Making my comeback stronger than my setback, and I couldn’t have done it without my OrCam MyEye

2018-03-31 | By Orcam Staff

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Making my comeback stronger than my setback

After going blind in March of 2012, my biggest fear was “how would I support myself and my girlfriend, Jennifer”.   This was a constant worry I had in the back of my mind, as I learned the unemployment rate for the blind is 70% in America.

It took about a year and a half before my body was ready to go back to working.  I researched many jobs that a normal blind person has.   As a person that has always thought outside of the box, I knew I wanted to continue working with my hands and the skills I had honed my entire adult life, which was metalworking and machine shop.

In late 2013, I called the only high school in my area that has a machine shop program –  Jordan Vocational High School in Columbus, Georgia. Jordan is the oldest vocational high school in all of America.  Returning World War II Vets could receive training at night in any of the three fields: welding, machine shop or construction.  I called the school and told the operator I was interested in Volunteering at the machine shop.  Luckily, I was transferred to Amy Waller, who at that time was an assistant to the Principal.  Ms. Waller was open-minded and told me to come in one day to share my story with the students, and the rest is history!

The first day went great, and I started volunteering a few days a week, as only as much as my body could take.  I used adaptive technology to measuring tools, such as my OrCam MyEye, a special camera that mounts to my glasses that would read any printed material along with facial recognition, in order to teach.   The teacher at that time was about to leave, and it just worked out for both myself and the students.

But the realization hit me, if I would ever be considered for a teaching position, I needed to be able to navigate the school independently.  At this point, I had to have a student lead me everywhere in the shop and within the school. I knew I had to receive training.

By this time, my accessible technology teacher for the state of Alabama, Bill Boules had become a good friend of mine. I reached out to Bill for advice and he told me if I wanted to receive the training to be able to navigate any job at the workplace, I needed to enroll in a N.F.B. Training Center.  I did my research and it was easy for me to pick which one I would attend.  All the other centers had the same programs, but I chose the Louisiana Center for the Blind (LCB) for one which was the warm climate. I am a sucker for the warm sun and good weather!

In May of 2014, I started a normal 9-month training program. My main focus was Cane Travel and I was blessed to have Arlene Hill and Derrick Williams by my side.  Arlene was one of the first people to write the structured discovery type program for cane travel, which all of the N.F.B. Training Centers offer.  It is an aggressive program, but I knew if I ever wanted a job, I needed this training.

In 2014, I was honored to be asked by Dr. Maurer to give a speech at the National Convention.  Again, being an outside the box kind of person, I rode my motorcycle into the convention hall in front of my fellow 3,000 N.F.B. members.  After the convention, I returned to LCB for one month, before I took a one month break to return to the Bonneville Salt Flats to finish my unfinished business. I wanted my official F.I.M. Class record. And yes, I did achieve it in August of 2014.


I returned to school with determination of learning everything I could from cane travel, kitchen skills to wood shop.  I graduated on March 31, 2015, exactly 3 years from the date of my wreck that took my eyesight.  I came home with new confidence and skills, and I was eager to put my new skills to work. I returned to Jordan High School with the ability to be dropped off at the front door, and being able to navigate the school, classroom and shop with no help.  As fate would have it, the program was shut down and my hopes of teaching was crushed.


When things go down, they can only go up, good luck returned as the program reopened in the 2017-2018 school year. I was hired as a part time Parapro to teach machine shop – my dream job was finally mine!


I had the skills to teach in the shop, but I needed help navigating the classroom and the paperwork associated with a classroom.  Lady luck was by my side again! This is when I found my lifesaver, my OrCam MyEye, unlike other products that must be mounted on a table, the OrCam MyEye is a wearable device that stayed on my body, making it possible for me to freely move around the classroom to help students as needed.  I can now follow the same material as my students, as they read class instructions or guidelines.


As a blind machine shop teacher, I had to carve my own pathway on how to do things such as a sighted teacher would do. I rely every day on my OrCam MyEye to help locate items such as handouts, lesson plans or a material list for a project.


I am now on my second year of teaching and my OrCam MyEye is part of my wardrobe which I wear every day to school. 


Technology is helping the blind at work, home or leisure.  I urge everyone to request a demonstration if you have not tried an OrCam MyEye device yet. I know the team at OrCam is not sitting still and they are constantly researching on how they can help the blind community lead the life they choose.