A Feeling of Worth Restored

Barbara Talbert in the kitchen

In July 1997, Barbara Talbert was diagnosed with the thyroid disorder Graves’ Disease. By the following year, Barbara was legally blind.

As rapidly as her vision deteriorated, so did Barbara’s self-esteem. “I’d been a public accountant, office manager, and head honcho for a home-building company,” she says. “Suddenly, I felt semi-worthless.”

Fortunately, a friend’s daughter told Barbara about Braille Institute. Once she discovered the wide range of free services Braille offered, Barbara resolved to go. “I wanted to continue with my future.

”She describes her first visit to our Anaheim Center as “feeling like I walked through the pearly gates.” There, Barbara received orientation and mobility training to help her get around independently, safely, and with confidence. She attended a series of daily living skills classes where she learned adaptive techniques for cooking, managing her finances, and personal care. The computer classes she took provided her with the tools to keep her connected to her friends, family, and what was going on in the world. Then, she was urged to “let loose and have fun, too,” which led her to Braille Institute’s art classes where she experimented with painting and pottery. Among her forays into various artistic media, Barbara discovered she had a talent for mosaics which led her to enter her work at the Orange County Fair where she took top prizes. Soon after, she became a volunteer mosaics instructor at Braille Institute.

Her volunteer teaching has since expanded into other areas. “Anywhere they need me, I can volunteer,” she says.

Barbara and her husband, Marvin, who has some glaucoma-related vision loss, became devoted Braille Institute Library patrons.

Braille Institute has become so interwoven into Barbara’s life that she considers supporting it a matter of common sense leading the Talberts to become regular, generous donors for the past few years.

“Because of Braille Institute,” she says, “I’m in a better position now than I was years ago.” Her gratitude prompted Barbara to increase her support by funding a Braille Institute Charitable Gift Annuity — a gift that will help provide free services for blind and visually impaired adults and children for years to come, while also providing her with guaranteed income for life.

“As far as I’m concerned, Braille Institute is the ideal place for anybody who has a vision problem. No matter how small or how large it may be,” Barbara says.