As Community Outreach Specialist at Braille Institute Rancho Mirage, Stephanie Cardenas takes on the challenge of dispelling misconceptions about Braille Institute and their students. With reasons close to her heart, she embraces her position, going out into the community on a daily basis to share how Braille Institute can help people with visual impairments live independently.
“I’m always letting people know that Braille Institute changed my dad’s life and allowed him to be completely independent,” Stephanie said. “Not only did Braille Institute help my dad, but it also helped us as a family.”
Stephanie’s father went blind when she was five years old. She experienced firsthand the difficulties and challenges someone with a visual impairment encounters. Through her work with Braille Institute, she continues to see the trials and triumphs students face.
“I see how something so simple as labeling a microwave can change someone’s life instantly,” she said.
As a Community Outreach Specialist, Stephanie’s job is to inform the public about Braille Institute’s free services and programs. She shares information about classes, low vision consultations and our in-home services. Stephanie sees each person she comes in contact with as someone who can help spread the word about Braille Institute.
“People will learn that they are not the only ones that have a visual impairment,” Stephanie said. “People around you understand, especially because they are experiencing the same thing. A person can gain confidence and, more importantly, independence to continue to live one’s life like they were, just a little differently.”
She recalls dropping her father off at Braille Institute in the mornings when she was young and seeing people move independently with white canes. Through her father’s and family’s experiences, Stephanie has always felt Braille Institute is a part of her family, and being introduced as a new staff member one year ago is one of her favorite memories, she said.
“People should support this nonprofit because it really does change lives,” Stephanie said. “Any type of support goes a long way.”