LightHouse Staff Profile: Ali Lee

Ali Lee is the Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT) and the Services Coordinator at our satellite office LightHouse North Coast in Eureka, CA. Ali works primarily with older adults who are blind and low vision. Many of Ali’s students are recently visually impaired and she helps them determine how to learn the skills to accomplish tasks such as cooking, organizing and reading. She also is one of the few braille teachers working with adults in the area.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Ali developed a passion for the piano; in fact, piano lessons are what led Ali to the LightHouse. Ali’s piano teacher was Rose Resnick who owned and facilitated the programs at Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. Rose introduced Ali to the camp, and Ali interned there for two summers during her high school years. There she met LightHouse Rehabilitation Director Kathy Abrahamson who was Camp Assistant Director at the time. We often talk about the transformation that happens to blind individuals that attend our camp; Ali, who is sighted, credits Enchanted Hills as being instrumental in leading her to a career in the blindness field.

Influenced by her love for teaching and helping others, Ali earned a B.A. in English from U.C. Davis and an M.A. in English Composition, plus certificates in Technical Writing and in Teaching Adults Basic Reading at San Francisco State University. After touring the Pacific Northwest on BMW motorcycles, Ali and her husband decided to settle down in the Bay Area where she began teaching English at several local community colleges. Shortly thereafter, Ali and John moved to Humboldt County to start a family in the cool, majestic redwoods. When LightHouse began looking for part-time staff able to travel throughout Humboldt and Del Norte counties providing basic training and resource information, Ali applied and was hired (along with Access Technology Specialist Peggy Martinez) to launch the LightHouse presence in these underserved areas.

After much research and coordination with various local agencies, the LightHouse North Coast office opened in 2002 in Eureka, where Ali became the Vision Rehabilitation Specialist and Services Coordinator. In 2009, LightHouse North Coast relocated to the Humboldt Senior Resource Center in Eureka. Ali completed her second Master’s degree, receiving an M.S. in Visual Disabilities from Florida State University in 2010 and became a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist.

Director of Rehabilitation Kathy Abrahamson said, “Ali is a phenomenal teacher, a community educator, a creative collaborator, a consummate professional. She tailors her lessons to the student and his or her strengths. She is a strong voice for the LightHouse in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, bringing an understanding of the issues around cultural and socio-economic diversity and insuring that potential students and the other service providers in the area know what is possible.”

When Ali isn’t at LightHouse connecting with new students, she is busy raising her two sons, both of whom have volunteered at LightHouse of the North Coast and are budding violinists. Ali hopes that her sons will one-day volunteer at Enchanted Hills Camp, as she did in high school, because of all the doors this opened for her. Ali, an avid cyclist, can be seen racing over the California hills and though sweeping seaside and forest vistas. She looks forward to riding in the Cycle for Sight 2014 bike ride and fundraiser, which benefits Enchanted Hills Camp.

If you or someone you know is interested in services at our North Coast office please call Ali or her colleagues at 707-268-5646.

(l to r) LightHouse Executive Secretary Chuck Godwin and Ali Lee