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lighthouse staff

Community Outreach Coordinator Sheri Albers: from hiding to claiming her blindness

Community Outreach Coordinator Sheri Albers: from hiding to claiming her blindness

When my sister and I were diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) at early ages, there was little known about the disease. My parents were told by experts in the field that we would gradually go blind and there was no cure. My parents left the office without any support or resources.

Due to the nature of RP, I feel that I was very misunderstood by people. My symptoms of night blindness, severe near sightedness and difficulty in recognizing faces made it hard for me to make friends and participate in sports and social activities. As a result, I began at an early age to fend for myself and develop my own techniques for doing things, all with the purpose of hiding the fact that my vision was changing.

For most of my life, there were times that I felt “perfectly fine”, and that I had everything under control.  I had developed quite the system to hide my blindness, and even had a few trusted friends recruited to be my so-called “bodyguards” who would look out for potential hazards for me. My system seemed to work—until the time came that it didn’t.

I was able to get a fabulous job right out of college in New York City and after nine years of secretly struggling with spreadsheets and computer screens that were becoming more and more difficult to read, I felt that I had no other choice but to leave that job. While I now know that accessible technology exists for people who are blind to succeed in their professions, I did not know that then.

The next part of my journey took me out west when my husband’s job transferred to Ohio. We started a family and motherhood became my new career. I poured myself into raising my two daughters. I immersed myself into their activities and volunteered at school, church, Girl Scouts and anything else anyone asked me to do. I had to prove to the world that I was still useful. Meanwhile, I was riddled with fear and anxiety as my vision was failing, living a double life between the sighted world and the blind world. I knew it was time to make some very significant changes.

My transformation began after attending my first National Federation of the Blind national convention where I was surrounded by thousands of blind people who were happy and living independent lives. I now had found a community of blind people who became my role models and mentors.

I came to the realization that I did not want to hide my blindness anymore. I registered with my state vocational rehabilitation agency for white cane and technology training. Because I could no longer read print, I was functionally illiterate, and I knew I needed to learn braille. After that, I served in various leadership roles in the blindness community and participated actively in legislative work to help change the lives of blind people.

My blindness skills also gave me the confidence to go back to college and get a degree in Counseling, which had become a passion of mine throughout the years. I worked as a Counseling Assistant for a treatment center and a Caseload Assistant for the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation.

My journey now brings me to last July when I heard LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin passionately speaking about the mission and philosophy of LightHouse at a convention.

I was so inspired that I knew at that very moment that my life was falling into place. I just had to be a part of his team.

Through a series of very fortunate events, I now have landed my dream job as Community Outreach Coordinator for LightHouse.  I now have the privilege of making connections throughout the Bay Area and spreading the word to the blind community about all the programs and services that LightHouse has to offer.

I first focused my outreach efforts on our senior population, but now with the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, the implementation of outreach has had to change. I was asked to help develop our Care Calls Program, where we call approximately 1,600 LightHouse students, who we currently serve, to find out where we may assist with any challenges they may be facing during this time of shelter in place.  It is important for everyone to know that even though the doors of LightHouse are closed right now, the lines of communication are still open.

If I can prevent even one person from experiencing the grief that I went through trying to overcome the barriers that hiding my blindness had brought to my life, then my role as Community Outreach Coordinator will be complete.

