This story appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of In Focus.
Mona and AJ Jomaa are the parents of a former student and members of the Corporation. They have been involved with Perkins for nearly 20 years.
Why do you support Perkins School for the Blind?
Perkins has been a life-changing experience for our family, both academically and personally. We’ve seen the impact of our support firsthand. Our son Omar attended Perkins, starting in 2000 when he was five years old. Omar graduated in 2017. He flourished at all levels on campus, in equal parts due to his willingness, his abilities and the support he received from Perkins’ staff. We love that Perkins is not just one thing. It’s a combination of so many programs, people, experiences that all together unlock every student’s potential.
Why do you think transitional programs like College Success and Career Launch are so important?
I’m very excited about these new transitional programs that prepare students for life after school. There is much to be done because the unemployment rate in the visually impaired community is roughly 70 percent right now. That is unacceptable. Young adults need transitional programs to practice applying the skills they learned in school to higher education, the workplace or independent living to start a meaningful and full life.
What excites you most about the future of Perkins?
Perkins is a very fluid and adaptive organization, implementing new technologies and exposing their students to new possibilities. Perkins has expanded, sharing their knowledge and experience locally, nationally and internationally. We hope the organization keeps progressing that way.