Providing the Power to Pursue Dreams
As a young boy, Jack was mystified when his Braille ‘n’ Speak stopped working. “I could not understand how something that looked perfectly ok from the outside was broken,” says Jack, who is blind.
That curiosity led to a life-long interest in how technology works. He could often be found taking computers apart and repurposing the different pieces to use in other devices. Jack learned programming code and made a computer game for himself. By the time he was a high school student, Jack knew he wanted to go to college and focus his studies on technology systems.
Before applying to school, Jack strengthened his independent living skills through The Chicago Lighthouse’s Youth Transition Program. Through our Summer in the City and First Jobs programs, Jack built his confidence and learned to travel independently around the city and in unfamiliar areas. Feeling prepared to make the jump to college, Jack applied in 2019 for a Chicago Lighthouse Scholarship so he could study Computer Information Systems at Ball State University. Established in 2004, the Scholarship Program has awarded over 1.2 million dollars in scholarships to students who are blind or visually impaired. Jack has since received two Lighthouse Scholarships as he pursues his dream of becoming a computer program developer.
For Jack, the Scholarship Program’s unique system of matching recipients with donors has been a blessing. Through the Program, Jack has been able to personally thank his scholarship sponsors, immediate past Board Chair Gary Rich (who is also Co-Chair of the Scholarship Committee) and his wife Michelle. As he continues his studies, Jack regularly provides Gary and Michelle with updates on his progress.
As he continues his studies at Ball State, Jack is thankful for the role technology has played in his life. Not only has technology helped him learn and live independently, it has provided him with a lifelong purpose. Once he graduates, Jack hopes he will be able to help others with vision loss have similar opportunities. “The experiences and opportunities technology gives me are only going to grow. I hope to continue making technology more accessible for future generations,” he says.
Thank you to Gary and Michelle Rich for their generous support of The Lighthouse Scholarship Program. If you are interested in contributing to The Scholarship Fund, contact Jennifer Miller at (312) 997-3643 or firstname.lastname@example.org.