Leonard J. and Mae L. Nelson Fund Computer Stations and Braille Classes for Lighthouse Employees
Thanks to a generous donation from Seattle’s Leonard and Mae Nelson, Lighthouse for the Blind employees now have a new resource available to them throughout the organization: computer information stations with work instructions, quality standards, and the latest organizational news. The Nelsons have fully funded the equipment for seven computer stations. In addition to this gift, the Nelsons made a sizeable contribution to get the Lighthouse Braille Literacy Program up and running this coming spring.
The Nelsons had been involved with the Lighthouse for years as donors when they decided to come for a tour. “I bought brooms from the Lighthouse a long time ago, before we ever visited the facility. When we came for a tour, I thought we were going to see brooms,” Leonard laughs.
The tour inspired them to consider funding services for Lighthouse employees. “The tour of the plant amazed us with the wide range of work people were doing. After viewing the fragrant garden with was donated by Ethel Dupar, we were inspired to find a way we could contribute to the goals of the Lighthouse,” Leonard says. “I got interested in making a big difference in people’s lives. With the computers, you can be more competitive. I think it’s a very important necessity to keep up with other industries.”
The computer stations will be set up in the major areas of Lighthouse manufacturing floors. Each computer station is equipped with electronic screen-reading software, electronic braille displays, and screen magnification software. “I was really enthused to see the technology. I thought the computer station had everything,” Leonard says. “I was impressed with the computer technology as it gives the employees easy access to the information they need. It gives us great pleasure to know this can help the operation of the Lighthouse.”
After funding the initial computer stations, the Nelsons made a gift in support of the Braille Literacy Program, which will begin in spring 2008. Their donation will help fund staffing and teaching materials for blind adults to learn braille. The program is designed for individuals blinded in their adult years. For Mae, who has five family members with the degenerative eye disease macular degeneration, funding the braille program was particularly important. “It’s something that can be done to help people with macular degeneration, which is so common,” she says.
“The fun for us is getting to see the programs grow and the difference that they make,” Leonard says. “That’s a good feeling.”
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