Every year Forbes releases their “30 under 30,” which highlights 30 impressive young adults leading the way in various industries. This year we were very excited (though not entirely surprised) to find not one but two blind LightHouse mentors on the list: Hoby Wedler and Haben Girma.
Returning to teach our annual Chemistry Camp at Enchanted Hills now for the fifth year, Hoby is an engaged and passionate teacher of all things chemical and olfactory. The camp, which NPR recognized as a major confidence booster for blind youth in its infancy back in 2011, allows blind students to get hands-on with concepts and skills that they might otherwise be shielded from in school. Hoby works regularly for Francis Ford Coppola in the wine business, and is finishing up his Ph.D at Davis, but still comes to Enchanted Hills each summer to mentor LightHouse youth, and even lead an occasional event for adults, like guided wine tastings or even this upcoming blind beer tasting.
Haben is also a tremendous role model for any aspiring blind change-maker, young or old. Honored by the White House and profiled everywhere from the BBC to the Washington Post, Haben is the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard law. Her real claim to fame in the blindness community, though, is as a fierce advocate of accessibility in her legal practice at Disability Rights Advocates. In a recent settlement with the influential book-lending startup Scribd, she ensured that the massive library of reading material would be available not just to sighted individuals, but to those who use screen readers and other adaptive technologies, as well. Haben joined our LightHouse youth in a mentorship event this summer, and is also an alumnus of Enchanted Hills. You can watch her TED Talk below, and check back soon for more from these ambitious young leaders.
Haben Girma speaks at TEDx: