2019 Family Learner of the Year: Michael Gold
Six years ago, we had a tragedy in our lives. Our oldest daughter suddenly lost her eyesight due to a terrible illness. I'd been to conferences with her and I saw people learning braille and contracted braille, and I said, "If I can do it, perhaps she will follow, or we can do it together." Also, I wanted to be part of her life and see what, you know. It was very tough, but I decided to take the program with her, and I found Hadley and it's been a wonderful experience.
Well, taking the courses from Hadley has made all the difference in the world in terms of my understanding, because other than learning from my daughter, everything I've learned about braille and people with visual disabilities has come from Hadley. Because it hasn't just been the long-distance learning: everywhere I go now, I'm mindful of braille, so I try and read any signs that I see. My daughter, Marissa, who lost her sight, for my birthday sent me several contracted braille books that are on an elementary level, because that's what I needed, and I'm enjoying doing that.
There has been tremendous meaning in learning braille, and it just didn't have to do with my daughter. It had to do with blind people as a whole. Hopefully, by doing what I'm doing and being more mindful of issues with people with light issues, lowering the blinds in the office, changing the lighting situation for people who come in who have visual impairments, I understand much better, now, how to be a better attorney for those with visual disabilities.
Organizations like Hadley provide so much for all Americans, and the fact that it's a national organization, I really couldn't think of a better community that I would be prouder to be part of. And I'm so happy that I took the courses from Hadley.