity 18 years ago. But the loss of vision hasn’t stopped her from living life to the fullest. 


The National Eye Institute states that Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) primarily affects premature infants weighing less than 2 ¾ pounds or born before 31 weeks of gestation. This disorder usually develops in both eyes and is one of the most common causes of vision loss in childhood. Brianna says her right eye is like looking through a straw and she has no sight in her left eye. “She is amazing around the house and outside the house,” said dad. “But when she is in an unfamiliar area, she holds mom closer.”

Brianna is an animal lover who enjoys riding horses and is the youngest of three children. She lives at home with her parents, Rocky (dog) and Ty, Clyde and Bonnie (cats) and like any other teenager, you cannot separate her from her iPhone or iPad. Percy Jackson and the Olympians is her favorite book, and while listening to it, she was so entrenched into the pages, that she hadn’t realized it was past 4:00 a.m. before she put it down. Her online library is filled with hundreds of books, movies and music.


Brianna began services at the Lighthouse in 2019. Angeline, the Young Adults instructor, has been very impressed with her growth since then. When she first joined the Transition Program, Brianna appeared shy and didn’t comment much, but she has built self confidence in the group setting while initiating group discussions. She utilizes Lighthouse services including Assisted Technology, Braille instruction, mobility training and she attends all Transition Program groups…all while being a senior in high school.

“When you’re homeschooled, your child misses out on things that happen. You have class, lunch and you are social with your friends,” said Brianna’s dad. “But being homeschooled, there’s no interaction with other kids during the day. She’s Involved in church, but that’s on Sunday. Then she began meeting with the other kids at the Lighthouse, making friends and getting each other’s phone numbers. We are really thankful for this.”


Brianna worked with Lighthouse instructor Latricia for 10 weeks in mobility training. One particular session was filled with many challenging tasks consisting of navigating down stairs, up escalators and finally to a specific section of the mall – the bedding department at Dillard’s. The hardest task however, was asking for help…something we all struggle to do. Training that day ended with a brightly smiling Brianna saying, “That wasn’t so bad!”


Latricia remarked on Brianna’s training, saying that she was very open to learning all the skills and techniques that will ensure her in being a great guide dog handler when she applies, something Brianna is interested in doing next. Training with Lighthouse equips clients like Brianna with techniques to navigate physical limitations while teaching important life skills and promoting individual confidence. While every client is unique in the services they receive, the Lighthouse ensures that each one, depending on their personal goals, receives as much training as they need to be independent.

Brianna has learned so much, and there’s even more to be gained in her journey. But one thing is for certain, her resilience is something to be modeled after. Even by just capturing a small clip of her journey, one can easily tell that Brianna has a bright future ahead of her. 


To go online to read Brianna’s story, go to https://lighthouseeducationcenter.org/briannas-bright-future-is-ahead/. Additional client stories area also available.


Transition Students Create Manatee Toothpaste with Mote Marine

collage of manatee toothpaste

Science is fun! This activity was provided by Mote Marine, which was paired along with a presentation on Manatees.


Using scientific methods to decide how the activities will turn out, one of the teens looked up alternatives to yeast to try with the activity. In total the teens conducted three activities, using baking soda, baking powder and yeast. The teens took turns reading the list of supplies, list of ingredients and the step-by-step procedures. They found that the activities with the yeast worked best when comparing all three methods. Scientific methods used were hypothesis, observations, predictions and conclusion. 


DID YOU KNOW?: An adult manatee has about the same number of teeth a human does (32). But they are a little larger than ours, and all molars (like our back teeth). Manatees don’t need to brush their teeth because they have what is called “marching molars” meaning as the front molars wear down, they fall out and the rear teeth “march forward”horizontally.


However, if manatees did need to brush their teeth, they would definitely need something with a rich lather, which is what the students made during their experiment. Though this is called toothpaste, the students were instructed not to use as toothpaste for them or their pets.


The April Polo Social was a Big Hit!

Polo player hitting ball on horse with three others

On April 22, Lighthouse hosted an outreach event at the Polo Club to watch a free Thursday evening polo match. We are grateful to the staff and clients who came to our first polo social! We had a great time catching up with everyone! Looking forward to seeing you soon.


