Learning What you Need

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Losing Sight at 16

A beautiful young lady with long golden hair came into my district at 16. I can picture her and her mom with their translator sitting across the table from me. They were from Ukraine. She had come to America for medical care and had been living with a family in Pennsylvania while going through treatment. Fortunately, her family got a VISA to come to the US also and now they were together again after years of separation.

The young lady had lost almost all sight and vision of who she was by 16. She knew a few words of English and her family knew none. At our first meeting I could see she was very depressed and her mother incredibly concerned and fearful. At our first lesson, her first English words to me were, "I want to die, blind people can't do nothing." It broke my heart, but I could clearly understand the desperation and sadness in her voice.

She had never touched a computer and knew nothing about technology. I started from square one teaching her computer skills at school. She learned English very quickly due to the JAWS talking software. We added Russian Jaws, which fortunately she knew Russian also, to give her the ability to check her work after she typed it in English. Within a week she understood the power of what this technology could do for her. Within 2 weeks she was flying on that keyboard. We only had 3 months of her total learning and I knew with school getting out she needed a computer at home to continue not just in her learning but regaining a vision of who she was becoming.

The Lions Club bought her a computer. As I was setting it up in her home, tiny tears trickled down her cheeks as she exclaimed. "I don't want to die any more. I know I can doing something in life now." This still brings tears to my eyes.

How many people have lost their vision of who they are because they believe something devastating has taken away everything? But it has not. Our trials lead us to testimonies of overcoming. This young lady continues to conquer one trial after another and also spurs others onto more than they thought possible.

She is in the process of becoming a teacher of the blind because she wants to give a dream back to those who have lost their vision of themselves also.

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