Javi has always had a positive spirit, but even he had doubts about what his future would hold.
Visually impaired since birth due to optic nerve hypoplasia (underdeveloped optic nerves), he wondered if he would be able to succeed in college, get a job and live on his own.
Everything changed when he attended a weekend workshop presented by our transition services for the visually impaired.
“The youth transition program opened the doors to the future for me,” Javi says. “With every workshop, I learn more and believe in myself more.”
Through the program, Javi learned how to set and achieve goals and create a life plan. He toured college campuses, learned about applying for financial aid and his rights as a student with disabilities. He also gained practical skills, such as housekeeping, using new technology, planning routes and traveling independently.
The most inspirational feature for Javi was meeting successful professionals who are blind or visually impaired at every workshop.
“Hearing the special guests talk about their experience made me feel like, if they could do it, I could, too,” Javi remembers. “I feel like I can achieve anything, as long as I don’t give up. It’s all up to me.”
Javi decided to pursue a career around his passion for fitness. He hopes to open his own gym one day.
Eager to take the first steps, Javi signed up for our five-week summer immersion session, which included an internship at a local gym—his first job experience.
At the gym, Javi performed entry-level tasks, such as cleaning the equipment and greeting guests. During slow periods, his manager showed him how the business side operated.
“I’m so glad that I found the youth transition program,” says Javi. “I’ve learned so much that I can’t wait to get started on my future.”
December 31, 2017