LIGHTHOUSE CEO HONORED BY NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND ILLINOIS

Nov 2nd, 2020

For Immediate Release

LIGHTHOUSE CEO HONORD BY NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND ILLINOIS

Dr. Janet Szlyk is the fourth person to receive the organization’s Ilene O’Brien Memorial Award

CHICAGO (November 2, 2020) – The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois presented its Ilene O’Brien Memorial Award to Dr. Janet P. Szlyk, President and CEO of The Chicago Lighthouse, for her professional dedication and service helping people who are blind live fulfilling meaningful lives. Dr. Szlyk is only the fourth person to receive the award since it was established in 1993.

“Dr. Szlyk genuinely believes in the capacity of people who are blind and works to foster independence for people with all types of disabilities,” said Patti Chang, Treasurer of the NFBI, during the award presentation ceremony on October 31. “Under her leadership, The Chicago Lighthouse has opened several customer service centers that employ more than two hundred people with disabilities and Veterans in the Chicago area.”

The Chicago Lighthouse has partnered with the NFBI on several initiatives, including hosing the NFBI’s free Chicago Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy, which helps students who are blind or visually impaired learn Braille.

“More than anything else, Dr. Szlyk is willing to listen to the voice of and partner with organizations serving the blind,” Chang said. “She always answers the call when we ask.”

The NFBI established the award in 1993 in honor of Ilene O’Brien, an advocate and activist for people who are blind and have diabetes. Other recipients of the award include: State Senator John Cullerton (1993), who introduced and supported several initiatives of import to people who are blind; Neil Kelley (1996), who worked to get the Illinois State Library System to support Newsline, and Jan Sherburn (2014), who worked for State of Illinois Bureau of Blind Services.

“One of the greatest joys and jobs in my life is to help launch careers and see people realize their dreams,” said Dr. Szlyk in her acceptance speech, “My work with The Chicago Lighthouse has afforded me the opportunity to do so.”

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About The Chicago Lighthouse
Serving the blind, visually impaired, disabled, and Veteran communities through innovative education, rehabilitation, employment, assistive technology, and other programs, The Chicago Lighthouse is one of the nation’s most comprehensive social service organizations. For additional information, visit www.chicagolighthouse.org.