Meet Derek

Lighthouse of Collier recently selected the recipients for our scholarship fund.  One of the recipients is a 19-year-old boy living with retinopathy of prematurity.  For this story, we will refer to him as Derek.

Derek has been a client since he was 13 years old.  He is a great example of our mission.  Throughout his time with Lighthouse, he has worked on job readiness skills, independent living skills, assistive technology, and many other areas of instruction.  He regularly worked as a camp counselor for the children’s summer camp and completed work-based learning experiences in the community.

Derek has rarely ever missed a Transition event since he’s been a client, and also consistently utilizes paratransit to independently travel to and from the locations.

When he is not at school or at Lighthouse, he spends much time helping in his local community.  He would frequently tutor students in the migrant program, help his mother when working at the Immokalee Farmer’s Market, and help take his mother to her appointments and interpret for her.

Over this past year, Derek spent much time working on college applications with his instructor and, as a result, was accepted to college, and recently began his first semester.

Derek aspires to eventually become a TVI and help other children living with vision loss.  In fact, because of this, he has taken the initiative to continue volunteering within our children’s program and helped plan our most recent monthly event.

I have no doubt that Derek will reach his goals and be successful, and I am excited to continue to watch him grow!