Work-Based Learning Experience for Teens, July 1-31 Seeking Businesses in all Fields to Participate!

Six students standing in front of a wall on their mobile phones

There’s no better way to spend a summer than teaching young people about the career path they’re interested. We are seeking businesses to partner with the Lighthouse Transition Program and its Work-based Learning Experience.

Overview of the Program:
The Lighthouse Work-Based Learning Experience is looking for business owners and nonprofit organizations to share and teach career experiences to high school students interested in learning various skills included, but not limited to:

  • Restaurant work and pizza making
  • Working with animals
  • Hospital work
  • Music and Art
  • Massage therapy
  • And more

This program is a great way for high school students, affected by vision loss, to gain work-based experience in a safe environment. The high school students in this program have learned to adapt to their environment and they have acquired the skills needed to succeed in the workplace. To become a Work-Based Learning Experience Businesses, please contact Angeline Koplau at Angeline.Koplau@LighthouseEducationCenter.org.


Healthy Vision Month image

May is Healthy Vision Month

During the month of May, the National Eye Institute wants to remind you to make your eye health a priority during Healthy Vision Month. Remember to visit your eye care professional for a yearly comprehensive dilated eye exam to detect common vision problems and diseases, most of which have no early warning signs. There are millions of people living in the United States who have undetected eye diseases. With early detection and timely treatment, the prevention of vision loss and blindness is within reach.


GAAD Image

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is Celebrated on May 20

May 20, 2021 is the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. Accessibility removes barriers and unlocks the possible for one billion people worldwide that have visual, hearing, motor and cognitive disabilities.Go to https://globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/ to learn more.


May Holidays

May 9 is Mother’s Day and a day to celebrate our mothers.

May 31 is Memorial Day and a day of Remembrance that honors those who have died in military service of the United States of America. Lighthouse offices will be closed.


Shop Peepers Online

Peepers Online Store provides an array of products ranging from the newest equipment in assistive technology to high-quality office and writing aids, kitchen aids, lighting and hand-held or high-tech magnifiers* for individuals with low vision. Whatever your needs, Peepers has great selections available at reasonable prices. Go online to https://lighthouseeducationcenter.org/about-peepers/shop/ to purchase locally. Items will be shipped to your door.

*APPOINTMENTS are available for personalized one-to-one
consultation for magnification devices.


Lighthouse home page

Visit Our Website to See What We’re Doing!

Even though the building is not yet opened the Lighthouse has so much going on and we want you to stay up on what is happening.

To view the latest news, events and programs, visit our Events & Programs Calendar at https://lighthouseeducationcenter.org/calendar/.


A State of Vision License Plate Supports Lighthouse

A-State-of-Vision-License-Plate2

Support the blind and visually impaired community regain independence by purchasing “A State of Vision” license plate when you renew your auto tag. Funds from the sale of “A State of Vision” license plates are distributed to Florida Agencies Serving the Blind, Inc., which funds direct-support services to blind and visually impaired people. Specialty tag gift certificates are also available.

This license plate is a reminder to people on the road of our mission of hope and empowerment for the vision impaired. The Florida-inspired colors will also look great on your car! Information is on the website: https://myfloridaspecialtyplate.com/a-state-of-vision.html. Purchase your license plate today!


AmazonSmile You shop Amazon Gives

When You Smile, We all Smile!

While shopping on Amazon, remember to to purchase your goods through Smile.Amazon.com and select Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center as your designated charity. Shopping through AmazonSmile provides a portion of your purchases to be donated to the Lighthouse.


monthly giving donation provides to clients

Join our Monthly Giving Sustainers Club and Make a Monthly Impact!

Our Sustainers Club is a monthly giving program with 100% of every dollar going directly toward changing the lives of those living with vision loss. Monthly giving allows you to donate a specific amount, to the Lighthouse, each month. Giving smaller gifts each month provides for a bigger heart to the clients at the Lighthouse.

As a member of our Sustainers Clubyou can be assured that your gift each month will provide hope, empowerment and independence to those we serve.


OUR MISSION: ​To educate and empower those affected by vision loss, so they may enjoy happy, healthy and independent lives.

Connect With Us!
www.LighthouseEducationCenter.org | info@LighthouseEducationCenter.org
941-359-1404