LightHouse offers a variety of resources, trainings, and programs for individuals who are blind or have low vision taught by expert instructors and educators, most of whom are also blind or have low vision. Our dedicated staff work with their students to form and enhance blindness skills to improve their sense of autonomy and self-confidence. The greatest aspect of being part of such a close-knit community of blind leaders and learners is being able to share successes and accomplishments, or “mission moments,” with the LightHouse community.
Access Technology Instructor Kacie Cappello’s favorite part of the job is watching a student’s hard work pay off.
“Many come into training intimidated by technology and full of self-doubt. The skills they learn allow for greater independence and better social connection. When a student realizes they can do something like buy their own groceries online or send email to a friend, I get to watch their confidence grow as they find their empowerment. That means the world to me.”
Kacie’s role is to provide information, guidance, and structure, but the student is the one taking on the challenge of learning a new skill. That requires commitment and practice. One of her ambitions for her students is for them to have autonomy over their digital information.
“To me, maintaining anonymity means having the ability to effectively manage your information, privacy, and digital presence. Access technology skills help students keep track of things like account details and participate in online life on their own terms.”
LightHouse student Eva G. struggled with independently accessing her computer and other devices at home and sought out access technology training with LightHouse. She began working with Kacie one-on-one for virtual training sessions.
“I lost my vision at a quite advanced stage at the age of 84. I am 91 now. I did not think I would be able to learn anything because of my age. When I had sight growing up in school, I was never taught computers or typing or anything like that. Honestly, the first time I had a lesson with Kacie I thought to myself, ‘I will never get this,’ but Kacie was so patient and persistent. It was amazing to me how after a while I started to get used to it.
“To me, it is really important to be as independent as I can be. It means a lot to be because I’ve always been in touch with a lot of different people throughout my life. But when I suddenly had to ask someone to write my emails and read them back to me it just wasn’t the same. The first time I was able to have an email read to me by the computer and then answer it myself was such a gift. It felt like the best thing that has happened to me.
“In retrospect I do still think it was kind of magic. I feel so grateful for the LightHouse and for Kacie and what she has taught me.”
These are the moments that strengthen the blind community. One individual’s success becomes a shared accomplishment for all of LightHouse and our community. To inquire about programs offered by LightHouse, you can visit our website.
For information about Access Technology, send your emails AT@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-431-1481.