Star was working as a receptionist 13 years ago when she began losing her sight. She was soon diagnosed with retinal detachments in both eyes due to uncontrolled diabetes. This left her with no vision in her right eye and limited vision in her left eye, in addition to numerous other health issues. These challenges led Star to long-term disability which made her feel isolated. Star became afraid that she would have to rely on others to support her with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and even travel, for the rest of her life.
After Star’s diabetes was managed and her health stabilized, she decided she needed to get back in the workforce and was referred to Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB) for employment training and orientation and mobility lessons. Star was assigned to CLB’s past Andrews Air Force Base contract as a switchboard operator as well as the past Securities and Exchange Commission project. Shortly after that time, Star decided to go back to college and work on her Bachelor’s degree in business administration at Sojourner-Douglass College where she graduated in 2009.
During the following years, Star volunteered with a number of organizations until she was placed in the August 2013 Foundations of Adjustment to Blindness (FAB). The experience at FAB was liberating – allowing her confidence – in using her white cane in public and advocating more for herself. Star realized that she wanted to work with people who are blind or visually impaired. She began volunteering more with CLB including mentoring FAB participants and serving at Camp Lighthouse which inspired her new career path! Currently, Star is in the process of applying to George Mason University’s Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) program. She hopes to start her classes this fall and finish in two years at which time she hopes to return and work for CLB. We wish Star all the best and hope she transitions from client to employee at CLB.