Courage & Connection: The Journey To Independence

“I had no idea I could be as independent as I am right now,” says Justice after six weeks in Wayfinder’s Davidson Program for Independence. “Being able to get to a store six blocks away by myself … I thought that would never happen.”

Justice, age 19, has cerebral palsy and cerebral visual impairment, meaning that his brain misinterprets signals from his eyes. Justice describes his vision: “It changes day to day. Sometimes I can see a tiny object but not a big poster, and sometimes vice versa.” Justice uses a power wheelchair, but he walks shorter distances.

Alexandrea, a Wayfinder transition counselor, describes Justice as “very energetic and bubbly. For Justice, every situation is positive.”

Justice wants to become independent so he can attend college and live on campus. His first step was enrolling in Wayfinder’s four-week Transition Services summer program for young people with vision loss ages 16 to 21, who live independently in dorms on a college campus.

Before the summer program, the longest Justice had been away from his family was one week. He had never done laundry. “The adulting part really hit me,” Justice admits. “I realized I have to start learning how to do things.” His favorite parts of the summer program were writing a résumé and practicing interview skills.

Then, Justice decided to enter our Davidson Program for Independence, a residential rehabilitation program for adults 18 and older with vision loss on Wayfinder’s Los Angeles campus. “From the beginning, I was giving 110%,” Justice says. “I’m here to learn everything they teach me.”

Justice is learning braille so he no longer has to read with his unreliable eyes. He’s mastering assistive technology, like software that reads text on a screen. In his orientation and mobility classes, “I am learning rideshare, Metro Rail, buses and getting around a big city,” he says. “I’ve always lived in small towns. I’ve ridden more city buses in the last six weeks than I have in my whole life!”

The first big test of Justice’s mobility skills was a solo trip to see his family in Northern California. “I took a rideshare to Burbank airport and flew to San Jose,” he says. “That was the first time taking rideshare and flying by myself.”

Justice is well on his way to college and a career in construction management. Construction sites have always fascinated him, and he likes keeping everything on schedule. His mother suggested that architecture might be safer. “I said, ‘Mom, you still have to walk around job sites when you’re an architect,’” he says. “I want to prove I can do it.” We have no doubt he will.


Please consider a gift to Wayfinder today. You can give securely on our website now!


December 21, 2023