How “Eye” See It – Reflections from NBCF Board Vice President Jacob Oberman
I have lived in Nevada since moving here a week after graduating college 15 years ago. Like many other college graduates, when I moved here, I was hungry to start a career and began working my way up the corporate ladder. I’m very fortunate as I am now a Senior Vice President with a fantastic company.
One unique thing fact to know about me is I have been visually impaired my whole life. As an example, I have never driven a car, but fortunately I have enough vision to do pretty much everything else. Growing up in California, I was given large print in school, I learned to use a white cane and I even learned Braillie, in case my vision got even worse. Those experiences meant that it was only natural that when I wanted to get more involved in the community here in Nevada, I wanted to get involved with an organization that helped blind and visually impaired children – the same types of organizations that helped me when I was younger. After hearing about Nevada Blind Childrens Foundation from one of my mentors, Cindy Kiser Murphey, I knew it was the right organziation for me. With that exposure to NBCF, I also quickly learned a troubling fact – Nevada has no school for the blind. Not even a pre-school.
People do not realize that blind and visually impaired children are just as capable as their sighted peers, but they just need to learn more. So while a sighted child needs to learn to read and write, a blind child needs to learn much more including sensory skills, white cane technique, mobility training, socialization, Braillie literacy, and many other things…before reading and writing. All of these things are necessary for a blind child to succeed in their education and set them up for a life of independence.
To provide all of these services, Nevada needs a place where families can take their child and know that it will help their child to succeed. NBCF is looking to create that place – that school where young children can get on an even playing field.
I think about those young and growing families with blind children that are forced to ask themselves the hardest question, “Do we stay in Nevada in our community or do we leave for another state with more services for the blind?” I do not want any family ever to have to have to make that tough decision again. The problem goes beyond the families. It extends to the private sector that are trying to attract/retain talent that may have a child that our blind.
The biggest reason why I love living in Nevada is because everyone can make a positive impact on the community here. While in other more established cities, volunteering or donating time and money can create a ripple…in Nevada, I believe that we can create a wave with that same level of giving.
Please join me in helping NBCF. You can make the dream of a school for the blind in Nevada a reality.
Jacob, your leadership by example is an inspiration!