Success Feels Good

Hanssy De Leon playing guitar

Hanssy De Leon, age 32, was raised in a large boisterous family. Due to an inherited genetic condition, he was born with albinism and legally blind.

Growing up being so different was very challenging. That’s why participating in the Braille Institute Youth Program from age 10 to 17 made such a difference in his life.

“The program wasn’t so much about traditional education. We did a lot of fun activities like talent shows, music, and swimming. It was really important for me because I learned the social skills that helped me develop fully,” Hanssy says.

Finding his way in life became even more difficult after college. The country was in a recession and, with no work experience, he could not find a permanent job. For a number of years, he did telemarketing on a contract basis until the last company he worked for closed. Hanssy was out of work and desperate.

Help came through a former co-worker who recommended he return to Braille Institute. Hanssy enrolled and immediately started working with Braille Institute Job Developer, Karine Rostomian. “Karine believed in me and gave me a lot of support—helping me with my résumé and interview skills,” he says. With her guidance, Hanssy landed his first permanent job as a Customer Service Representative at the Social Security Department.

Hanssy’s gratitude is enthusiastic and heartfelt. “Braille Institute opened the door to this blessed opportunity and the staff was an excellent resource. Braille Institute pushed me in the right direction, and now I feel like a success story.”