From a Homeless Shelter to a Life Transformed

Gina Ortega

“At Braille Institute, I even found love and a new community of friends who encouraged me not to be afraid. Now I feel a lot more powerful!” —Gina Ortega

A number of years ago Gina Ortega was married, had two children with another on the way, and was managing a family member’s video store – life was good!

Unfortunately, that all changed when she contracted meningitis and became totally blind.

At first, she found that with the help of her children she could manage some basic things at home like cooking and cleaning, and for a time helping out at the video store. Then her husband deserted her and she found herself and her three children in a homeless shelter.

Gina knew that she would need to become more independent if she was going to have any chance of creating a better life for her children and herself. But, she didn’t know where to find the help she needed. It was while she was at the shelter that she received help in finding an apartment and heard about the free services at Braille Institute that could help her.

Quickly, Gina signed up for Braille Institute’s Orientation and Mobility training where she mastered white cane skills. After several months of one-on-one training, she was able to travel independently, including taking three buses and a train to get from her new apartment to Braille Institute where, through more free classes and programs, she continues on her journey to independence and a better life.