This story appears in the Summer 2018 issue of In Focus.
For David and Mardi Durkin, the work being done at Perkins School for the Blind is deeply personal.
How did you first get involved with Perkins?
Our twins were born very prematurely in July 2003, which led our son James to develop an extreme case of retinopathy of prematurity that ultimately left him blind. He had other cognitive development issues as well and today, at 14, he’s nonverbal. We learned about Perkins when he was only 1 after doing some online research and hearing about it through word of mouth. We attended Perkins’ Early Connections Conference and left immediately impressed by the knowledge, expertise and supportive community associated with the school.
Why do you support Perkins now?
We support Perkins because we have a very personal interest in the school and its programs. But we have also been inspired by the broader mission to help the blind and visually impaired nationally and internationally. Spreading the knowledge and expertise that is resident at Perkins on a global basis to improve outcomes and lives is very powerful. We are very thankful to be a part of it.
What programs or initiatives at Perkins are especially important to you and why?
As James has been a weekday boarding student for the last four years, we’re obviously focused on the on-campus educational and social programs, like the Expanded Core Curriculum. We’re also really impressed by, and proud to support, Perkins’ transition initiatives, like World of Work. We know how important all of these things are to students and their families because we know how important they are to our own family.