How did you first get involved with Perkins?
My husband and I attended the Annual Gala more than a decade ago, where we heard from a young man with visual impairment from Kenya who came to study at Perkins. He spoke about his life before Perkins, a time when he wanted to be invisible, and his life after, when he was no longer afraid to belong, to advocate for himself. I found his story incredibly powerful, as my husband and I spent our childhoods in various parts of Africa and Asia where the blind often had no realistic path for a meaningful future. When we left that gala, I remember Bala, my husband, saying, “I had no idea there were so many options.” So, years later, when I retired, I asked, how can I help?
Why do you continue to support Perkins?
There are 19 million visually impaired children globally being underserved, denied the opportunity to live a productive life. Perkins has the tools and the engine to effect change, to teach these children, to empower families and communities and to advance global progress. My husband and I could not possibly walk away from a solution that is so immensely impactful, meaningful and attainable.
What excites you about the future at Perkins?
The leadership. Perkins is led by a group of visionaries who think strategically and are undaunted by the task ahead. That gets us excited. Perkins is at the forefront of major cultural and social changes, not just domestically but globally, and that’s an incredible force to be behind.