The Southern California desert is a long way from England, but Jean Dewdney’s distinctive accent gives away her origin. In fact, she and her husband, Jim, left their homeland in 1956. Jim’s work as a physicist took them to Canada, upstate New York, and then Seattle, while Jean worked as a legal assistant wherever they settled.

In the 1970s, her mother developed macular degeneration, eventually losing most of her eyesight. Jean recalls that at that time there was very little support available for people with low vision.

After her husband’s death in 1996, Jean began living part of the year in Palm Desert, California. It was one of her Palm Desert friends who told her about Braille Institute’s Rancho Mirage Center and the FREE services they provided for people who were blind or visually impaired. Remembering her mother’s struggles to find help, Jean was instantly interested.

Her keen interest led Jean to attend events at the center, where she became deeply appreciative of all that Braille Institute had to offer. In her words, “Braille Institute is an amazing place where people can go for help without charge. It’s incredible what the students can do with limited vision.”

Since her first visit to Braille Institute, whenever Jean hears about a need, she is eager to contribute to help meet that need. Most recently, her support went toward a new training kitchen in the Rancho Mirage Center.

“When I see the dramatic improvement in people’s lives as the result of the new skills they learn at Braille Institute, it makes me feel like I want to do as much as I can to support it.”