LightHouse Staff

LightHouse Staff

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Kathy Abrahamson Portrait
Abrahamson, Kathy
Director of Rehabilitation Services
No profile image available.
Ahlm, Al
Production Manager
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
Robert Alminana Portrait
Alminana, Robert, MA, COMS
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
Jaclyn Atoigue portrait
Atoigue, Jaclyne
Reception Team Member, On Call
No profile image available.
Bacon, Debbie, MS/QRP
Rehabilitation Counselor
A headshot of Bryan Bashin.
Bashin, Bryan
CEO
Mathew Beard Kitchen Manager at Enchanted Hills Camp
Beard, Matthew
Kitchen Manager
Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat
No profile image available.
Bell, Landall
Lead person/Machine Operator
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
Paul Blaney portrait
Blaney, Paul
Development Manager, Individual Giving
Scott Blanks portrait
Blanks, Scott
Senior Director, Programs
No profile image available.
Broshous, Ken
AP Cash Receipts Coordinator
Buckwalter, Jeff
Access Technology Trainer
No profile image available.
Calderon, Maritza
Department Coordinator, Media and Accessible Design Laboratory
No profile image available.
Capello, Kacie
Access Technology Trainer
Divina Carlson Portrait
Carlson, Divina
Braille Instructor
Carlson, Jeff, LCSW
Social Worker
Sook Hee Choi portrait
Choi, Sook Hee, MA, COMS/CVRT
Deaf-Blind Employment Specialist
Connie Jung Portrait
Conley-Jung, Connie, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
Leigh Cooper
Cooper, Leigh
Grant Coordinator
Brandon Cox Portrait
Cox, W. Brandon, MA COMS
Senior Director, Operations
Christina Daniels Portrait
Daniels, Christina
Social Media Specialist
Danette Davis Portrait
Davis, Danette, MA, COMS
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
No profile image available.
Davis, Tia M.
Janitorial Associate
Decker Abigail
Program Administrator
No profile image available.
Di Grazia, Gina
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
No profile image available.
DiLeonardo, Annalisa
Assistant Director
Enchanted Hills Camp
Ben Einstein portrait
Einstein, Ben
Online Inventory Store Associate
BJ Dietz portrait
Epstein, BJ Dietz, M.Arch
Senior Designer, Media and Accessible Design Laboratory
Fadden Amanda
On Call Reception
No profile image available.
Feng, Iris
Controller
Allyson Ferrari Portrait
Ferrari, Allyson
Volunteer Manager
No profile image available.
Fleming, Antonio
Production Assistant
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
Tony Fletcher Portrait
Fletcher, Anthony
Director, Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat
No profile image available.
Gao, Meixaio
General Ledger Account
Ed Garcia portrait
Garcia, Edward
HR Generalist
Raquel Gomez portrait
Gomez, Raquel
Manager, Adaptations Store
Marc Grossman Portrait
Grossman, Marc
Employment Specialist
Jamey Gump Portrait
Gump, James
Youth Services Coordinator
No profile image available.
Heath, David
Utility Assistant
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
No profile image available.
Hencky, Alan
Director of Finance
No profile image available.
Hepsley, Carol
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
LightHouse Marin
Hibbs Ashley
Cook
No profile image available.
Holloway, Jennifer
Reworker
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
Erin Horne Portrait
Horne, Erin
Communications Associate
Jennifer Huey Portrait
Huey, Jennifer, MA, COMS
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
Karen Ishimaru
Ishimaru, Karen
Database Manager
Katt Jones Portrait
Jones, Katt, MA, COMS
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
Kamphuis Oude Ben
Camp & Retreat Worker
Donna Kazanjia Portrait
Kazanjian, Donna, MA, COMS
Rehabilitation Services Coordinator
Greg Kehret
Kehret, Greg
Director, Media and Accessible Design Laboratory
No profile image available.
Kuan, Shen
Access Technology Coordinator
Briana Kusuma
Kusuma, Briana
Rehabilitation Services Associate
Ann Kwong Portrait
Kwong, Ann Wai-Yee
Transition Program Specialist
Erin Lauridsen Portrait
Lauridsen, Erin
Director, Access Technology
Chris Lawyer
Lawyer, Christopher
Interim Site Manager
Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat
Sarah Lawyer portrait
Lawyer, Sarah
Lead Cook
Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat
Lee Kumutat, Director of Communications
Dawn Leeflang Portrait
Leeflang, Dawn, MA, COMS, CLVT
Rehabilitation Teacher/O&M Specialist
Amy Mason
Mason, Amy
Access Technology Specialist
Gail McGaster Portrait
McGaster, Gail
Mentor Trainer
Sarah McIntyre
McIntyre, Sarah, MA, COMS
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
Ethan Meigs Portrait
Meigs, Ethan
Access Technology Specialist
Gilberto Melendez portrait
Melendez, Gilberto
Reception Team Member
No profile image available.
O'Malior, Caitlin
Alternate Media Specialist
Andrea Ogarrio Portrait
Ogarrio, Andrea
Development Coordinator
Serena Olsen portrait
Olsen, Serena
Adult Program Coordinator
No profile image available.
Paiso, Amel
Production Assistant
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
Wanda Pearson portrait
Pearson, Wanda
Employment Immersion Coordinator
Pomerantz, Janet
Social Worker
LightHouse North Coast
Bobbi Pompey Portrait
Pompey, Bobbi
Rehabilitation Teaching Specialist
No profile image available.
Praphantanathorn, Amy
Database Administrator
Cheryl Puckett Portrait
Puckett, Cheryl
Reception Team Leader
No profile image available.
Rodriguez, Ruben
Plant Production Mechanic
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
No profile image available.
Ropicky, Kimm
Yoga Instructor
LightHouse Headquarters (M, W, some Saturdays)
Patti Rose
Rose, Patti
Program Assistant
LightHouse North Coast
Naomi Rosenberg Portrait
Rosenberg, Naomi, M.Arch
Senior Designer, Accessible Media
Jennifer Sachs portrait
Sachs, Jennifer
Director of Development
No profile image available.
Sarika Dagar, Content Marketing Manager
Amber Sherrard Portrait
Sherrard, Amber K.
Health and Wellness Program Manager
No profile image available.
Simpson, William
Registered Nurse
Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat
Esmeralda Soto Portrait
Soto, Esmeralda
Information Concierge
No profile image available.
Stewart, Julia M.
Facilities Manager
No profile image available.
Stewart, Juliet
HR Manager
No profile image available.
Tchatchouang, Nelie
Operations Coordinator
No profile image available.
Thienes, Tamara
Reworker
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
Alyah Thomas
Thomas, Alyah
Administrative Assistant, EHC/Deaf Blind
Andrea Vecchione portrait
Vecchione, Andrea
Events Manager
No profile image available.
Walters, Ronald
Production Assistant/Forklift Operator
LightHouse Industries, Sirkin Center
Frank Welte Portrait
Welte, Frank
Senior Accessible Media and Braille Specialist
No profile image available.
Wiebe, Carol
Orientation & Mobility Specialist
Kate Williams Portrait
Williams, Kate
Director, Employment Services
Starrly Winchester portrait
Winchester, Starrly
Customer & Inventory Store Associate
Portrait of Ed Wong. Photo by Sarika Dagar.
Wong, Edward
Employment Specialist
Joshua York portrait
York, Joshua
Director of Facilities

Looking to reach out to any of our wonderful team? Please use our Contact page.