Renee has been blind her entire life due to complications at birth. She has been working at Beyond Vision and providing for herself for about a year. Using an adaptive screen reading software called JAWS (Job Access With Speech), Renee is able to use computers andread books without the use of her sight. This and other forms of adaptive technology enable Renee and so many other Beyond Vision employees to have access to sustainable employment.This Christmas, give the gift of employment. Your $100 gift helps us reach our goal of $5,000 to purchase 5 additional JAWS licenses this year. This will give 5 employees who are blind, like Renee, upward mobility and access to life changing employment at Beyond Vision.“For the first time in my life, I am able to buy Christmas presents for my two nieces and my nephew.”
Diagnosed with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy at age 12, Roger was successful in several lines of work before his vision declined and he sought employment with Beyond Vision/Associated Industries for the Blind. Since joining the Base Supply Center at TACOM in Warren, Michigan, Roger has excelled in every position, from assisting with deliveries, to shipping and receiving, to implementing procedures to make it easier for everyone to find stock throughout the warehouse. Roger is always ready to assist co-workers and create a positive work environment – he even helped recruit another employee who is blind, bringing the BSC staffing ratio to 50 percent. In his spare time, Roger enjoys biking, swimming and kayaking.
Diagnosed with retinis pigmentosa in her twenties, Sophia worked in various assembly and machining jobs until 2010, when her husband read an article about Beyond Vision. Unaware that any employer focused on employing people with vision impairment, Sophia visited the agency, applied for a position and, drawing on her previous work experience, hit the ground running. Sophia produces quality work in any position, but truly excels in assembling privacy filters, earning her the nickname “Queen of the Privacy Filter Room.” A member of the Quality Work Environment Team, Sophia keeps the environment fun and light while encouraging her co-workers to give their best. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her family.
When asked to describe Kristin Moke, her co-workers all begin with the same two things – she is kind and hard-working. If you ask Kristin, she will modestly say that she just loves being able to work and loves interacting with people. They’re both right!
Following high school, Kristin had a few temporary babysitting jobs and worked at a day care. She was also taking community college classes. Legally blind due to Aniridia, she worked with an organization in her area called Sensory Access in the Bay Area. They were able to arrange an internship that brought her to the AbilityOne BSC at NASA Ames Research Center in 2004.
Since that time, she has gained not only the respect of all the people she interacts with, she has provided support to allow the growth and success of people around her. Over the past several years, she has come out of her shell as a diligent employee and stepped up to take ownership of her role, her store and her team. Because of her willingness to grow and learn, she’s opened doors for co-workers to move into leadership roles…and opened doors for her to do the same! She wants to move into a management position because she now sees herself as able to move up, something she didn’t think was possible when she first started.
Born and raised in California, Kristin Moke enjoys a wide variety of activities when she isn’t the driving force at the AbilityOne BSC at NASA Ames Research Center. Her low vision hasn’t slowed her from enjoying abstract drawing and painting. In addition to her creativity, she has built her leadership skills as a member of Toastmasters and volunteering at the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center. The best part of Kristin’s hobbies, square dancing! She says she is happiest with many things to do. Her activities really demonstrate that!
Julius Perez considers coming to work at Beyond Vision a ‘meant-to-be’ accident that saved his life. His path to Beyond Vision had several twists and turns. Born with congenital glaucoma, Julius was never passive. Over his career he has worked as an LPN, trained and worked as a chef and ran his own business, all while legally blind.
Julius’ health was deteriorating. For several years he’d struggled with weight issues, addiction and personal frustrations. He lost the remainder of his sight in 2013 due to a medical complication that left him in a coma. When he woke up, he decided to come home to Milwaukee to say goodbye to his family. His prognosis was grim.
Newly blind and very ill, he planned to find a nursing home to enter into hospice care. On the bus ride to meet the staff at the nursing home, he wondered if there was a way to change his situation after all. Julius decided to give Beyond Vision a call…just on the off chance they had an opening. Not only did he find work, he also found a community who knew he could succeed even when he had so many doubts in himself. This change in his perspective also motivated him to lose over 150 pounds, helping him gain control of his health.
Julius works in Assembly and Packaging where he excels both in quality and quantity of work. A natural leader, he offers guidance to everyone in his department. More than that, he is known for his friendliness, patience, and his willingness to help coworkers, friends, and anyone needing advice or a helping hand. This includes organizing fundraisers with his team. He was eager to point out, “Usually people see blind people in a position of need. The break in there is when you (as a person who is blind) can be in the position to give back and help someone else.”
Since participating in the Advocates for Leadership Program for the 2016 NIB/NAEPB Public Policy Forum, he has been even more driven to share his message that Beyond Vision makes his career possible. He has also been working on his computer skills with the goal of becoming a trainer for Beyond Vision to guide more people who are blind into successful employment.