Gabriel Lopez is currently studying psychology at St. John’s University in New York City. He attended the Blind Children’s Center from the time he was an infant, through preschool. He is another of our Junior Mentors who has been a wonderful role model for our current students.
Gabriel is active in his community and sings in his church choir. He maintains a high grade point average despite being the only visually impaired residential advisor at his university. We are extremely proud of Gabriel and know he is headed for a bright future.
“In my own words”
My name is Gabriel Lopez, and I will be a college freshman this fall. I was a student at the Blind Children’s Center from 1996-2000, and I return to volunteer as frequently as I can. It has always been very clear to me that the Center’s mission is to provide students with the tools they need to take on the world and succeed throughout their lives. For me, and other students who are blind or visually impaired, assistive technology, like the devices pictured on this page, have been so important. Having benefitted from my own experience, I can personally attest to the value of introducing technology to children at the earliest age possible.
The reality is, it’s a visual world. And there are going to be times where a child who is blind or visually impaired will need to interpret the images, graphics or photos their peers are seeing. Having a great embosser is key. Embossers produce easily understandable tactile graphics that help a blind student quickly interpret an image and continue with a lesson at the same time as their classmates.
Other devices are equally important. I use my braille display every single day of the year, and I’m not the only one! A braille display connects to an iPad, smart phone or computer and converts what’s on the screen into braille for the user. And with its built-in keyboard, students like me can type into the iPad or computer much faster than if we were using the device by itself.
An embosser, a braille display, and an iPad—these are tools that every person who is blind or visually impaired should be using. Technology is constantly advancing, and it’s important that children keep up in order to ensure that they fit seamlessly into the world around them. With the help of these devices, the students at the Blind Children’s Center will be able to take on the world with confidence.